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Santa Maria de La Victoria Church
Tel. (+34) 952-252-647
Open Hours: 8:30 am-1 pm & 6pm-8pm, Monday to Sunday
One can take the No. 1 bus from the Alameda Principal to see this church.
When King Ferdinand was laying siege to Malaga in 1487 against the Moors, he set up camp where the present church is. He put up a small chapel to keep the image of the Virgin with Child sent to him by the Emperor Maximilian of Austria. When King Ferdinand won the war, he attributed this to the Virgin. The monks of San Francisco de Paula, called Los Minimos, then built a small hermitage on this site. In 1691 the Conde de Buenavista had the small hermitage replaced with the big church one finds there, and this was completed in 1700. It now houses the image of the patron saint of Malaga, the Santa Maria de la Victoria (St. Mary of the Victory). This statue was given to the city by the Catholic Kings after their victory. During Holy Week, there is a lot of activity in this church and is where some processions start from or end there.
The church is one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Andalusia. It is one of the first churches with a camarin-torre. A camarin is a place behind an altar where the images are dressed and the ornaments kept. A torre is a tower. This tower is filled with plaster decoration painted with gold accents to give an almost rococo effect. One can see the back of the statue of the Virgin here and down into the church.
At the basement of the tower in the little museum is the Pantheon of the Counts of Buenavista. This pantheon is one of the most unique in Spain because it is decorated with white plaster in the form of skeletons over a black background. The skeletons are there to represent death and to make one think about it and prepare for it, which was one of the frequent themes of the Counter Reformation. The museum also has an overcoat for the Virgin donated by the Malagueña Anita Delgado when she was the Maharani of Kapurtala. This overcoat has many jewels attached to it.
The church has the form of a Latin Cross with two chapels. It is topped with a beautiful cupola. The main chapel has a retable that came from the primitive church. This retable was carved by Luis Ortiz de Vargas in 1620 and polychromed by Luis de Zayas in 1661. Behind and above the main altar can be seen the beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary that is very much venerated by the Malagueños. The altar on the left side of the main altar has a very famous statue of the Virgin Mary, which is called the Dolorosa, and this was done by the famous sculptor Pedro de Mena.
Recently the Pope named this church as a minor basilica, which gives the church more prestige now.
To enter the museum and tower, one has to pay a small entrance fee of 2 euros, but it is worth it. The museum is open between Tuesday and Saturday, between 10 am and 1 pm.
This is a photo showing the exterior of the Baroque church.
This ceramic panel is near the entrance to the church and shows San Francisco de Paula praying to the Virgin.
Another ceramic panel shows the Catholic Kings praying to the Virgin. This is a copy from a painting done by the famous artist from Malaga, Eugenio Chicano.
This is the main altar. One can see the image of the Virgin behind, in what they call the camarin, the dressing room. The panels on the main altar are scenes from the life of San Francisco de Paula. Paula is located in Naples.
This image of the Virgin was created by Pedro de Mena. It is called La Dolorosa and was created inthe 17th century. Pedro de Mena lived between 1628 and 1688 and was the leading sculptor of Spain at that time.
Another chapel has this beautiful image of the Virgin and Child.
The crypt is one of its kind in the world and is the crypt of the Condes de Buenavista, who funded the present church after the old church almost fell apart.
The crypt shows images of skeletons to remind people that they are mortal and that everyone will die in the end.
Another view of the crypt. There are 40 tombs in the crypt and all of them are filled.
The church is decorated with elaborate plasterwork.
This ceiling in one of the corridors shows the elaborate plasterwork.
This plasterwork is found on the landing of the staircase.
This is the image of Our Lady of Victory in her camarin. A camarin is a place behind an altar where the images are dressed and the ornaments kept.
The ceiling of the camarin has Rococo decoration. The camarin is actually located in a tower.
The walls of the chamber are elaborately decorated with plasterwork.
One of the walls of the camarin.
An image of one of the angels.
This is the base of the pedestal where the Virgin is displayed.
In the church museum, one of the treasures is this chest that belonged to Queen Isabela, La Catolica.
This cape for the Virgin was a gift from Anita Delgado when she was the Maharani of Kapurtula. It was created by Christian Dior.
This photo shows Anita Delgado with the cape she donated to the Virgin.
One of the very big and elaborate silver candlesticks in the museum.
An image of the Christ Child.
This is a standard that is carried during the Holy Week processions.
This is a cape donated to the Virgin by the Catholic Kings.