San Ginés de Arlés


To enhance your reading you can listen to this piece of barroc music. A cover of  "marche por la ceremonie des turcs" by the composer J.B. Lully.

Historical context

The iglesia de san Ginés de Arlés started its construction in 1642 when the archbishop of toledo, Bernardo de Cluny, ordered building it, the construction wasn’t over until 1672, in that time it was used as a mosque but after some changes it turned into a church.

  • The enormous military effort that for the Monarchy supposed the continuous European wars. A Gallic army entered Catalonia and defeated the Castilian troops in Montjüic. Roussillon and Lleida were conquered in 1642. The support of France and England, eager to weaken Spain, led to finally, Mariana de Austria (mother-regent of Carlos II) ended up recognizing the independence of Portugal. There were also separatist dying uprisings in Andalusia, Aragon and Naples. In spite of being crushed all the movements, except the Portuguese, Felipe IV maintained the fueros of the diverse kingdoms.


This church was built by four different architects, Juan de Villanueva, Jose Maria Aguilar, Juan Ruiz and Jose Luis Marin, the actual facade was made of bricks and stone in 1870, originally was neo-plateresque, but after being destroyed in the civil war, the original decorative elements were eliminated because of the restoration. The second floor windows were replaced by a third building, in the buildings centre it's located a niche. The columns and arches were also modified and turned completely different. The structure. The structure nowadays is because of the improvement made in 1645. This church has suffered 3 different fires in 1724, 1756 and 1824 and because of that there has been several formations, like the one in 1903 in which the roofs and walls were improved. While the civil war the church was closed, even though it was used as a military barrack several times, due to this, the church was a good location to attack, which led to repair it in 1940.

Geological aspects

In this church we could identify just in the outside part 4 basic elements in construction of the barroc,  keep reading and learn more about these materials.


It's formed by the magma located inside the surface, when it goes out it solidificates and granite is formed. It's formed by different crystals that give it the holes it has. It's the most common magmatic rock in the world. It's made by different  rocks like the quartz, feldspar and mica. The rock which was extracted from the quarrie of Talavera de la Reina. It is used because it's a very resistant rock and it looks good. The color of the granite changes because the humidity of the ground.


Some limestones were formed by a chemical decomposition, but some others were made by means of shells and sea creatures. Limestone's formation is developed in areas with no sand or mud.

This rock is usually white or grey, but sometimes its color can also vary from grey to brown and its texture can change from a really dense material to a really smooth one. When this rock has been through some alterations it receives a yellowish tone and its recoverings become softer. it may have a tact similar to clay.
This rock was mostly obtained in Guadalix, even though they were also obtained in Torrelaguna.



It contains the same elements as the cement but including sand. It is a material normally used in masonry and carpentry. It has many types, for example the “N” mix that is recommended using on exterior and has normal strength of compression, the “O” mix that is recommended mainly on interior and has a low strength of compression, the “S” mix is adequate for many projects and has high strength compression, the “M” mix that is recommended for heavy loads because it has a very high strength of compression, finally the “K” mix that is not usually used in new construction because it has very low strength of compression. It is used to join bricks and stones to construct or to cover walls.


Bricks of clay

The brick is a piece of ground kneaded and baked  used to make buildings, bricks were one of the oldest known buildings materials, they were discovered in Southern Turkey. Bricks were used because they help to regulate and keep constant the interior temperature and also has the ability to absorb and slowly release heat. The interior walls were also made up of bricks because it helps to accommodate their buildings temperature, to store heat and cool air, and also houses that were enterly made of brick cost less,  because they need less energy for heating. Some characteristics of the brick are: Bricks have to be uniform in color, size and shape. They should be sound and compact ,the temperature of the bricks has to be so low that it has to keep the buildings cool in summer and warm in winter ,was discovered in different archeological sites of Mesopotamia. Clay bricks' were made up of water, ground, straw or resistant vegetable fiber and the molds, in general wood. 

Interesting facts

Some time ago some soldiers found a crocodile and when they killed it they putted it inside the church as a holy object.

The creator of the "corte inglés" was buried there.

Long time ago an old man who visited this church daily to pray was murdered there in a very violent way, people say that the ghost of this old man is still in this church.

Lope de Vega was married for the first time in this church, and Francisco de Quevedo was baptized also there.