History, art and faith in the Cathedral of Málaga

The Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación (Holy Cathedral of the Incarnation) is the cathedral of Málaga. It is one of the most beautiful Renaissance churches in Spain, as well as in Andalucía.

Plan your cultural visit to the Cathedral of Málaga

Málaga Cathedral was built on the main mosque of the city. The project began in 1487, when Castilian troops conquered Málaga. The mosque became a cathedral, that was built in a late Gothic style.

At the present time there is nothing from this first project entrusted to Diego de Siloé. At the middle of the 17th century the construction work remained stalled. 

The greatest constructive impulse came during the 18th century. Naves and domes were finished at that time. The cathedral was finally opened for worship in 1768.

The cathedral has four fronts. The main one, built in a Baroque style, is richly decorated. It has two floors and three streets separated each other by Corinthian coupled columns.

There are three round arch windows in the streets of the upper floor. Over them is another window with oculus both sides. The facade is finished off with a balustrade and a large cornice.

Málaga Cathedral
Main facade.

The lateral fronts, designed by José de Bada, are symmetric. The northern facade is commonly known as Puerta de las Cadenas (Chains’s door). Likewise, the southern front was named Puerta del Sol (Sun’s door).

The Cathedral has two different sections. The first one is formed by Corinthian columns that rise to a pedestal. There is a niche between columns. The second one has a triple nicho and it is crowned by two triangular pediments and a segmental pediment.

There is no much remained from Gothic times, but the northern lateral facade. It gives access to the Rosario Church. 

Málaga Cathedral
Northern facade.
Málaga Cathedral
Southern facade.

Among the towers of the Cathedral, the most important might be the northern one. It is almost 90 metres height. It is the highest in Andalucía.

It has four sections. The first two correspond to the facade, but the third open on its side a triple arcade, the same one to the facade. There are 14 bells in this section. Lastly, the four one with an octogonal shape holds the watch crowned by a cupola.

Málaga Cathedral
Northern tower

Inside the Cathedral its vaults are high-altitude and very well decorated.

Its iconographic programme is divided into: old and new work. Preceding the chancel is the faith and the charity. In the main dome is the Annunciation. In the domes of the crossing storm doors are represented the cardinal virtues.

The new work dates back to the 18th century. Its programme gathers together by couples. The archangels San Miguel and San Rafael occupy the first dome of the choir. The second dome holds San Gabriel and the guardian angel.

The first dome in the retrochoir represents San José con el Niño and Santo Tomás de Aquino. The second one represents San Hermenigildo and San Fernando.

Málaga Cathedral
Vault of the Cathedral.
Málaga Cathedral
Stained-glass windows of the Cathedral.

Málaga Cathedral holds a great number of chapels. Paintings and sculptures by famous artists are the protagonist of these spaces.

Among them, we find the chapel of San José, with a huge triptych about the Annunciation by Césare Arbassia. Other popular chapels are the followings: chapel of la Inmaculada Concepción or Chapel Virgen de los Reyes, with holds a great oil painting by Enrique Simonet.

However, the most important chapel of the cathedral is the Main Chapel. Its decoration was entrusted to the already mentioned César Arbassia. On the tabernacle of the chapel are painted some scenes of the Passion.

On the frieze are the images of the Parents of Church and the prophets. Finally, in the upper level are the figures of a series of the Christian martyrs.

Málaga Cathedral
Main altar.

Before finishing the cultural visit of the Málaga Cathedral, it is very recommended to spend some minutes gazing at the choir. It is one of the most important Spanish Baroque groups of sculptures.

It is carved in cedar wood, mahogany and grenadilla from America. The first body shows vegetal, geometrical, animal and allegorical motifs.

The second section shows, in its back, the sculptures of Santa María crowned with the apostles, evangelists and other Christianism figures.

Málaga Cathedral

Location: Calle Molina Lario, 9, 29015 Málaga.

Due to schedules change through the year, find them updated here, as well as the prices.

Finally, we recommend you here the best restaurants to eat.

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