The Church of Santiago el Real

  • santiago el real

The Church of Santiago el Real has always been connected to the history of the city of Logroño. Legend states that the temple was founded by Ramiro I, right after the battle of Clavijo. However the present construction, in the style Reyes Católicos, was begun in 1513 and the vaulting was not completed until the middle of the 16 C. The church was built over the remains of a former temple, located on a hillock protected by the ramparts to the north. 

The temple dominated the banks of the Ebro river and, therefore, the entrances. During the 17 and 18 C it was modified until it acquired its present appearance. The tower is made up of five bodies of quadrangular section, and the bell cot consists of two semicircular hollows below triangular pediments. It was built in 1560 by the brothers Juan and Martín de Landerrain. After their deaths, it was Martín de Landerrain, Juan´s son who carried on with the project until it was completed in 1573. Over the last years, the tower has been restored to its former splendour.

The interior of the church introduced some architectural innovations such as the large dimensions of the High Altar. At one time it was one of the most daring architectural works in Spain. Of interest is also the magnificent equestrian group of the Apostle, which has become one of the most representative symbols of Logroño.

The façade was built as a triumphal arch, following the techniques imposed since the Renaissance period. The semi-circular doorway is flanked by pairs of Ionic columns of joint shafts that rest upon high pedestals. The niche on the attic houses an image of Santiago sculptured by Juan de Amezqueta. The Equestrian Santiago dominates the sorrounding houses that are protected by a shelter.

The church also contains a mayor retable, created over a former one. The Gothic sculpture of Santiago, from the 14 C and a Crucifix from the 13 C are the key pieces in the retable. In the 15 C it was covered with gold at the expense of don Manuel de Samaniego y Jaca, Archbishop of Burgos.