Santiponce Itálica

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Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Oliva

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Santa María de la Oliva Church
The Church of Our Lady of Oliva was built in the second half of the 13th century during the reign of King Alfonso X the Wise. It was expanded during the 15th, 16th and 18th centuries. It consists of three naves divided into five sections by pointed horseshoe arches on pillars. It is a clear example of frontier architecture, as it was built to highlight the dominance of Christianity over the Islamic world.

Four sections remain of the original church with a rectangular plan. These can be easily distinguished from the rest of the building. Its pillars are crowned with capitals of Romanesque, Gothic and Almohad inspiration that support domes decorated with strapwork and paintings.

The “Puerta del Perdón” stands at the west end of the crowned by a brick archivolt supported by brick columns. The left nave-aisle’s stone portal, known as “Puerta del Sol”, is now the church’s main entrance. Above the lintel are two decorated stone discs and a Visigoth marble tombstone.

The cloister, known as the “Patio de los Naranjos” has a square plan and is surrounded by semi-circular arches on marble columns. The tower, built in 1756-1778, was inspired by the Giralda in Seville; therefore, it is commonly known as “La Giraldilla”.

The high altarpiece is a masterpiece by the architect, painter and sculptor Alonso Cano. Worthy of note is the statue of Our Lady of Oliva, considered by many as the best sculpture made by this famous artist from Granada, as well as the Crucified Christ and the sculptures of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

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