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History of Hospital Cardenal Salazar (Salazar Hospital)

Hospital Cardenal Salazar (Salazar Hospital) - Plaza del Cardenal Salazar 14001 - Córdoba

The Hospital was founded by the Cardinal “Pedro de Salazar” at the beginning of the 18th century, and continued having the same use until the middle of 1970, when it was used to house the University Faculties of Law and Philosophy - Literature; Years later, only the second Faculty used the building. In 1701 the Cardinal “Pedro de Salazar”, bought the land where previously there were ancestral mansions of “Antonio Carlos del Corral”, located opposite the convent of “San Pedro Alcantara”, with the idea of building a school for the children that sang in the choir of the Cathedral. A few years after starting the construction works, Cordoba suffered a huge epidemic of pest. The Authorities asked the prelate to change the use of the new building, converting it into a hospital. The result was one of the most interesting civil buildings of the Baroque Cordoba.

The design of this complex was done by the architect “Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo”, and the construction was carried out by the master “Juan Camacho”. The floor plan of the building is almost rectangular and it is built around two different courtyards. The exterior façades are distributed in two floors, with paired pilasters resting on top of a huge plinth; the windows are decorated at the bottom with a triangular pediment and at the top with a semicircular one.

The portal, with two bodies or elements, is done with marble and has columns standing on top of large ledges. The upper floor consists of a semicircular opening crowned with mouldings and adorned with the buckler of the Cardinal. At the center there is a balcony flanked by segments of a curved pediment. The finial cornice is decorated with a series of masks, being the one that coincides with the portal the most outstanding. Inside, the building has three main areas: the staircase and the two courtyards, which have around them all the different rooms. The main courtyard is closed, and it is a repetition of the habitual type of courtyard of the architecture of Cordoba of these years. It has two floors and the disposition is similar to that of the façade. The decoration is based on the proper architectural elements, since the windows are finished with triangular and curved pediments that rest on simple pillars.

The other courtyard is smaller, with the lower area opened with archways above columns, and the upper area is closed, with straight simple windows. The main staircase, covered with a barrel vault, is located between both courtyards and has two flights of stairs with a big landing area.

In one of the passages of the main courtyard, in both floors, is where the chapels (high and low) used to be. Today they are converted into class rooms. Both of them are covered by barrel vaults; the upper vault has a cupola at the presbytery and the lower one has a groined cross-vault. In the entrance portal to the low chapel there is a carving of “San Rafael”. At the back of the central courtyard there is another staircase, smaller in size, also with two flights of stairs.

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