Here is one of our favourite places in Malaga, the Victory Church-Sanctuary and Convent. A place, more than five centuries old, with lots of hidden stories. But not only this. The complex is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Andalusia. It is a shame that not even too many citizens from Malaga know about it or have ever visited it, that is why we think is still one of the best secret places in Malaga. Indeed, it has a lot to do with the traditions that people from Malaga are still keeping, like the “Feria de Malaga” in middle-august, as we will discover.
The building is, in terms of its historical, artistic and architectural merits, second only to the cathedral. It original foundation dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, when the Pauline monks were given these lands to build their sanctuary by the Catholic Monarchs. We can still see part of this original building at the well-proportioned cloister, turned now into a private hospital.
The church suffered a devastating earthquake in 1680 (9 in a scale of 10). We can still see some of the decoration from the old church, like cherub lamps, but the rest of the church was completely rebuilt by the year 1701. Money has been always an issue, and here the costs for rebuilding the church wasn´t affordable. And this is when a rich family from Antequera got involved in this big venture. Not that they did it for free, of course. In exchange for defraying the costs of a new church, they were given a county as a noble title by the king Carlos III.
But not only they achieved this. They had the privilege to build themselves a majestic tomb right behind the altar, creating a new building for that purpose, in which you can literally ascend from hell to heaven. This is a vertical volume that includes the crypt of the church’s patrons. This is a dark space richly decorated with motifs related to death.
On top of the crypt we have the sacristy, which we could say it would be the purgatory. And at the top of all we have heaven, another stunning place to admire. A unique late-baroque space, closer to Rococo, which is the virgin’s chapel itself. The space is magnificent, with an explosion of forms and symbols. Here there is no empty gap at the walls, crowded with small figures, cherubs, flowers, lamps, etc. And in the middle of it all, the Lady of Victoria.
This very same statue was the one that the Catholic Monarchs gave to the city of Malaga to commemorate the conquest of the town to the Muslims. It is in Flemish style, although they have added lately the baby and the back of the Virgin. In fact, she is the city’s saint patron. And they still celebrate in Malaga that conquest, which happened on the 19th August 1487, but now they remember with the joyful Feria de Malaga.
All of this makes this space to be so special, it blends perfectly history with art. I can totally imagine Dan Brown setting here one of his famous novels about Robert Langdon like “Da Vinci’s Code” or “Angel and Demons”.
If you want to know more about the Victory complex, contact us. We can inform you about opening times and arrange a visit that surely will leave a good impression on you.