Church of San Pablo: Historical introduction.
The current Church of San Pablo (Saint Paul) was founded by Fernando III the Saint as Convent of San Pablo el Real in the neighbourhood of San Andrés, a quite deserted area in times of the Reconquest. Therefore, the convent worked as a populating focus together with the church after which the area is named. The convent was located near the wall connecting the neighbourhoods of the Ajerquía and the Villa, it linked one of the main roads in the city, Vía Augusta, and it occupied a privileged area in Córdoba.
The extension of the complex was quite broad, although today it is reduced to the church, which, at the beginning of the 20th century was in ruins, and, thanks to the work carried out by Father Pueyo, it has been preserved. Thanks to a copy of the foundational privilege of San Pablo, given in the year 1241, we have information about numerous details of the foundational time, such as the fact that the convent received plenty of donations, alms, privileges and, especially, the Dominican fathers occupied it from the beginning and enjoyed the royal protection for some centuries. The monks had many properties, and we can see a reflection of this in the houses that they sold or rented to be used as shops, a school and a begin age.
The temple received that name since the occupation of the city by the Christian troops happened on the feast of San Pablo (Saint Paul) and Saint Peter: hence, the symbolic character of the church.
As in some other cases in the city, the Church of San Pablo experienced numerous reforms and transformations throughout the years. In order to know the first of them, we need to go back to the 16th century, when masters such as Hernán Ruiz III or Juan de Ochoa worked in the convent. The worked carried out by the latter must be highlighted, who made the façade at the foot of the church or the cloisters of the convent, of which we barely have a few arcades located in the entrance courtyard of the current Provincial Department of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía (Regional government).
During the 17th century, the building did not experience significant changes, although Alonso Gómez de Montoro requested a burial place, and in 1663 the medieval chapels of Souls and San José were joined to the church, resulting in a small chapel under the name of Las Angustias (the Anguish).
If the 17th century was a peaceful period in the work of the Church of San Pablo, the following century was completely the opposite. The entrance to the courtyard was made around 1706 by Bartolomé de Rojas and Andrés de Pino Ascanio, following the scheme of an "altarpiece entrance", which will be analyzed in the next section. At this time, the Niche of the Chapel of Rosary was also built, considered the best ensemble of marble by Alonso Gómez de Sandoval. In the decade of the 60s, the entrance leading to San Pablo Street was made, where we can highlight a relief related to the "Virgin of Rosary", sculpted by Juan Navarro León.
During the last years of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, a deep restoration was carried out in the Church of San Pablo, directed by Adolfo Castiñeyra and Mateo Inurria, where we can mention the remodelling of the Chapel of the Christ of Expiry. When cleaning the walls of the chapel, the restorers found three polylobed arches with dead edges, as well as latticework with Arabesques and alfiz. All this made them redecorate the chapel following a Neomudejar style, imitating the plasterwork of the Royal Chapel of the Mosque-Cathedral.
If you wish to know the Fernandine Churches, do not hesitate to hire one of our guided tours. We will pay special attention to the Church of San Pablo. We are experts in the interpretation of the historical heritage from Córdoba. If you have chosen to do sightseeing in Córdoba, choose a high quality option, choose ArtenCórdoba.