Church of San Pablo: The building.
The Church of San Pablo is made with blocks of stone arranged in headers and stretchers, and sometimes, even more stretchers. The naves have a quite extended scheme compared to the churches built at that time, where the central nave is wider and higher than the rest. The three naves are connected among them through four big arches, where the two first sections follow a scheme different to the other two. The two first ones have the typical outline of the Fernandine Churches from Córdoba, that is, arches supported by cross-shaped pillars with columns and pilasters attached to them. However, the arches in the two following sections are supported by big rectangular pillars, with columns attached to its shorter sides. Over the mentioned arcades, there is a second row of round arches, blinded in this case, and supported in the last two sections by small plain-shafted columns attached to the wall. These two arcades resist the pressure from the wooden roof, reinforced with horizontal beams, which covers the central nave, made in 1536.
The apse of the Church of San Pablo consists of three apses. The central one is polygonal, and it can be seen from the outside in the same way, where it is reinforced by up to four buttresses supporting the pressure. The side apses are straight in the outside and semicircular in the inside, a scheme which is repeated in the Church of San Pedro and is the oldest in the city. The three spaces are covered by Gothic ribbed vault over corbels and projected keystone, as well as the semi-dome closing the sides.
One of the most interesting features of this temple is the great amount of peculiarities it has, such as the Attic Roman bases in the shape of scallop shell with claws, the columns and capitals from different origin in the central apse or the already mentioned rectangular pillars of the central nave.
The façade on the side of the Gospel is at the foot of the church. The reason for that is that, in 1409, Lady Leonor López from Córdoba ordered her chapel to be built in the place where the entrance was and, therefore, it was taken to its current location. The entrance follows the frequent scheme in Córdoba, a splayed round arch with moulded archivolts, but it has a distinguishing feature, that is, the roof is made of wood and not stone.
The main façade of the Church of San Pablo was made by architect Juan de Ochoa, an important figure of Córdoba in the 1500s. With simple lines, Ochoa left us with a beautiful sample of the taste of that time, originally from Italy. The first section is divided in three vertical sections; in the central one there is the entrance round opening, with a decorated keystone, surrounded by simple dressed stone. In the side sections, there are two pilasters on both sides with Ionic capital, and between them there are two blind openings: the first one is lintelled and the second one is round, forming an alcove. Over the pilasters, we can see a plain parted frieze and a triangular pediment, also parted, leading to a rectangular space decorated with mouldings. The second section consists of a central alcove with a statue of "Santo Domingo", flanked by some sort of carved pilasters supporting the triangular pediment which crowns the entrance. Over this, there is a large rose window from current times. Everything is flanked by buttresses from the first period of the building.
The entrance to the courtyard was made at the beginning of the 18th century by Andrés del Pino Ascanio and Bartolomé de Rojas. Two Solomon columns with Corinthian capital are erected over elevated plinths, and they flanked the round opening at the entrance. A sculpture of "San Pablo" in an alcove is at the front of the ensemble.
If you are wondering what to visit in Córdoba, a good option would be the Fernandine Churches, choosing one of our guided tours. This way you will learn everything about the Church of San Pablo. Choosing to do high quality sightseeing is choosing ArtenCórdoba.