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Santa María de la Asunción Church and Mudéjar Tower Architectural Ensemble

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The Santa María de la Asunción Parish Church in Alcalá del Río, built in the early 14th- and 15th-centuries is one of the most remarkable Mudejar buildings in the province.

Asunción Church and Mudéjar Tower:

The 3-nave church originally had four sections and extended to six in the 18th century. The main façade has a Mudéjar-style brick portico with pointed and semi-circular arches framed by pillars. The porticos on the side façades were filled in to create several rooms, and the portico at the west end was destroyed in during the extension.

The brick tower is built over a Roman defensive construction. It has a square floor plan and four floors that are marked on the outside with listels. The first level is covered by a ribbed vault and the upper levels with sail vaults. The openings in the bell tower have stilted arches framed with “alfiz” moulding. It is topped with curved merlons with v-shaped notches, creating a distinctive Mudejar imprint.

The central nave of the church has a collar-beam roof, rebuilt after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The pillars are cruciforms, and the arches are pointed, with simple cavettos imposts. The presbytery is possibly the oldest part of the building, lower in height than the central nave, and is attached to the Roman construction that is the tower’s foundation. It has a polygonal chancel covered by two sections of ribbed vaults supported by corbels, decorated with human heads. The design of these heads reveals the age of this building, which could even date back to the late 13th century.

The chancel on this side of the nave has a 15th-century chapel with stellar vault that gives access to the 18th-century sacristy.

Highlights within include the titular images of the parish, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, by Duque Cornejo, sculpted in the early 18th-century, and Cristo del Buen Fin, by Roque Balduque, from the mid-16th century. The Santa Ana altar is by the same sculptor and date. The Concepción altarpiece is by Hernando de Esturmio, and the image of Jesús Nazareno is by Francisco Antonio Gijón (1672). The mid-17th-century choir is located in the narthex, next to an 18th-century baroque organ.

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