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The Church of San Miguel

At the very heart of the village of Cuzcurrita and forming part of the Plaza Mayor, is the Church of San Miguel Arcángel, declared a National Monument in 1978. It is a Baroque work from the 18th century that was built between 1753 and 1766 with sandstone ashlars extracted from the nearby quarries.

We are, without a doubt, facing the most unique and spectacular 18th-century building of Rioja architectural heritage. To find a curved facade is completely innovative in this century, which undoubtedly has its inspiration in from the most brilliant architect of the 17th century, Francesco Borromini and his doorway of the church of “San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane” in Rome.

The movement and sinuosity of the stone is very difficult to achieve, but thanks to the mastery of the stonemasons led by José de Ituño, today we can continue to admire a set of three curved planes, the concave sides and the convex central, framed by four columns supporting a curvilinear gable made up of scrolled mouldings. These concave and convex surfaces manage to convey the sensation of movement typical of Baroque aesthetics that lasted in Spain throughout the 18th century.

The three-section tower that crowns the church is, however, in a Baroque style more typical of the region. In fact, the similarities with the towers of the Co-Cathedral of Santa María La Redonda in Logroño, with the church of Santa María de Briones, the church of Santo Tomás de Haro or with the cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada are clear.

Inside the church, the layout is longitudinal, with a chancel, a transept, three naves and a high choir. The chapels which are connected to each other are located between the buttresses. The two sacristies attached to the chancel finish the interior of the church. One of the sacristies is from the 17thThe interior altarpieces were made by Miguel Antonio de Jáuregui at the end of the 18th century. It is interesting to see a lantern located behind the main altarpiece, allowing the light to enter from outside, creating a silhouette from this backlighting of Saint San Miguel, which is located at the top of the altarpiece. An optical effect of play of light was created, typical of the theatrical nature of the Baroque liturgy. Unfortunately, in 1974 a great fire broke out in the church and it destroyed the high choir, the stalls, the organ, the presbytery, the main altarpiece, part of the pulpit and the 14th century Gothic image of Nuestra Señora de Tironcillo.

Thankfully the piece of art of the Last Supper, a Spanish-Flemish work from the late 15th century, was saved, thanks to the help provided by the residents of the village. A true jewel that presides over the main altar.

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