Easter Week in Posadas (Cordova, Spain)

It’s an intense week here in Spain being Easter week. Unfortunately the numerous processions which take place every day in almost every city, town and village have been cancelled for the second year running due to Covid. However, there is a lot that the church has organised that you can take part in, in a controlled, safe way, complying with all the regulations — meditations, contemplation, talks, prayers, retreats, expositions, just to name a few.

So for now I would just like to share with you some photos of the statues and floats that are usually paraded along the streets; these are typically accompanied by the brass band and rows of hooded penitents that quietly shuffle along. To see more photos and read about the processions you can visit my previous blog which I wrote last Easter Sunday.

The above statues are housed in the 18th century chapel, La Ermita del Niño Jesús in my local village of Posadas. The chapel has an interesting past which I mentioned in the last illustrated paras of one of my previous blogs.

This huge poster hangs from the façade of the parish church, Santa María de las Flores in Posadas. It reads:

Padre en tus manos enconmiendo mi espiritú…Yo soy la resurrección, la vida: el que cree en mi aunque haya muerto, vivirá… El que quiera siguirme, que se niegue a sí mismo, tome su cruz y me siga…

which translates as:

‘Father into your hands I commend my spirit… I am the resurrection and the life: he who believes in me although having died, will live again… Whoever wants to follow me, let him renounce himself, carry his cross and follow me…’

The above photo is a representation of the Last Supper table. This is inside the parish church, Santa María de Las Flores in Posadas.

The above is housed in the chapel, La Capilla de la Vera Cruz which is close to the Ermita mentioned previously

The following impressive statue of Mary, La Virgen de la Misericordia is in San Pedro church of Cordova.

I understand that all this might not be your cup of tea, but one just can’t help but appreciate the amount of artistic work and total devotion and dedication that these processions involve — take, for example, Mary’s cloak which is richly hand-embroidered — and that’s nothing to say about the woodwork, flower arrangements and craftsmanship in precious metals. Nor does it involve just this outward expression: it is accompanied by a quiet strength of faith, prayer, reflection and interiorism. It is a week of living and breathing the Word — a poignant and emotive time which culminates and comes to fruition on Easter Sunday.

Well, this just leaves me to early wish you all a Happy Easter and to wish you well.

Bye for now! xxx

The Arquito holy arch of Posadas village (Cordova)… and gold leaf in painted glass

Today is the 13th and this reminds me of the legend of the mystical arch — el Arquito — that we have here in our local village of Posadas. This Little Arch, dating back to the Gothic 13th century was also known as Puerta del Levante, The Eastern Gate of the castle that once stood on this land. It is located in the Morería neighbourhood of Posadas village, which dates back to 500 AD, and was an area formerly occupied by the Jews and Moors. In 2006 it was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC), also forming the stage set of many films such as Guerreras Verdes (Green Warriors) starring Carmen Sevilla and Sancho Gracia.

El Arquito — the medieval arch which once formed the Eastern Gate of a former castle

Below this medieval archway lie the remains of an old door of the former medieval castle, the last towers of which fell in 1791. There was also a window with a turntable where, in more recent years, abandoned children destined for the Charity Hospital were placed. They were either adopted or left to suffer a worse fate…

You can see the little window with a grille where there was once a turntable on which abandoned babies would be placed

Above The Arch there is a balcony with a railing behind which is a little shrine presided over by the Virgen de los Remedios(The Virgen of Remedies).

The Virgen de los Remedios shrine

The statue dates back to the 16th century, and the shrine adjoins an old former chapel also of the same antiquity, La Capilla de la Caridad (Charity Chapel). This now houses the beautifully-kept, whitewashed, rustic, wooden-beamed tourist office. (I wonder if I’ve got my adjectives in the right order?…)

The building with the old wooden door was once the Charity Chapel, La Capilla de la Caridad, and is now the tourist office. You can see the green ribbons hanging from the shrine above

Certain mystical qualities are attributed to this Arquito and many fervent prayers are offered to The Virgin Mary by devotees asking for cures and protection from bad luck.

The special day to make such supplications is any Tuesday that coincides with the 13th, on which day the devotee will pass under the archway three times, each time reciting the Hail Mary before making their petition. If their prayer is answered, then they hang a green ribbon from the balcony railings in acknowledgement and gratitude. (Sure enough there are numerous little strips of green material fluttering from the balcony!) Flowers are also deposited before her on her saint’s day, and on each second Sunday of October she is paid a visit.

There still exists the saying in Posadas: ‘Ese es más viejo que el Arquito’, which means ‘Him — he is older than the Arch’.

For a more detailed and very interesting account of the Arquito and its intriguing history based on authentic documents from the early 19th century (as well as more on the history of Posadas village) see the blog of Gabriel Martín entitled The Abandoned Infants of the Foundling Home of Posadas in the 19th Century. (Good practise for your Spanish but I think you can use Google translate. The black and white photos do summarise its sad story.)

There are other mystical legends pertaining to the neighbouring villages of which I have already written about in previous blogs: Hornachuelos (the enchanted convent of Santa Maria de los Ángeles) and Almodovar del Río (the haunted medieval castle). However, suffice to say that these villages (as well as Cordova town) have their share of intrigue and certainly a lot to offer, be it in the way of nature, sport, culture, history and tales. The people a very interesting mix of Latin-Iberian with strong Arabic roots (seen also in their cuisine) are warm, friendly, welcoming, laid-back, though at the same time hard-working.

However, to finish on a similar spiritual note, I just wanted to share with you the effects of gold leaf behind glass painting, such as a religious-themed one I did yonks ago and am thinking of repeating (this technique — that is, if my glass paints haven’t all dried out over the long, hot 45°C summers!).

I stuck the gold leaf with mixtion behind the glass once I had finished the painting (using glass paints applied via a pipette, and lead contour paste). I then sealed the gold leaf with a couple of coats of shellac varnish. The gold leaf has the beautiful effect of illuminating the jewel-coloured paints when the light or sun falls on it and is reminiscent of the golden letters in the Illuminated Manuscripts which were produced in monasteries between 500 AD and 1600 AD, and the highly-decorated Book of Hours — a devotional book ‘crucial to the development of Gothic illumination, produced in the 13th century. Really worth a peruse and serving as an inspiration for colours, gold and intricacy!

Happy painting! Take care xxx