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Church of San Felix (TORRALBA DE RIBOTA)

Versión en español

Ten kilometers from Calatayud, on the left bank of the Clarés River and at the foot of the Sierra of the Virgin, is found Torralba, which, in the 15th century was called “de Aniñón,” later on, “de la Cañada,” and from 1834, “de Ribota.” It seems that the name derives from the tower of white stone that is found in the vicinity, which was built in the 14th century to defend the valley. During this same period, the construction of the parochial church of Saint Felix was begun.

PLAZA E IGLESIA

After the frontier wars between Pedro IV of Aragon and Pedro I of Castile decimated this part of the Territory of Calatayud between 1358 and 1366, construction was begun on this church to replace the earlier one, ruined by the conflict.

IGLESIA DE SAN FELIX DESDE EL HASTIAL

López Landa published a decree of Don Pedro Pérez Calvillo, Bishop of Tarazona, dated 1367, that ordered the reconstruction of the church: “The beginning of construction of Torralba de Ribota, by the decree of the bishop D. Pedro Calvillo, published in 1367…” Although the original document is now in an unknown location, the register listing the document, examined in the ‘80’s of the last century by Teresa Ainaga Andrés, only confirms that it concerned a decree in which it was mandated to build a new church; she could not deduce from the document if the work was really begun at that moment, or that it was built later, as was frequently the case. It is quite possible that the date of completion proposed by Gonzalo Borrás, which he estimates to be between 1410 and 1433, based on the coat of arms of the Bishop of Tarazona, Don Juan de Valtierra, sculpted on one of the spandrels of the elevated choir and on the exterior part of the great gable oculus, who occupied the Episcopal see during those years. Though it is unconfirmed, it is speculated that Mahoma Ramí, who worked for Pope Benedict XIII and who signed work on the nearby church of Cervera de la Cañada in 1424, also intervened here.

IGLESIA DE SAN FELIX DESDE LA CABECERA

Situated on a high point and dominating the town, this is of the fortress-church type, with a robust construction of tower-buttresses with side chapels between them, flat presbytery, and a tribune or passageway that extends above the the chapels and the apse.

4 FACHADA LATERAL 5 HASTIAL ENTRE TORRES

Among the other churches that preserve this style (Tobed, Cervera de la Cañada, Azuara, San Gil of Zaragoza), this church of Saint Felix is the one that has been preserved in the “purest state” until today, since its original structure is practically unmodified. About the only change that has been made in five centuries was the construction of a new entrance in the 18th century.

6 TORRES Y TRIBUNA 7 TRIBUNA SOBRE CAPILLAS LATERALES

The tribune is open on the exterior with pointed arches, four in each nave bay and eight above the apse, these last ones closed in a later period with a brick screen of tiers of zigzag patterns.

8 VANOS DE LA TRIBUNA DE LA CABECERA 9 TRIBUNA DE LA CABECERA

 

 
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