Construction of the cathedral of la Encarnacion in Malaga began in 1528, following the plans of notable contemporary architects; building stopped in 1783 (late if compared to other Spanish cathedrals) . An imposing marble stairway leads up to the W. façade. Two towers-of which only the N. one was completed-flank the three portals; the other tower is called ‘Manquita’ in the local vernacular, which means ‘the one without’. The middle portal has reliefs of the Birth of Christ; the side portals have Saints Paula and Cyriacus, the town’s two patron saints. The interior (392 ft. long by 160 ft. high) has a nave and two aisles of equal height and a dome supported by compound pillars with Corinthian capitals. In the middle there are very beautiful choir stalls (100 seats) with 40 superb figures of saints, carved by Pedro de Mena (1658-60); further figures are by Luis Ortiz and José Micael. Some particularly fine vestments are on view.
In the trascoro (retrochoir) there is a Pietà by Alonso Cano. The first chapel on the right of the ambulatory has figures of Ferdinand and Isabella in an attitude of prayer, probably by Pedro de Mena; there is also a gilded statue of the Virgin, which was reputedly carried during the battles of the Reconquista. The first side chapel on the right has a 17C crucifix by Montañés. The third side chapel on the right has the Virgin Mary with Saints from the 17C by Alonso Cano, as well as two sculptures
Pedro de Mena. In the third chapel of the ambulatory there is a Gothic retable, from
the early 16C. The Capilla del Sagrario(in the E. of the ambulatory) was designed by
Juan de Villanueva in the 18C.
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