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The Lonely Planet Guide to Andalucia
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Flag of AndaluciaOsuna

Andalucia

Sevilla

The origins of the town stretch back to the year 1000 BC, as can be seen by the great number of remains from each historical period.

Osuna got its name from the Turdetans, an Iberian tribute which called it Urso; several objects remain from this period, such as the "Bull of Osuna" and the "Reliefs of Osuna" (these latter showing a Roman Influence. When Pompey made his last unsuccessful stand against Caesar in Osuna, the city fell into his rival's hands, and Caesar gave it the status of a colony (Colonia Genetiva Iulia), the importance of which is suggested by the laws found in the "Osuna Bronzes".

We know very little about the Visigothic period, and the subsequent Moorish rule. All that remains of the period of the almohad rule are a few sections of the ramparts and a tower, the Torre del Agua.

King Ferdinand III (the Saint) conquered the town in 1239. In 1264, King Alfonso X granted Osuna to the Order of Calatrava (or which it was a major encomienda or concession).

In 1460, while the Master of the Order was Pedro Giron, the town was traded fro Fuenteovejuna and Belmez, as a result of which it became the seat of the Counts of Ureña. In 1562 the 5th Count of Ureña was made 1st Duke of Osuna, and from then on Osuna became the Andalusian capital of the domains of the Tellez Giron family, who were the founders of the Collegiate Church and the University in the 16th century.

The Giron family, with their many religious foundations, did much to make the urban landscape of Osuna what it is today, with its mixture of convents and churches, lordly palaces and manors, overlooked by the cliff on which stands the Collegiate Church, the University and the remains of the ducal palace, which is where we will begin our visit.

1. COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DE LA ASUNCION

This building, as we see it today, was started in the third decade of the 16th century by Don Juan Tellez Giron, 2nd Count of Ureña. The construction was entrusted to the finest craftsmen of Seville, under the direction of his son, Don Juan Tellez Giron, 4th Count of Ureña.

The church, built of ashlar in yellowish, sandy stone, has five naves spanned with Renaissance style round arches and was designed and built by Diego de Riaño and Martin de Gainza. it has three entrances, one for each of the aisles as well as the main door of the church, called the Puerta del Sol. As well as the aforementioned Riaño and Gainza, the Giron family employed in this great project craftsmen such as Anton de Palencia. Arnao de Vergara, Torribio de Huemes, Hernando de Esturmio, Juan de Zamora, Luis de Morales, etc.

As we walk around the interior of the church we will stop to admire the extraordinary canvas El Cristo de la Expiracion by Jose de Ribera, and El Cristo de la Misericordia by Juan de Mesa (1623), as well as an interesting collection of paintings and sculpture from the 16, 17th and 18th centuries.

2. THE DUCAL PANTHEON

This building stands next to the Collegiate church. It was founded by Don Juan Tellez Giron, 4th Count of Ureña, in 1548, and contains a pantheon, chapel and an atrium, all designed in the Plateresque style. The atrium of the pantheon is one of the loveliest examples of the Spanish Renaissance. The crypt of the pantheon contains the remains of the Tellez Giron family, Counts of Ureña and Dukes of Osuna.

3. THE MUSEUM OF RELIGIOUS ART

The museum stands on the site of the old sacristy of the Collegiate. Its collection of paintings contains four canvases by Jose de Riber dated 1616 and 1617, an interesting processional cross by Pedro de Ribadeo (16th century), a plateresque coffer (16th century) by Diego de Becerra, a collection of 16th century Flemish paintings and religious gold and silverwork. The Sala Capitular (Chapter room) contains and 18th century shroud and the seats of the choir (16th century), with a coffered ceiling mad e of wood and Cuenca Ceramic tiles, also of the 16th century.

4. THE UNIVERSITY

Founded by Don Juan Tellez Gironin 1548, this severe, rectangular building, with towers at each of its four corners and a central atrium surrounded with colonnades, is a highly refined example of the Italian Renaissance style. Of special interest are the wall paintings of the Sala de Grados ("Girona"), the chapel with its fine paintings by Hernando de Esturmio, and the assembly hall with its Mudejar coffered ceiling.

5. THE MONASTERY OF LA ENCARNACION

Originally built as a hospital, this building became a mercedarian monastery in 1626. Of special interest are the ceramic friezes which decorate the cloister and the upper gallery, certainly the most complete collection of 18th century Sevillian ceramics in existence.

6. CHURCH OF LA MERCED

The church was built in the 17th century; the interior has ingle nave with a barrel vaulted ceiling and is decorated in the style of the Italian architect Serlio. The most outstanding features are the entrance and the tower, created by Alonso Ruiz Florindo (1756-1775), a perfect example of 18th century decoration.

