St. Mary's Church
In its facade, magnificent example of Gothic art three archivolts delicosas curds and whimsical figures of angels work shown

HISTORY

It is one of the three parishes that were established in the Middle Ages in the municipality of Requena. It is to be found half way along the street of this name. At the point where its beautiful façade opens on to a little square which connects to the main square of the municipality via the Piñuelo passageway.

There is a widespread belief that this church was located on the site of the main mosque, adapting its original spaces to those of a Christian temple over different periods. An early testimony from 1333 is a letter sent from Rome to the prebendary of this parish, long before the Gothic works of its main chapel and façade began and the baroque nave was completed in the first third of the eighteenth century. The prebendary was an ecclesiastic dignitary with the right to receive rents or prebends from the church.

The main chapel, covered with exquisite Gothic cross ribs, covers four chapels, two on each of its sides, also with Gothic cross ribs. These works were completed in 1565; the rest of the original space was not restored and is in marked contrast to this sixteenth century intervention.

In the spring of 1730 work started on the dome and the baroque chapels in the old space that had not been restored; said works took place in the main chapel and the west end of the temple, the joining of the Gothic and Baroque domes being carried out with great precision.

FACADE

On the outside, the part belonging to the main chapel can be clearly seen, much higher and with its unfinished walls at the top, the intention being to finish them, as well as its low brick walls. The part of the baroque dome is lower on the outside and the walls, from the façade to the west end of the temple, are of rammed earth and belong to the original building works.

But the jewel that excels on the outside is the beautiful florid Gothic façade, which has suffered considerable deterioration, but does not prevent us from appreciating its beauty.

We can see that it is a flared façade with a mullion and two doors, with four arch mouldings with canopies, under which are placed the images of the apostles and on the mullion the Virgin with Child. On the pointed tympanum are the images of the archangel and the Virgin at the Annunciation.

The first three arch mouldings that envelop the tympanum are pointed and alternate with canopies and images. On the first the images are cherubims with four wings, on the second angel musicians with various period instruments, on the third virgin martyrs with their corresponding attributes. The fourth arch moulding with twisted thistle leaves is in the shape of a canopy, rounded off with a rosette. From the ogee arch moulding to the cornice, also adorned with various symbolic figures, interlaced ogee arches cover the space. On the cornice there is a typically Gothic openwork cresting.

After its restoration started in the 1980s, it has been dedicated since 2004 to housing mainly large exhibitions and concerts, among which the Week of Sacred Music held in the town is of particular note.

INSIDE

Inside it the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary is outstanding, originally dedicated to St James, patron saint of the Knights of the King's Payroll. This chapel has two domes, one of them decorated with angel musicians and on the walls two well-made canvases one of them depicting the battle of Lepanto and the other the legendary miracle of the decapitated knight, attributed to St Domingo de Guzmán.

In another of the side chapels in the opposite part there is a fragmented sixteenth century painting depicting St Christopher. Another particularity to be mentioned in this church is the sinuous line, clearly baroque, of the edge of the choir, completed in 1763.

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