The church which was built with money from the playing cards factory

Publicado: 14/08/2012: 5426

The church of San Jacinto (Saint Hyacinth) in Macharaviaya was canonically erected by the archbishop of Seville, Diego de Deza, in 1505, shortly after the conquest of the Axarquia by the Catholic Monarchs, and rebuilt in the 18th century; the building works were finished in 1785. It was consecrated on June 16, 1887. Almost immediately after its erection, the dreadful state of the original church became apparent.

On March 22nd 1784, the secretary for the Indies sent a letter to the cathedral chapter ordering them to provide assistance to the sum of 6,000 reals a month, to fund the construction of the church, from January until its completion, the following year.  Owing to its considerable dimensions, the completed church resembled more a cathedral.  Miguel del Castillo was the architect of the building works and the director was presbyter Jose Ortega Monroy.

To the right side of the central crossing stands a tombstone, which reads:  ‘During the Reign of Charles III and while The Most Reverend Mr. Jose Molina was Bishop of Malaga , at the request of the illustrious sons of this town:  Mr. Matias, Mr. Jose, Mr. Miguel, Mr. Antonio and Mr. Bernardo de Galvez:  the first of them Lieutenant General of the Royal Armies and Viceroy of New Spain; the second, Perpetual Alderman of the city of Malaga, Grand Cross Knight of the Distinguished Order of Charles III, State Councillor, Governor of the Indies and Secretary of the Universal Office of this Department; the third, Perpetual Alderman of the city of Malaga, Pensionary Knight of the same Royal Order and Minister of War; the fourth, Pensionary Knight of the same Royal Order, Colonel of Infantry and Commanding General of the Bay of Cadiz; and the fifth, Count of Galvez, Knight of the Royal Order, Commander of Bolanos in the Order of Calatrava, Lieutenant General of the Royal Armies, Governor and Captain General of Cuba, Louisiana and both Floridas. It was by the order of the King that this church, its chapels, altars, vaults and family vault were built; it was funded by His Royal Factory of Playing Cards and the riches of these patrician gentlemen, under the direction of Mr Jose Ortega y Monroy, presbyter. By architect Mr. Miguel del Castillo. Year 1785.’


The church has a beautiful neoclassical portal with segmental pediment adorned with the coat of arms of Charles III, evoking the patronage of the Crown. The atrium is floored with bricks laid on edge. Erected on a Latin cross plan, it has a single nave and a dome over pendentives on the crossing, which is of great luminosity.  On both sides of the nave and crossing lie nine tombstones corresponding to private altars for each member of the Galvez family, including the mother, as well as others addressed to the Cofradia de las Animas (Brotherhood of Souls), the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary.

Autor: Francisco Aranda Otero. Translation: Lingua Futura