The church of Santa María Magdalena looks out over the wide flow of the River Ebro as it meanders around the city of Tudela. Its Romanesque tower, of stern and austere appearance, turns orange with the sunset and its shadow across the water emphasises its elegance and fragments its solidity.
The façade features stone carvings that relate scenes from the New Testament mixed in with depictions of mythological animals, plants and everyday trades. The golden tones of the twilight are reflected in the high altar, embellished in gold and presided over by Mary Magdalene.
, the capital of the Ribera region of Navarre, amazes us with a magnificent Romanesque construction: the church of Santa María Magdalena. It rises up opposite the bridge over the Ebro
, next to the Judería Nueva quarter, and was built in the second half of the 12th century, probably on top of a Mozarabic temple.
Before entering the church, it is worth taking a closer look at its slender two-part tower
; the upper part features two simple arches while the lower has a double arch with no columns and plant-decorated capitals.
The main doorway
represents the purest Romanesque style to be found in Tudela. It consists of four archivolts decorated profusely with New Testament scenes, mythological animals and plants. The tympanum
features a magnificent Pantocrator (Christ in Majesty) with the symbols of the four Evangelists.
The whole edifice is protected by eaves supported by figurative modillions representing different trades
, among which we can distinguish a stonecutter, a musician and a reaper. The recently renovated North door
is worth singling out; it is also Romanesque and is finished off with a Chrismon, a symbol of Christ, affixed over the doors for spiritual protection.
Once inside the church
, the building consists of a single rectangular nave covered by a pointed half-barrel vault and reinforced by six transverse arches. These are held up by columns adjoining the wall which support capitals decorated with plants and chronicles. All the sculptural iconography
is directly related to that of the cathedral of Santa María
, whose cloister was being built at the same time.
It is well worth taking a closer look at the high altar
, of Plateresque appearance (16th century). It is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, whose image is represented in the central section. Its vivid colours, intensified by the gold embellishment, are quite astonishing.
In the 16th century, the mediaeval church underwent some renovations. During those years, the side chapels of Santa Ana were built -where you can see a 15th-century carving in Spanish-Flemish style and one of Nuestra Señora de Esclavitud- which transformed the layout of the church. During the Baroque period the chapels of Las Ánimas and Santo Cristo were built.
Take advantage of a visit to the church of the Magdalene to discover the Judería Nueva neighbourhood and enjoy the network of winding little streets that run of Calle San Miguel. Another option is to go up the hill of Santa Bárbara where you will find the monument to the Sacred Heart and the remains of a mediaeval Christian castle. This magnificent belvedere
offers some of the best views of Tudela.
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