Saint Hieronymus façade and bell tower of Calahorra Cathedral

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Cathedral of Santa María is a catholic cathedral located in Calahorra, La Rioja, Spain.

Calahorra’s Cathedral is located outside the city, in its lowest part, close to the Cidacos’s riverbank. Its main façade is baroque. The tower is furnished with six bodies. Saint Hieronymus front, fusing both gothic and renaissance styles, breaks the austerity of the northern façade. Built in dressed stone, the style of the Cathedral is mainly Gothic, though the chancel displays certain influence from the Renaissance. Within the interior of the temple there are sixteen chapels contaning important pieces of art, among which their altarpieces, accomplished between the 16th and 18th century, can be highlighted.

The front of Saint Hieronymus breaks the artistic austerity of the northern façade by displaying a combination of great artistic quality fusing Gothic and Renaissance styles, including its Plateresque and Mannierist phases.

The front consists of two bodies which correspond to two different styles and periods, the upper one being the most ancient (gothic, 1520), while the lower one is of Renaissance style (year 1559).

The tympanum presides the door with a scene of the Coronation of the Virgin shielded by the images of Saint Emeterius and Saint Celedonius.

The door is also called “Graveyard Door”, for it gave entrance to the cemetery of the Cathedral in previous times. This explains the two Angels playing the trumpet which are there represented announcing the Resurrection of the Dead.

The second body, the oldest, is furnished with a series of slightly pointed archs which act as four archivolts shielding the tympanum and which lay directly over the entablature capping the first body. A rich decoration in relief is arranged between the archivolts and the tympanum, though the iconographic program of the front is mainly gathered in the figures of the exterior archivolt and the tympanum.

In the tympanum, over a neutral background, there is a ronde-bosse group forming a single scene (as was characteristic in hte last period of the Gothic) related to the Glory of the Virgin, who has the Martyr Saints, Emeterius and Celedonius, on Her side. The figures, simetrically ordered, are adapted to the gothic architecture of the frame. The Virgin, in the centre, being of greater size than the images of the Saints, stands out among the rest, thus emphasising She is the most important figure. This sculptoric convention was still a clear medieval reminiscence which influenced the lay-out of the composition.

The Virgin is sitting on Her throne, with the Child over Her left knee and an open book on the right, which She also holds with one hand, while the Child points at it with one of His fingers. Both images direct Their gazestowards the book. The Virgin is crowned by two adolescent angels whose tunics indicate their flying posture.

A scallop shell of Renaissance fashion, serving both as canony and as base for the music angel, is placed over the Virgin, thus reinforcing the idea of Glory conveyed by the group.

In the pointing keystone of the arch, just in the central axe of the composition, rests the image representing the Resurrection of Christ, who is standing, superimposed to the two archivolts in a radial direction, in front of the shrine. Apart from this figure, and as decreed by the canons of traditional gothic, there are six further Saints in the direction marked by the archs, three on each side of Christ, alternating with an equal number of angels.

The Saints are, from bottom to top and from left to right, Marguerite of Antioch, Catherine of Alexandria, Lucy, Elizabeth of Hungary, Perpetua and Felicity. (Description from catedralcalahorra.org).

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The Cathedral of fish

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Submerged Church of Villanueva de las Rozas, located in the Ebro reservoir, in Las Rozas de Valdearroyo, region of Campoo-Los Valles,Cantabria, Spain).

The Ebro reservoir was made by order of Francisco Franco in 1945. The remains of 9 villages lie underneath the water of the reservoir, although some were relocated to shore level.

This Church are now known as “The Cathedral of Fish”.

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Rioseco abandoned Abbey

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Rioseco Abbey (Spanish: Monasterio cisterciense de Santa María de Rioseco) is a former Cistercian abbey situated in Rioseco in the Valle de Manzanedo, in the present province of Burgos, near the River Ebro.

In 1148 the Cistercian Valbuena Abbey, of the filiation of Morimond, founded a daughter house in a small former hermitage in Quintanajuar, in the Páramo de Masa. In 1171 this new community received as a gift from the heirs of the nobleman Martino Martini de Uizozes the ancient monastery of Rioseco, the previous history of which is unrecorded. After a temporary relocation in the late 12th century to San Cipriano de Montes de Oca (La Rioja), the Cistercians moved to the Valle de Manzanedo at the beginning of the 13th century, and probably in 1204, to occupy the old monastery of Rioseco.

The site of the old monastery can still be seen by the ruins of the old conventual church. It seems that after a serious flood the new community had definitely established itself by 1236 at the latest on a new site a little to the north, on higher ground. After the move the former conventual church was put to use as the parish church of Nuestra Señora de Parrales.

By the 14th century Rioseco had become one of the most powerful economies among the Castilian Cistercians. From the middle of the 15th century however, in common in fact with most other monasteries, it experienced years of penury and crisis, before once again entering upon a period of further growth and prosperity in the 17th century.

During the Peninsular War, from 1808 to 1809 the French troops stationed in Medina de Pomar appropriated a large part of the monastery’s stores and from 1809 until 29 June 1814 the monks were dispossessed. Nor after their return did they stay very long, for on 29 October 1820, during the Trienio Liberal, the commissars of the revolutionary government took possession of the monastery. At a public auction held in Villarcayo, most of the community’s goods were sold. The monastery itself however found no buyer, and thereafter stood abandoned. The local populace continued to make some use of the premises as store-houses, parish church and cemetery.

In the 1850s the surviving buildings, especially the extremely well preserved church, still magnificently equipped and furnished, were deliberately and systematically stripped by the Arquiaga family of everything of any value that survived, and reduced to ruins.

