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Cardenal Salazar Square

The whiteness of the limestone surrounding the streets of the Jewish Quarter takes a break in this small and Baroque Cardenal Salazar Square. Groups of tourists and students share this historical location, flanked by the old Hospital of Cardinal Salazar, today Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, and the Conventual Church of San Pedro de Alcántara.

The Convent of San Pedro de Alcántara was built thanks to the generosity of Francisco Antonio de Bañuelos, back then Senior Master of the Cathedral, who donated some of his pieces of land to the monks. On the 6th July 1682 the new chapel was opened, but they saw that the location was not big enough and they requested the City Council the area of the square in order to build a new church. Its plans were commissioned to architect Luis de Rojas, master of works in the city, and they were carried out by Baltasar de los Reyes. In 1696 Cardinal Salazar himself opened the convent.

The church is a representative piece of the “Baroque of plaques” from Córdoba, a style that was developed in our city during the first half of the 18th century, and which is characterised by a decoration based on geometric elements, especially outdoors. The main façade has a two-sectioned scheme finished by a great triangular pediment and it is structured in three vertical sections. On the central one there is a round opening entrance, and over it, we can see the image of the main saint of the church in an alcove, crowned by a curve pediment. Apart from these two elements, everything is decorated with geometric elements acting as horizontal and vertical “plaques“.

Inside, the church has a Latin-crossed floor, whose central nave is divided in four sections, and it is covered by a barrel vault with lunettes. The transept is covered by a great vault decorated with mural paintings from the 18th century, representing vegetable motifs, and angels holding palms on the pendentives. At the front of the rectangular apse there is an exceptional altarpiece made in red and black marble and plaster, by Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo.

One of the most interesting examples of the civil architecture from the 18th century in the city is, undoubtedly, the Hospital of Cardinal Salazar, which, curiously, was erected with another purpose: it was a school for acolytes and children of the choir of the Cathedral. With this purpose, Cardinal Salazar bought in 1704 some fields belonging to Antonio del Corral, located opposite the recently opened Conventual Church of San Pedro de Alcántara.

The architect chosen was Hurtado Izquierdo, who was then Senior Master of the Cathedral. The works were very advanced when in 1704 a terrible epidemics of plague lashed the city, and, together with the few sanitary resources it had, the nature of the building had to be reconsidered when it was being built. It was then when the cardinal himself decided to turn the building into a hospital, and this was the reason why it does not adapt to the traditional model of hospital buildings.

Cardinal Salazar died in 1706, and the project was taken over by his nephew, who was Dean of the Cathedral, Pedro de Salazar y Góngora, who was later appointed Bishop of Córdoba around 1738. The hospital was opened on 11thNovember 1724.

The main façade is structured in two sections. The lower one is decorated with lintelled windows crowned by triangular pediments and both are in turn flanked by double pilasters supported by a plinth which dominates the whole façade. The higher section is elevated over a small cornice, and it repeats the same scheme as the previous one, but the triangular pediment is substituted by a curve one. A sectioned cornice finishes the ensemble, where we can highlight several figureheads as decorating elements.

The main entrance stands out over the rest of the façade. It is made in marble and it is divided in two clearly distinguished sections. In the lower part, and over wide pedestals (a common resource by Hurtado Izquierdo), there are two Doric columns flanking a lintelled entrance opening, and at the same time, they support a fine entablature consisting of triglyphs and plain metopes. The second part is made up of a balcony with a parted curve pediment and two pilasters finishing in balls. From these, the circular pediment starts, with the crest of Cardinal Salazar.

The inside of the building is arranged around two courtyards and a stairway, distributing the rest of the rooms. The marble stairway consists of two sections separated by a landing, where the “Retrato del Cardenal” (Portrait of the Cardinal) is located, made by painter Ignacio de Cobos Guzmán.

The main courtyard has a similar scheme to the façade, with lintelled openings flanked by double pilasters and an alternation of triangular and curve pediments in two levels. However, the other courtyard, which is smaller, has a portico in its lower section, with Doric columns and round arches, whereas the second section, interrupted by lintelled openings, is barely decorated.

If you wish to know Cardenal Salazar Square do not hesitate to hire one of our guided tours. 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.

Texto: J.A.S.C.

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