Marchena, "The Unknown
Beauty", is a world of artists, monumental sights, folklore
and gastronomy.. all in a setting of great beauty and fascinating
historical background. It fertile soil attracted many civilisations,
from the Stone Age to the Turdetans, Tartessians, Iberians,
Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors, the last of which
created the city as we see it today, with its great walls and
four gates, including the Puerta de Sevilla and the Puerta
de Moron. In the Christian period the city was distinguished
by the family of the Dukes of Arcos (which included the conquistador
Ponce de Leon) who, in their fortified palace in La Mota, made
Marchena a genuine centre for artistic patronage and created
many of the fine buildings we have here today.
If you want to visit this fascinating town, we suggest that
you follow the itinerary given below, which can be done in
a half day. During your visit, make sure to walk past some
of the city's many handsome palaces and manors.
Starting at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), we come
1. PUERTA DE SEVILLA, THE ARCH OF THE ROSE
This impressive gate in the form of a horseshoe arch and bastions
was once part of the walls of the Moorish city. it was rebuilt
in the 15th century.
2. CHURCH OF SAN JUAN BAUTISTA AND DIOCESAN MUSEUM
It would be worth going to Marchena just to see this church,
the construction of which was begun in 1490. The great main
altarpiece is one of the major examples of Sevillian Gothic
art, containing fourteen panels by Alejo Fernandez (second
half of the 16th century), as well as the bas-relief in alabaster
of the head of Saint John the Baptist (1593). The choir and
the sacristy are also of great interest. The church's museum
includes a collection of nine canvases by Francisco de Zurbaran
and a valuable collection of gold and silver sacramental objects
and hand illustrated choir books. Open every day except Monday,
from 10:30am to 1:30pm.
3. DUCAL CASTLE
As you walk towards the church of Santa maria you will cross
the old inner bailey of the castle, which has recently undergone
a major restoration.
4. CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DE LA MOTA
A fine example of the Gothic Mudejar style. One of the original
early 15th century doors till survives. The church was joined
by a gallery to the now destroyed palace of the Dukes of Arcos;
the interior is composed of an interesting wooden structure.
As well as the altarpiece of the Virgen de la Mota (16th century),
it contains a magnificent carving of Christ Recumbent by Jeronimo
Hernandez, dated 1575.
5. CONVENT OF THE INMACULADA CONCEPCION
Adjacent to Santa Maria de la Mota and founded by the Duke
of Arcos in 1631, this convent possesses a church with a single
nave and barrel vaulting. The nuns sell delicious pastries
through the convents revolving window.
6. PUERTA DE MORON
Built during the Almohad period (13th century). Currently
home to the Lorenzo Collaut Valera Museum, with a permanent
exhibit of 27 pieces.
OTHER SITES OF INTEREST
There are other fine churches such as; San Miguel, San Agustin,
San Sebastian, Santo Domingo, convento de Santa Isabel, convento
de las Mercedarias, La Inmaculada, Iglesia de Santa Clara and
Capilla de la Vera Cruz; see also the facades of the houses
at no. 14 Calle San Francisco, no. 6 of Calle San Juan, Calle
Cilla (La Cilla del Cabildo), and no. 12 of Calle Sevilla.
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