The Plaza Mayor

Alberto de Churriguera and Andrés Garcia de Quiñones

The northern facade with the City Hall

One of the largest public squares in Spain, this plaza is the focus of city life--a meeting place and market area. Bull fighting even occurred in the plaza until the mid 1800s. It is surrounded by colonnaded loggias but each facade has a different number of arches.

The City Hall

This town hall has two stories of balconies, violating the unity of the rest of the facades, with four stories or three upper registers. Windows are separate aedicules, crowned with pediments. The belfrey was added in the 19th century--with three bells and a clock.

Balconies crowned with pediments and with fanciful, Mannerist details


Uneven sides

The northern side with the City Hall has 21 arches, the south 20 arches; the east has 22 arches while the west has 25 arches. The spandrels of the arches are decorated with medallions illustrating famous men (and even women--St Teresa!) and distinguished figures in Spain's history--like kings from Alfonso IX to Carlos III, discoverers and conquerors, and Spanish intellectuals. These reliefs were executed by the sculptor Manuel de Larra Churriguera.

The Royal Pavilion

The eastern facade, with a large semicircular arch, opens onto the Calle de Toro. Royal officials watched events on the plaza from the central balcony. Above the balcony a medallion depicts Philip V.

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© 2005 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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