Mudejar minaret of Archez
The bell tower of the parish church.
The Mudejar style arrived in Malaga with the Late Gothic style, which prevailed in our land from the end of the 15th century and throughout the 16th, surviving even the introduction of the Reinassance models, which emerged with the construction of the cathedral.
Churches, necessary to Christianise the recently conquered land, were built under this imprint, as well as palatial homes, convents and hospitals. The names of the authors of these works are, however, unknown to us. These were Mudejar employees who did not enjoy the benefit of a contract; the use of such document would become more common a century later.
THE MUDEJAR MINARET
The Moorish minaret is the bell tower of the church of Our Lady of the Incarnation, located in the municipality of Archez, in the province of Malaga. This is the minaret of an ancient Almo had mosque from the 14th century, of which only the original square-plan tower, built in red brick, stands today.
It has a height of 15 meters and is adorned with diamondpattern plant themes and other more abstract designs. Today we can still see a ceramic strip on all four sides. The tower’s upper body is embellished with a blind arcade, in typical Arabic fashion, using horseshoe arches.
The church, attached to the minaret, was built centuries later, with a single nave and a wooden frame, like most Mudejar structure churches in the area.
The reconquest of the lands of Archez at the hands of the troops of the Catholic Monarchs was followed by the replacement of the upper section of the tower, which was turned into a belfry. The minaret was declared Historical and Artistic National Heritage Monument in 1979 and is considered one of the best examples of Almohad architecture preserved today.
AN ARCHERO’S TRIBUTE
In 2010, Manuel Garcia Zorrilla, an ‘Archero’ (a man from Archez) who lives in Huelin-a neighbourhood of Malaga, built two miniature wooden replicas of the tower portraying the monument in both its stages: before and after the Christian reconquest.
‘I know all its steps’ admits the pensioner, who decided to recreate the ancient minaret of his hometown and who, from his home on the promenade (the Paseo Maritimo of Huelin) has erected, with much patience, three replicas; each larger than the previous one and is on his way to finishing the fourth one. The end result, so far in triplicate, is an exercise of skill and loving attention to detail. Manuel has built a replica of the minaret with the Christian top and two models of the same building from the Muslim era, following other peer minarets in Tunisia and Tlemcen (Algeria). Furthermore, with the help of many photographs, he has been able to reproduce the decorative elements of the tower, which have faded over the centuries and are barely visible today. One of the most wonderful features of the three works is precisely their embossed ornamentation, which Manuel has managed to replicate in a single piece of wood thanks to his steady hand with the fretsaw.
Autor: Mª Dolores Aguilar García y La Opinión de Málaga/translation: LINGUA FUTURA
Autor: Mª Dolores Aguilar García y La Opinión de Málaga/t