Santiponce Itálica

Heritage

An immense legacy waiting to be discovered

Hospital de la Caridad

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The building dates from the 17th century and is the headquarters of a charity promoted by Miguel de Mañara, a philanthropist who cared for the underprivileged. In many other hospitals, sick homeless were not admitted, so he decided to cure those patients in the Brotherhood of the Holy Charity itself and inaugurated the first infirmary of the Hospital in June 1674.

The Brotherhood of the Holy Charity was founded in the mid-15th century and the first rules of its operation date from 1578. Its functions were to transfer the helpless sick to the hospital, to attend spiritually the prisoners who were condemned to death and to bury them and help with the corpses left behind by the floods on the River Guadalquivir. In fact, the church is elevated two metres above the ground to avoid the several floods of the River Guadaquivir that caused the destruction of the chapel in 1645.

The façade of the church is one of the great examples of Sevillian Baroque. The upper sections show Saint George and Saint James and the three theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity. At the bottom, the sculptures of two holy kings can be observed: Saint Ferdinand, King of Castile and Saint Louis, King of France.

The decorations of the temple were devised by Miguel de Mañara and, for this purpose, he relied on the best artists of the time such as Murillo, Pedro Roldán, Valdés Leal and Bernardo Simón de Pineda. In fact, in the church, two great works by Valdés Leal can be found: Finis gloriae mundi and In ictu oculi.

The hospital has three large wards, which were built using the Royal Shipyards of the time of Alfonso X The Wise. In one of the hospital patios there is a ceramic plaque that reminds us that Mañara spent the last days of her life therein. 

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