San Roque Church

Located in the old part of our city, in the neighborhood it gives its name, and on the southern slope of Benacantil.

Chronology: Centuries: XVI-XVIII-XIX.

Edificada en 1549

The hermitage of San Roque is a small building, with a basilica plan with the longitudinal axis oriented in a West-East direction. It was built in 1549 when a voracious outbreak of plague, due to clothes that were unloaded from a ship, ravaged the city. Afflicted, the people of Alicante acclaimed San Roque, co-patron of Alicante, erecting this hermitage at the foot of the Ereta.

At first its appearance was very similar to the hermitage of Santa Cruz, so it can be verified through the engravings and photographs of the time. The primitive hermitage dating from 1559 would have a central nave plan with three side chapels on each side, without externally showing the buttresses, with semicircular arches and a door under the bell tower facing the east-facing apse.

According to Viravens, in 1869, threatening ruin of its vault, the City Council ordered its demolition, leaving six stone arches standing. The project was entrusted to the architect Guardiola Picó who raised the new building. Guardiola Picó kept the previous floor and partially disassembled the transverse arches, raised them and provided them with a lowered arch section, as well as the existing false vaults that hide the lower face of the roof.

The side chapels are covered by small barrel vaults, showing false buttresses on the outside. Guardiola Picó thus intended to provide the building with a neo-medieval language.

The main altar is located sharply to the SE, with a semicircular plan with a diameter smaller than the latitude of the nave. On the west façade, where the door to the hermitage from 1559 should have been, Guardiola Picó built a bell tower with an almost quadrangular plan with a flared door, now blinded. By attaching the former residence of the Servants of Jesus and La Caridad to the hermitage of San Roque, Guardiola Picó had to open the current door (at noon), losing the canonical intention of placing the apse of the temples facing Jerusalem and its access to the west.

The bell tower is built with ashlar masonry and regular executioners of solid brick, a construction technique that is rare in the architecture of the city. This technique also appears in the upper staircase of access to the Bell Tower of San Nicolás. This structure is finished off on the upper cornice with a wooden pyramidal roof protected by metal sheets that presents a formal similarity to the two bell towers of Villena from the 16th century.

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