Hospital and Church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores

Vista general del claustro
General View

The hospital was founded by bull of Pope Leo X, at the request of Martin Jerez and his wife in 1515, with the condition that two existing hospitals in La Laguna be added, that of Antigua and that of San Sebastian. He began construction on a site adjacent to his home, and will be the subject of extensions for a long time. In the late seventeenth century, both the hospital and its church were rebuilt and reorganized by Don Bernardo Fau, a merchant of French origin installed in La Laguna, and was prior to the institution, by choice of the neighbors, until his death.

After that he went through the management of disinterested people, until falling into decline in the nineteenth century. First the Provincial Council, and later, the Cabildo of Tenerife took over its administration. It was run by the Sisters of St. Vincent Paul for years, as a shelter for the elderly. Nowadays, after a process of rehabilitation, it has become a municipal public library.

This building is made up of two parts, the hospital itself, and the church, which has a single nave with a wooden roof. The most interesting feature on an artistic level is the façade that overlooks Calle San Agustín: delimited by paired columns on original carved plinths, based on geometric motifs – which according to experts indicate an American influence – and on the upper part, by a split pediment topped by a cross. This cover is the work of the 17th century master builder Juan González Agalé.

As for the hospital, it is a two-storey building, which can be seen from the outside through a stonework door, with simple lines, and which for years was the entrance to the municipal Casa de Socorro (House of Help). The interior follows the structure of the old Canarian convents: a square courtyard, like a cloister, surrounded by an open low gallery that supports the high gallery. This space has now been adapted for its new use as a library.

On 12 February 1985, proceedings were initiated to declare the Hospital and Church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de La Laguna a historic-artistic monument.

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