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Former synagogue. The parish church of San Mateo

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Former synagogue. The parish church of San Mateo


Basic Information

Location Lucena, Spain
Country Spain
City Lucena
Address Lucena, Spain

General Information

Open to visitors no
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 37.4089,-4.4844


The ancient synagogue and subsequent city mosque stood on the site of the church of San Mateo up to 1240, when it was adapted to the new form of worship after the Christian conquest. Two hundred and fifty years later we find documentary evidence of the reuse of the materials used to build the old temple, including possible remains of the synagogue to construct the parish church of Santiago, which clearly evokes the shapes of the basilical synagogues of Toledo and Segovia

Considered to be the Subbaetic Cathedral, the current church of San Mateo reflects the style of Mudejar-Gothic and Renaissance artistic canons. Work commenced in 1498 on the sanctuary, together with the doorways of the sacristy and the exterior of Nuestra Señora de la Umbría. The doorway of San Miguel, built in 1544, is typical of the transitional Gothic-Renaissance period. The remainder of the building is renaissance, three aisles with large pillars holding up Mudejar inspired arches, in addition to a main doorway of a clearly classic influence. The highlight of the interior of the church is the grand altarpiece, designed by Jerónimo Hernández and Juan Bautista Vázquez el Viejo.

The interior of the temple of San Mateo contains the magnificent Capilla del Sagrario, a chapel built between 1740 and 1772 based on the plans of local architect Leonardo Antonio de Castro and regarded as one of the treasures of the baroque era in Cordoba and Andalusia. It features a splendid doorway designed by the renowned mnaster Juan del Pino Ascanio.

The chapel is octagon shaped and four robust buttresses rise into the elevation serving as pillars to support four pechinas. Masters Jerónimo and Acisclo Ramírez de Quero were in charge of the works, whilst the ornate decorative plan for the project, rich in Eucharistic symbols, figures of the church, saints associated with devotion to the Holy Sacrament, ornamental features of a vegetal or geometric nature, mirrors, was assigned to local sculptor Pedro de Mena y Gutiérrez, who was also responsible for carving the grand tabernacle located in the middle of the chapel.

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