Escardiel Hermitage, a temple to celebrate the land

For some reason, people insist on comparing everything. According to this, there are countless Sistine Chapels in Spain. One in Valencia, another in Extremadura has its own Sistine Chapel. Almost any painted ceiling or dome can be called that. Following this mantra, in Seville we also find a hermitage similar to the ceiling painted by Michelangelo: the Hermitage of Escardiel. However, this temple has its own characteristics, characteristics that make it unique.

The Escardiel Hermitage is located in the Sierra Norte of Seville, just five kilometers from the town of Castilblanco de los Arroyos. Specifically, it takes up an esplanade called Chaparral de la Virgen or Chaparral de Escardiel. Its location was very privileged in the past, when the Royal Path of Extremadura, next to which it is located, was one of the most frequented branches among those that linked Andalusia with Portugal. The old Vía de la Plata.


Exterior of the Hermitage of Escardiel. | Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Escardiel

From the outside, the hermitage presents an austere, almost bland appearance. Just a plain white façade full of arches and an orange roof. However, the interior of the temple stands out for the paintings that ascend from the base to the dome, forming a kind of sky that envelops the virgin of the same name. With them, the painter wanted to combine the legend and the traditions of the pilgrimage that has been celebrated in Escardiel since at least the 16th century, without forgetting, of course, its devotional character.

A temple that exalts the figure of women

According to the Hermandad de Nuestra Señora Santa María de Escardiel, in its lower part “the wall of the Santísimo Cristo de los Vaqueros represents the moment in which the three Marías, together with Juan Evangelista, return from Golgotha”. They also add that it is “a tribute to the figure, sometimes forgotten, of the woman, a Marian chapel that exalts her figure as a fundamental pillar of history“.

After passing through a more intermediate area, consecrated to the patrons of Castilblanco de los Arroyos, the paintings turn to green colors. “The green of our oaks,” the Brotherhood points out. It is a part dedicated to the land and the people of Seville. Finally, the dome represents, of course, the celestial: “September tones with angels holding a prayer”.


Interior of the Hermitage of Escardiel. | Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Escardiel

The Hermitage of Escardiel, a place of tradition

Although what the Escardiel Hermitage is famous for is, above all, for hosting every year, during the month of September, the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Escardiel. A celebration of which there is evidence since the mid-sixteenth century, although it probably began much earlier. Likewise, every five years the Venida de la Virgen takes place, a festival in which the Virgin is moved from the hermitage to the Huerta del Portillejo. From August 13, the carving passes through different places in the surrounding area until September 12, when it returns to its place.

The Escardiel Chapel is, therefore, a place of worship and tradition for the inhabitants of Castilblanco de los Arroyos. A sacred corner that has survived the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, the confiscations of the 19th century and the Civil War, whose sky is a tourist attraction that should not be missed.

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