Sunday, February 24, 2013

Malaga Cathedral

When the Catholic Kings reconquered Malaga in August of 1487, they did the typical thing and reconsecrated the main mosque as a Catholic Church. Soon a project began to make an entirely new cathedral in the Gothic style. The plan was abandoned in 1525 due to excessive costs and other problems. The next year, a new project began with a new design in the Renaissance style. Work began on the church and continued to 1588. By then a portion was completed and the bishop, Luis Garcia de Haro, moved the cathedral from the ex-mosque to the partially completed new building. Work more or less stopped at that point with a great deal left to finish. An attempt to restart work in the mid-1600s failed. When a report in the 1700s noted the risk of the structure collapsing, a new design began and construction resumed. Some controversial taxes were levied to pay for the expenses but they were not enough to cover the costs and work stopped again in 1782. Only one of the two towers for the front was completed. The locals nicknamed the cathedral La Manquita or The One-armed Lady. Since then only minor additions were made (some stained glass and some interior chapels).

The One-armed Lady of Malaga

In spite of the checkered history of its construction, the Malaga Cathedral is still an impressive sight inside and outside. Visitors enter through the Doorway of the Chains, so called because the chains separated the courtyard with the orange trees from the church proper.

Doorway of the Chains

Interior door

The interior has a long nave with a large choir in the middle and side aisles lined with chapels dedicated to various saints or inspired by various devotions.

The choir is interesting in that it has its own altar apart from the high altar. Also in the wall of the choir is the Retro-choir with statues to various saints.

Choir flanked by massive organs

Choir altar

Impressive organ

Choir book!

Retro-choir Pieta

St. Mary Magdalene

St. John

The high altar is easily visible from the choir and is nicely impressive.

High Altar


Like most cathedrals we visited in Spain, this one had a nativity displayed (it was still early January).


Many different chapels adorn the side aisles of the church.

Chapel of St. Sebastian

Chapel of St. Raphael

Chapel of the Incarnation

Chapel of St. Barbara

Chapel of St. Francis

Chapel of the Sacred Heart

Over the sacristy door is a fine painting, Feast of the Pharisees, by Flemish artist Miguel Manrique in the 17th century.

Feast of the Pharisees, Miguel Manrique, 17th c.

Another impressive painting is The Beheading of St. Paul by Enrique Simonet in 1887. I love how his separated head still has a saintly glow.

Beheading of St. Paul, Enrique Simonet, 1887

The Tomb of Archbishop Luis de Torres (who died in 1553) is found in the Chapel of St. Francis. His expectant rest is pretty common for tombs all over Europe. I assume he's waiting anxiously for the resurrection of the body at the end of time!

Tomb of Archbishop Luis de Torres

We'll wander around the exterior of the church in our next post!

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