Hermitage of San Diego

Vista general de la ermita
General View

Founded from the will of Juan de Ayala Dávila y Zúñiga in 1615, who left all his possessions so that a convent of barefoot Recollects of the Franciscan order could be erected. This testamentary disposition was litigated for years by the relatives of Ayala, and by the Dominicans of Candelaria, until a papal bull of 1677 determined the ownership of the aforementioned Franciscans. In the meantime, a convent complex was built, of which this chapel was a part, and whose initial construction dates back to 1648 (as recorded on a historical memorial tablet).

In 1821 the convents were suppressed, the enclosure was deteriorated and it was auctioned. In 1839, the convent, land and church passed into private hands.

The chapel has a single nave, which is about 21 m. long and 9 m. wide, with an antique ceramic tile floor and a coffered ceiling of Arabic tiles on four sides. On the outside, it has a single nave attached to the Gospel side of the old convent, as is usual in island buildings. The main façade is of very simple composition with stone corners on both sides and finished off on the Gospel wall with a stone belfry with three openings (the belfry is two storeys high; with two openings on the lower part and a smaller one on the upper part), with bells on the lower openings. It also has a linteled window framed in stone (with stone similar to the corner stone and belfry) in the area corresponding to the choir. A semicircular arch made of stone frames the main entrance door to the church. On the sides of the main door there are two stone benches in the form of poyos.

The side facade, corresponding to the side of the Epistle, has two windows with a semicircular arch of gray stone. There is also a grey stone semicircular arch, which served as a side entrance to the chapel and which may correspond to one of the doors mentioned in the documentation from the end of the 17th century.

Inside, there is a high choir that occupies the entire width of the nave, whose access begins with a steeply inclined staircase. The ascent to the choir is protected by a railing, also made of wood, with simple turned balusters as an ornamental motif.

A poyo runs along the side of the Epistle to the area of the presbytery. Its factory dates back to the second half of the 19th century. The seat is made of clay slabs, similar to that of the pavement. It is a very characteristic element in Canarian chapels, both inside and outside them.

On 24th March 2003, a file was opened to declare the San Diego Hermitage a Site of Cultural Interest, with the category of monument.

Fachada Ermita y Convento
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