Thursday, June 28, 2012

Climbing to the top of the towers

Last week the school´s extracurricular activity was to climb to the top of ´las torres de la clerecía´, the famous church located in the historic and monumental city (just twenty metres from the school). You can go and admire the city from up there and it´s definitely worth it.

The climb takes place within the exhibition "Scala Coeli", which opened a few months ago by Alfonso Fernandez Mañueco, the mayor of the city and the rector of the Pontifical University, Angel Galindo Garcia. The exhibition was open to the public for the first time on March 31st, 2012.

It was thanks to the collaboration between these two agencies that the restoration of this space was possible. It has been transformed into a museum open to the public and the climb to the top of the ´torres de la clerecía´, where you can appreciate the breathtaking views of the city.

The church is part of the ´Real Colegio del Espíritu Santo de la Compañía de Jesús´ and is situated directly in front of the Casa de las Conchas. Construction began in 1617 under the orders of Queen Margaret of Austria, wife of Philip III, and finished 150 years later, in 1755 (one year before the completion of the Plaza of the city, which is also close to the school). It was a collegial body of the cleric order of the Society of Jesus but before, this historic building was known by the name of Royal College of the Society of Jesus. The work consists of 3 different buildings today: the University and a residence for the Jesuits. Today, this monument is the headquarters of the Pontifical University. The facade of the church is distinguished by its baroque style and for its three doors framed by columns and a bell tower superimposed with two side towers designed by Andrés García de Quiñones (also responsible for the completion of the Plaza Mayor).

On the door of the main entrance is a statue of San Marcos, one of the drafters of the four Gospels and the founder of the first church of Alexandria in Egypt. Once inside, the video Lorem ipsum ad his scripta blandit allows visitors to view pictures of the building and its architects. Then you can access the galleries, from the balconies of which you can visit the Royal Clergy of San Marcos.
In the first room of the gallery, you can see representations of Margaret of Austria and Philip III and documents relating to the founding of the Royal College of the Society of Jesus. In the second room, there is information on the various stages of construction of the building and the influence of other historical events. You can also view documents on the architects, Juan Gómez de Mora and Andrés García de Quiñones. The third room is devoted to the "new birth".

Finally, the main part of this visit: going up the stairs that lead straight to the top of the towers. Going up these stairs, known as "the stairs of the bell-ringer," your attention is captured by the sound and light assemblies. Once in the towers, you can admire the bells and Salamanca. If you place yourself between the two towers, the city view from there is unique: you can see the entire city with the Cathedral in the background, the Plaza de Anaya and many other buildings of the University of Salamanca.

The visit of the Clergy is open every day from 10h00 to 20h00 (until December when the winter times come into effect: 10h00 to 18h00). The ticket prices are € 3.75 (price per individual) and 3.25 € (price per person in a group).

Françoise Amo, from France.

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