Triunfo de San Rafael translated means Triumph of Saint Rafael. This typical Cordovan monument typology dates to the 1600s, and is Córdoba’s greatest expression of devotion to Archangel Raphael, the city’s “guardian angel.” The structure is a Counter Reformation of Baroque art, and the opening in the base was the only place for street lighting—which may be construed as “the guiding light.” The city’s devotion to San Rafael comes from a severe plague epidemic. The monument is a Plague Tower, such as those found in Prague, Budapest, and Vienna. Even knowing that (and knowing individuals did not save people from the plague), Triunfo de San Rafael is far more than a simple monument. It is also a plaza, a gathering place for locals, and “Puerta del Puente,” a city gate.
Consider this: Is a statue of George Washington in the States just a statue, or the figure of Winston Churchill in a British war memorial, only that of a man—or of what they symbolize? Triunfo de San Rafael is a memorial to one Cordovans four centuries ago believed delivered them from the plague. For many reasons, this site holds much reverence, far more than meets the eye.
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