7. CHURCH OF SAN AGUSTIN

Built in the second half of the 16th century, the interior is composed of a single nave with barrel vaulted ceiling and plasterwork decoration. There is an exhibition of statues and paintings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, including El Cristo de la Vera Cruz (16th century), and El Cristo de la Caña (18th century).

8. THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Housed in the tower known as Torre del Agua, an advanced bastion of the Almohad fortress (12th century). This museum consists of four rooms on the tower's two top floors, containing prehistoric items, a number of Iberian pieces, reproductions of the "Osuna Bronzes" and the "Osuna Reliefs", the originals of which are in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid; plus a magnificent collection of Roman terracotta, glass, Muslim remains, painted Visigothic bricks etc.

9. CONVENT OF LA CONCEPCION

Built in the 16th century according to the classic model for convents, it has a single nave with barrel vaulting and 18th century main altarpiece.

10. CEPEDA PALACE

This typical 18th century palace has a facade decorated with pyramid-shaped stone "studded" carvings, two halberdiers holding up the family coat of arms, a colonnaded atrium and vaulted monumental staircase.

11. CHURCH OF NUESTRA SEÑORA DE CONSOLACION

This 16th century church has three naves with barrel vaulting; it also contains two interesting paintings of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, with influences of the Valdes Leal school.

12. CONVENT OF SANTA CATALINA

The original construction of the church dates from the mid 16th century. The Gospel side facade was added in the 17th century, with a painting of Saint Catherine the Martyr. The main altarpiece is of the 18th century. In the Sacristy, a skirting board of 18th century Sevillian tiles, depicting scenes of horse riding and bullfighting.

13. CHURCH OF SAN CARLOS EL REAL

This Jesuit church was founded in the early 17th century. It has a single nave covered with barrel vaulting, chancel with dome ceiling and wall paintings. The 17th century main altarpiece comes from the vanished Church of San Francisco. It contains a statue of San Carlos Borromeo and a carving of Saint Joseph, also from the Church of San Francisco.

14. CHURCH OF SANTO DOMINGO

This church stands on the site of the former medieval church of Saint Sebastian; it was founded in 1531 and endowed by the 4th Count of Ureña. The sanctuary is in the Gothic style, and the late 16th century main altarpiece was created by Diego de Velasco and Jeronimo Hernandez.

15. FORMER COURTHOUSE

Built in 1779, with Baroque facade attributed to Alfonso Ruiz Florindo. On the door is an unusual variation of the coat of arms of Osuna.

16. CHURCH OF LA VICTORIA

The church dates from the beginning of the 17th century. The chancel contains an impressive 18th century altarpiece. Outstanding paintings are La Virgen de los Dolores, by Jose de Mora; Jesus Nazareno, influenced by the School of Roldan and an altarpiece with scenes of the Passion, painted by Roldan el Mozo.

17. THE CATHEDRAL CHAPTER HOUSE

Located on the Calle San Pedro; designed by Alsonso Ruiz Florindo in the last part of the 18th century. Its magnificent facade displays the symbols of the Cathedral of Seville, the Giralda, Santa Justa and Santa Rufina, and vases of lilies, as evidence of the buildings ownership.

18. PALACE OF THE MARQUIS OF LA GOMERA

The facade of this palace was built in 1765, by Juan Antonio Blanco, an architect from Estepa. It is Osuna's most important civil building in the Baroque style. The lovely carvings around the door are composed of interwoven curving and straight lines, running below the watchtower. In the interior there is a magnificent colonnaded atrium and private chapel.

19. PALACES AND NOBLE HOUSES

there are many aristocratic homes, most of the 18th century (although there are several fine examples of 16th century civil architecture as well), distributed harmoniously along the streets of San Pedro, Gordillos, Compañia, and Sevilla.

20. CHURCH OF SAN PEDRO

It dates from the beginning of the 16th century, and has an entrance in the Mudejar style. The main altarpiece and the altarpieces along the right wall are in the Rococo style.

21. FORMER COURTHOUSE

Its facade dates from the 18th century, with two powerful wreathed columns which support the base of the upper section and balconies.

22. PALACES OF SEVILLA STREET

Several fine examples of Sevillian civil architecture can be seen on the Calle Sevilla. The Palacio de los Torres, in the baroque style (inspired by pre-Colombian themes from the New World) and the Palacio de los Condes de Puerto Hermoso, to name several, bear witness to the wealth of Osuna at the end of the 18th century.

23. CHURCH OF EL CARMEN

Built in the 16th century. The interior is composed of three naves with barrel vaulting. The main altarpiece is an extraordinary example of 16th century art, with subsequent modifications. The sacristy contains a 16th century Calvary.

24. CONVENT OF ESPIRITU SANTA

bullet in the 16th century and extensively remodelled in the 18th century. The main altarpiece is late 18th century Baroque.

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The Rough Guide
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