#BeyondTheWall: hospitals


Beyond the wall, that is, of the limits that there is no transfer of tourism and that even the Sevillian ignores or simply believes that there is something of value, as it happens to the inhabitants of Poniente with the Snarks and the Grumpkins ... It turns out that yes, it has invaluable jewels, very unknown and, unfortunately, some in a state of abandonment quite scandalous. Today we pay attention to the essential hospitals in the history of Seville, north of the Wall.

The hospital of San Lazaro is the oldest, and probably the most unknown in the city, although it is a unique example of a hospital institution that has been functioning as such and uninterrupted since 1248, the year of its foundation, approaching the eighth centenary of his existence. Fernando III and Alfonso X promote the foundation in this place of a space for the healing of lepers and other infectious patients. The construction of several temporary houses is undertaken for this purpose and then of a building in Mudejar style that reutilizes a defensive tower of Islamic invoice, called of the Gausines, a rectangular structure very altered over the centuries, located in the access zone , whose façade dates from the 16th century and is Mannerist work by Hernán Ruiz.

Around a central courtyard of Mudejar style, built in brick, the building is distributed, which due to the constant use for so many centuries has undergone many renovations, but it is still a magnificent example of the Renaissance in Seville.


The place is located about two kilometers from the walled enclosure and was a space occupied by pleasant orchards, far enough to be a lazaretto, but well connected to the city by the road of Roman origin and near the river, because it was believed that the humidity favored these patients, who, on the other hand, had to tell their presence to the rest of the population by clicking on some tablets they carried with them.

  • Some curious and interesting facts:

There was also a pilgrimage to the Church of San Lazaro, patron saint not only of the lepers but also of beggars and undertakers.

In the sixteenth century the brotherhood of Humility and Patience was founded, which was then merged with that of the Supper.

In the seventeenth century played an important role, serving the plague, especially during the terrible epidemic of 1649, which left the institution drowned in debt, and, curiously, litigation with the House of Alba for the benefits of some tuna traps.

The Hospital belongs to the Junta de Andalucía since the Provincial Delegation ceded the property, but no administration is responsible for the maintenance and recovery of this cultural and heritage property. The Church is in very poor conditions of preservation, closed for the past 17 years, we have not even been able to find pictures of its current state. Of its rich heritage it seems that only the altarpiece remains, there is no news of where they are and what has been of the rest of the works, among them, paintings by Villegas Marmolejo. The baptismal font of glazed ceramics from the 14th century can be admired on the ground floor of the Museum of Fine Arts, and it gives us an idea of ​​the richness that housed this Gothic Church, which we fear has been almost entirely dispossessed. This temple is currently used as a warehouse.

A completely different case is the Hospital of the Five Wounds, now the seat of the Andalusian Parliament.

Catalina de Ribera, together with her son Fadrique, from one of the most noble and important families in the city, founded a hospital in 1500 to care for poor women. That hospital, located on Santiago Street, will be too small for them soon, so in 1540 they begin to build this hospital, in which Fadrique, whose mother died, will spend a fortune. At that time it was the largest building in Spain and for 200 years it will be the largest hospital in Europe: it had 3000 beds, very modern hygienic conditions (such as sewage and constant supply of clean water by an aqueduct) and functioned as a hospital until 1972, during more than 400 years.

The teacher Hernán Ruiz finished it. Of an exquisite refinement, its rationality and restraint served as an exponent of a new architecture, in contrast to the motley and chaotic medieval city of intramurals that was the Seville of its time; and represents one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Andalusia. The Italian influence is evident in its symmetry and insurmountable classicism. The cover is Mannerist of principles of the 17th century, and it shows the shield of the house Ribera and the Five wounds of Christ. It has in its interior, in one of the patios, and built free a Church, of greater height that the rest of the building, also Renaissance of which the altarpiece is conserved, and that is the plenary hall of the parliament.

The hospital passed its worst period during the great bubonic plague of 1649, in which half of the city's population died (60,000 dead) and which would result in famine and a serious economic crisis from which the city would take centuries to recover. During this plague the hospital administrator, the secretary, the barber and many of the priests died, since they administered the extreme anointing to the sick and all the health personnel except one ...

We have both written and pictorial descriptions of that plague in this place. Despite the three thousand squares that the hospital had, they could not attend to all the patients, who crowded in this esplanade waiting for a bed and medical care. They were so overwhelmed that, in the esplanade, now landscaped, that extends before the façade, they buried on the march those who died, in a large common grave. Imagine the horror, the stench, and the terrible scene, some dying, others crying, that screaming confession of their sins. Someone had to see how they dragged the bodies to throw them into the pit, lowered his bed to the ram, and lay down on it to wait for death. In this hospital, more than 26,000 people were treated, most of whom died.

Its state of conservation is optimal in this case, being as it is, workplace of our politicians, but except the facade, the building is a great unknown to most of Seville's inhabitants.

And this is our first contribution to the challenge #BeyondTheWall, orchestrated by Really Discover and in which so many companies dedicated to cultural tourism are participating. Very interesting post Really Discover, Sevilla'Ndò, Culture of Seville and Building Seville. We hope that more companies can join until the end of the week.


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