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Monuments in Cádiz

Medina Sidonia – Belen Arch

Monuments in Cádiz

Belen Arch – Arch of Bethlehem

The Arco de Belen (Belen Arch) is located just few meters from the impressive Church of Santa María la Mayor Coronada, right in the monumental area of Medina Sidonia.

The Belen Arch is part of the three ancient gates of the wall of the Muslim Medina, built between the X-XIII centuries.

He has undergone many reforms and subsequent works that make it difficult to recognize his Muslim oringin. Above the arch, on the inside, a niche houses a picture of the Virgin of Bethlehem.

It conserves pieces of wall to both sides, although they have lost the superior crenellation. He had a tower with a dungeon that served as a defense.

Belen Arch of Medina Sidonia Medina Sidonia

Belen Arch features

The Arch is open in the southern corner of the fence of the old walled enclosure of the city, of which a fragment of ashlar masonry canvas and gravel sandstone masonry about 30 meters long is still preserved attached to the left side of the exterior front. , possibly carved in Muslim times on Roman foundations and subsequently repaired repeatedly during the late medieval period.

The arch, which has lost its original crenellation, has a curved segmental layout with brick threads supported by sandstone ashlar masonry covered with remains of solid bricks. Above the keystone of the interior front, there is a votive niche with a trefoil pattern, perhaps belonging to the last Gothic period of the 15th century, a period in which it was possibly reconstructed. Facing Calle Arrieros, there is still an albarrana defensive tower attached to the right side of the arch itself, originally 12 meters high, lowered in 1771 to 10 meters at the initiative of the Religious of San José del Cuervo, whose neighboring hospice could cause damage. the threat of sinking. With a rectangular floor plan, this tower still retains a dungeon or low room inside, without windows, covered with a vault paired with voussoirs of ashlar masonry and adobe. Its walls, carved with stone ashlars alternated with brick verdugadas, crowned at its angles by pyramidal battlements, refer its possible construction to the Almohad period. Next to the arch, an albarrana tower and a stretch of wall are preserved. Read more…

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