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Convento de la Piedad Convent of La Piedad. 16th century

The street that used to be called calle Santa Clara, today Teniente Figueroa, is home to the Church of La Piedad and the adjoining palace of Antonio de Mendoza, which has been restored and is now the Caracense Lyceum, a secondary school.The palace was designed by Lorenzo Vázquez and was built around 1510. Later, Brianda de Mendoza established a Franciscan community in the building dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Piedad. Building of the church began in 1525, under the direction of Alonso de Covarrubias.

The church, palace and subsequent extensions form three sides of a garden that opens onto the street. On the left hand side, the doorways of the two buildings form an enclave of great architectural interest. The palace doorway, conceived as a triumphal arch, features military motifs. It was crowned by a frontispiece with the coat of arms of Antonio de Mendoza, replaced in 1912 by the present-day balcony. To the left, the plateresque church doorway, crowned by the Pietá scene, showcases Covarrubias’ masterful craftsmanship.

Inappropriate modifications mean that it is barely possible to discern the original appearance of the inside of the church. However, in the interior of the palace, the courtyard remains one of the best examples of early Renaissance architecture in Castille. The deliberate quest for proportion and balance as well as the structural and artistic use of the footings characterize the building. The capitals of the lower floor introduce a style which would be later adopted for other buildings, and known as the Alcarreño capital. A walk through the cloister reveals other features worthy of note: the staircase with its coffered ceiling, and the imposing imperial shield, brought here in the 20th century from the now demolished Gate of El Mercado, wich no longer exits, in plaza de Santo Domingo.

Between 1902 and 1906, Velázquez Bosco directed the restoration work on the convent and on the church of La Piedad, rebuilding the west wing and south façade. He also altered the north façade of the former palace, though with less successful results, creating the openings that can be seen today and allowing the demolition of the apse, which is now truncated, so as to enable Teniente Figueroa street to be aligned.

This same street, a little further down on the left, leads to the Post Office built in 1817 by the Sainz de los Terreros brothers. The style is eclectic with regional, mudejar and renaissance elements in which the use of brick is fundamental. Over the entrance for vehicles, to one side of the main façade, there is a fine example of the city coat of arms.

Information brochure in pdf.

Accesibility

  • Approach route with difficulties.
  • Both the access to the convent and the inside tour present difficulties.

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