The monastery is in the Herreriano style. An impressive spiral staircase is still preserved, the stone walls of the church still stand, and the bóvedas retain some traces of polychromy. The cartulary is now in the Archivo Histórico Nacional (codex 91B).

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Vallejo de Mena Romanesque Church of San Lorenzo

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Vallejo de Mena is in The Mena Valley (Spanish: Valle de Mena), a municipality of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castilla y León, Spain, that borders the provinces of Alava and Vizcaya (Basque Country) and Cantabria.

The municipality has 3,926 inhabitants distributed among 43 small villages, being its capital Villasana de Mena with 1.554 inhabitants.

The name Vallejo is a diminutive of Valley, therefore, Vallejo de Mena was called to a hollow that lies at the heart of the Valle de Mena. Nowadays this small village belongs to the municipality of Villasana de Mena, located a few kilometres away.

Apparently, the Church of San Lorenzo de Vallejo de Mena was performed in two distinct construction stages. The first phase was completed by teachers more fine and artistic, while the second stage was attended by local artists who were commissioned to complete the work. The initial project had a tower at the top of the third segment of the ship which was never finished.

The Church has a total of three covers of access, being the more interesting which opens on the facade of the Gables. Inside is a single nave divided into three sections by transverse arches, follows her a straight section that precedes the apse, all of them covered with vaults with the exception of the apse.

The Church of San Lorenzo de Vallejo vein represents one of the highest peaks of the Romanesque from Burgos. The cover opens on the facade of the Gables and keeps a resemblance to the cover of the Church for Bercedo. The porch goes a long way with respect to the line of the façade by what comes to form a separate body. He has not retained the original roof or the gargoyles should look in their day. On each side four supported columns appear with attic bases, the capitals of these columns are perfectly carved and decorated with motifs vegetables except on the left side in which are four Harpies. Porch adds a total of five archivolts, four are supported by columns and the archivolt interior is based on the door jambs.

The two foreign archivolts of the cover represent human figures of stature, strong and sturdy, very Castilian for its quality and for the topics the master sculptor represents. The three inner archivolts are decoration articles, vine leaves, balls, etc.

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Santa Maria de Retortillo Romanesque Church

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Retortillo, in the municipality of Campoo de Enmedio, autonomous community of Cantabria, Spain.

This beautiful temple Romanesque is dated in the last years of the 12th century, stands on a necropolis early medieval and the ancient city of Juliobriga, the most important Roman centre of Cantabria. Retortillo is nowadays a small village of about 60 inhabitants in the municipality of Campoo de Enmedio in the High Ebro.

Apparently the name of Retortillo comes from “Rivo Tortillo” as they discussed the documents relating to the CARTULARY of Santillana in which news first appear in this village.

Photography offers a view of the Church from its southwest corner. From here we look at the belfry and the south wall. At the bottom of the image is the tombs of lajas belonging to a medieval necropolis.

The temple has a single nave covered by a barrel vault that is divided into three sections by transverse arches. The ship is topped in an elegant semicircular apse . It preserves practically its original appearance but lost a tower cylindrical, possibly similar to the Church of San Martin of a portico that was in the southern wall and Elines and that it protected the home. This gallery was unfortunately deleted in a restoration of the year 1989. The cover presents an interesting ear drum with two angels, a tap and a lion.

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Stained glass Bishop Juan Quiñones Guzmán

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Bishop of Calahorra Juan Quiñones Guzmán ((2 Aug 1559 – 14 Sep 1576 Died) on a stained glass at The Palacio de los Guzmanes (Guzmanes Palace) in León, Spain.

The current headquarters of the Diputación de León (the provincial government) is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city. Don Juan de Quiñones y Guzmán, bishop of Calahorra, commanded its construction to Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the most important architect back then.

It is a place of delicate elegance from the Renaissance, with flair and structural simplicity.

The building’s base is like a trapezoid, with four towers at the corners and an indoor courtyard with columns and beautiful stained glass windows at the second level. The stained glasses was made by Daniel Lopez Merille (1888-1961 died)

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The Palace of The Guzmanes courtyard

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Palace of the Guzmanes (Palacio de los Guzmanes) is the current headquarters of the Diputación de León (the provincial government) is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city of Leon, Spain.

Don Juan de Quiñones y Guzmán, bishop of Calahorra, commanded its construction to Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the most important architect back then. He had planned the University of Alcalá de Henares and the Palacio Monterrey in Salamanca. The Palacio de los Guzmanes’ construction took place between 1559 and 1572 in the lands where the old city Wall used to stand, and also the place where the family’s older palace was. This was a mudejar building that was knocked down in order to build the new one. The construction work was never finished and the palace deteriorated until i tended up abandoned.

In 1882 it was purchased by the provincial government (Diputación) for its recovery, and since then, a series of reforms have taken place. They concluded with the extension carried out between 1973 and 1976 by the architect Felipe Moreno.

It is a place of delicate elegance from the Renaissance, with flair and structural simplicity. Inside, the extraordinary courtyard leads up the stairs to the administrative offices. At the main entrance, there are two reliefs: one represents Saint Augustine washing Pilgrim Christ’s feet. The other is the Annunciation. Likewise, there’s the sculpture of the aforementioned bishop Juan Quiñones de Guzmán, work by Valentín Yugueros. In the façade there is the mysterious Guzmanes’ coat of arms, a bucket with six snakes getting out.
The building’s base is like a trapezoid, with four towers at the corners and an indoor courtyard with columns and beautiful stained glass windows at the second level. The palace has two parts: balconies in the upper one and barred windows in the lower one. The main façade makes up a third part, which is a gallery of glazed arches between Corinthian pilasters. The building’s floors are vertically connected through a spiral staircase located at the Southeast tower.

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