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Villaviciosa Chapel

Original Main Chapel

At first, Catholic worship was adapted to the space of the former Muslim chapel. So at the time of its ceremonial consecration to Catholic worship, on 29 June 1236, the main altar was under the skylight of Al-Hakam II. More than two centuries would pass before we would see the first work to adapt to the new liturgy. The execution of the first significant Christian work corresponded to Bishop Íñigo Manrique (1486-1496), with the construction of a large Gothic nave. We see a basilica space whose elevation is structured around pillars and pointed transversal arches. Meanwhile, its ceiling was a wooden gabled frame. In the 20th century the architect Velázquez Bosco discovered and recovered it, as since the Modern Age it had remained hidden under vaults. In this ceiling we can make out coffers with pictorial motifs representing both plant decoration and Latin and Greek inscriptions referring to "Jesus the Saviour".

This original main chapel used to have a series of frescos with an Italian-Byzantine influence dating back to the year 1351. The cycle, consisting of representations of Saints and Kings, is the work of Alonso Martinez. Of the entire ensemble, only the Head of Christ has been preserved to the present day and this is on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in Cordoba.

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