The parish church of San Mateo. © Thyzzar-Lucena City Council
The ancient synagogue and subsequent city mosque stood on the site of the church of San Mateo up to 1240,
when it was adapted to the new form of worship after the Christian conquest. Two hundred
and fifty years later we find documentary evidence of the reuse of the materials used
to build the old temple, including possible remains of the synagogue to construct
the parish church of Santiago, which clearly evokes the shapes of the basilical synagogues of Toledo and Segovia.
Considered to be the Subbaetic Cathedral, the current church of San Mateo reflects the style of Mudejar-Gothic and Renaissance artistic canons. Work commenced
in 1498 on the sanctuary, together with the doorways of the sacristy and the exterior
of Nuestra Señora de la Umbría. The doorway of San Miguel, built in 1544, is typical
of the transitional Gothic-Renaissance period. The remainder of the building is renaissance,
three aisles with large pillars holding up Mudejar inspired arches, in addition to a main doorway of a clearly classic influence. The
highlight of the interior of the church is the grand altarpiece, designed by Jerónimo Hernández and Juan Bautista Vázquez el Viejo.
The interior of the temple of San Mateo contains the magnificent Capilla del Sagrario, a chapel built between 1740 and 1772 based on the plans of local architect Leonardo
Antonio de Castro and regarded as one of the treasures of the baroque era in Cordoba
and Andalusia. It features a splendid doorway designed by the renowned mnaster Juan
del Pino Ascanio.
The chapel is octagon shaped and four robust buttresses rise into the elevation serving
as pillars to support four pechinas. Masters Jerónimo and Acisclo Ramírez de Quero
were in charge of the works, whilst the ornate decorative plan for the project, rich
in Eucharistic symbols, figures of the church, saints associated with devotion to
the Holy Sacrament, ornamental features of a vegetal or geometric nature, mirrors,
was assigned to local sculptor Pedro de Mena y Gutiérrez, who was also responsible
for carving the grand tabernacle located in the middle of the chapel.