Royal Sanctuary of Christ

Artesonado del Real Santuario del Cristo

The old convent complex has as its most outstanding element the Sanctuary of Christ, the residence of the Franciscan friars, the headquarters of the Slavery and the rooms of the Artillery Barracks. It has its origin in the Franciscan convent of San Miguel de Las Victorias, founded by the Adelantado after the Conquest. Its construction began in 1506, and seems to have been completed in 1560, but there is little information about the evolution of its construction. Both the church and the convent were subject to reforms and alterations, some of which were due to major natural disasters such as the floods of 1713 or the fire of 1810.

Access to the building is through a masonry portico in which there are three semicircular arches facing the Plaza del Cristo. Behind the doorway there is a space, in the form of a square, of modest dimensions, delimited to the north by the attached buildings of La Esclavitud and the Franciscan residence. These are buildings of little architectural interest, in which the wooden balcony located on the façade facing the Plaza del Cristo (with simple decoration and a parapet of bearings and lattices), possibly installed after the fire of 1810, should be highlighted, while on its southern façade, hollows with wooden carpentry and parapets of bearings or lattices are aligned symmetrically.

The Sanctuary was built after the aforementioned fire under the schemes typical of traditional Canarian architecture, despite the stylistic preferences of the time. The main façade consists of two well-differentiated elements: on the one hand, the stone cloth that supports the belfry, structured in two bodies separated by a narrow cornice. It has three semicircular arches that hold the bells and shows a baroque decoration of volutes and ornamental vases. The second element corresponds to the masonry canvas in which the doorway opens, delimited by a semicircular arch in red stone on pilasters, with a thin moulding that runs under the eaves.

It has a rectangular floor plan, with a small annexed compartment that serves as a vestibule. Its only nave is distributed in three sections by the toral arch that precedes the presbytery, and by the semicircular arch that supports the tribune of the organ. The height of the nave and the austerity that characterizes the coffered ceiling are examples of the neoclassical influences, within a general pattern of baroque style. On its walls there are four stone niches with classicist decoration, while the front is occupied by the splendid high altarpiece covered with embossed silver that houses the image of Christ. On its front, where the arms of the Marquis of Villanueva del Prado are displayed, the tabernacle rests in the form of a small temple, flanked by classical columns. A large niche rises above this body, the base of which appears to be decorated with wooden reliefs covered with gold leaf, outlined by an original reticulated structure of candelabras that culminates in the carving of Saint Michael.

On 10th February 2003, the file for the declaration of a Property of Cultural Interest was opened, with the category of Monument, to the Royal Sanctuary of the Santísimo Cristo de La Laguna, as well as to its related movable property and protected environment.  In a special way, the image of the Santísimo Cristo de La Laguna has also been initiated as a Property of Cultural Interest, with the category of Movable Property, on June 5, 2001.

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