St. Nicholas Church

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If we go down Somera Street we will be surprised on contemplating a church with a neo-classical tower and façade, with a square and fountain in front of it.


The temple of Saint Nicholas, not long ago in ruins having been abandoned in 1936, underwent a period of restoration by the City Hall in 2011 and is now open for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

Interesting data on the history of the church has been compiled from various sources: the archaeological excavations carried out before the restoration process; the erosion of a large part of the building; the restoration itself and various written documents and inscriptions dating back to the 15th century.

The first primitive church was built on the site in the 13th century. It was constructed with stone walls and probably a wooden roof. It had a simple layout and was decorated with Romanic paintings of which small fragments remain and which help date the construction of the original temple.

In the mid-15th century (1459) the church was extended towards the East, towards Tarás alley. The archaeological excavations uncovered the foundations of the first wall which was pulled down to enable the extension. This larger church was built in Gothic style with one wide nave subdivided into four areas. It had a simple ribbed vault and oculi decorated with Gothic tracery to provide light.

This important and costly remodelling is dated on an inscription which can be seen on the left-hand side of the present Neo-classical façade. Progressive deterioration means we cannot read the last few words.

In the mid-16th century (1551) there was a Renaissance style renovation in which the choir was built and the unfinished portico. According to certain manuscripts of the period, it seems that these works were carried out by eliminating the polygonal Gothic apse at the new northern entrance to the church in order to widen the present square which probably did not exist until then. This meant that the main altar was transferred to the southern end of the church.

The next intervention was in the early 18th century (1723-1727). This typically Baroque renovation covered the gothic nave with plaster, hollowed the tower to make room for the reredos and the presbytery and built an extension behind the sanctuary to place the altar. Detailed description of this work can be found in a manuscript by Dominguez de la Coba and also in files dating from 1724 which are preserved in the Archives of the Diocese of Cuenca.

At the end of the 18th century (1788-1791) a Neo-classical renovation took place. According to an inscription carved in the upper part of the lintel, the bell tower and the portico were completed in 1788 and a year later work started on extending the church towards the south. This extension included taking down the old tower and the previous extension to make way for the dome and the new apse. A new sacristy was also built along with a vicarage. The stone ball which holds the cross on the dome carries the inscription 1791 which gives up the date of completion of the works.

Some minor works were carried out in the second half of the 19th century but it then remained untouched until the commencement of its decline in 1936.


The current cover of neoclassical style was built in 1788. In it we see the door lintel framed by two Doric columns that support a triangular pediment and a frieze decorated with triglyphs and metopes. On the door of the church we found an inscription reads. "This work of Spain's R. The Mag was made with. Do Univ church. 1 Number SS O P. e. The Basin the Hon. Mr. Felipe Antonio Solano... Of D. Carlos III. this parish Dr. D. Benito Cuevas de la Fuente: and being steward of his factory D. Joseph Enriqz of Mavarra and ZELAIA MMCCLXXXVIII Year “. In the central part of the cover we can see a medallion with the image of St. Nicholas the Great.

On the right side of the facade we find the bell tower built in the eighteenth century. Rectangular and with room for four bells, built with brick and decorated with cornices and pilasters. The roof, four sides, is made of blue glazed tiles and topped with cross and vane.


The building consists of a single nave consists of four sections covered by vaults. In the side chapels with Baroque decoration. The cruise is covered by a dome with drum and lantern. In the spandrels of the dome, with frescos, they are represented the images of the four evangelists. After the cruise we find the presbytery area which consists of two distinct spaces: the first a rectangular section covered with a barrel vault and lunettes and the second, which corresponds to the apse with circular and covered with vault room sphere.

Next to the presbytery we find the Chapel of the Communion or San Francisco Javier painted with trompe funny that simulate the altarpiece. In other chapels of the church of St. Nicholas we can also see remains of Romanesque and Gothic paintings.


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