Las Virtudes

Las Virtudes is a chapel and bullring in Santa Cruz de Mudela, Ciudad Real. If you didn’t know what you can find there, you’d not stop there in your way to Andalucia, via N-IV.

The Chapel of Nuestra Señora de las Virtudes is one of those chapels with a bullring attached. In fact, it’s part of the square where the chapel is.

The chapel was built before the XIV century, and it has a mudejar roof from the XV century.

The Main Chapel was built in 1711 by Friar Francisco de San José, and painted in 1745, although the oldest parts are from the XV century. Its dome simulates a large open area with a balustrade presided by Mary Immaculate, conquering the dragon.

The “Camarín” (dressing room) paintings are the best Baroque frescoes of Ciudad Real style, with remarkable influence of the paintings of the Palace of El Viso del Marqués.

The bullring is special in its own way, because it’s the oldest square ring in the world. It was built between 1641 and 1645. You can see an inscription on the lintel of the “Casa de la Despensa”.

In Ciudad Real you can find other examples of this kind of bullrings, like the one in the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves in Almagro or the bullring in Almadén.

But this is not the only things that makes Las Virtudes special.

Although the bullring and the chapel are from the XIV-XV century, the columns supporting the north gallery are Visigothic, as rests from this period have been found. In fact, the baptismal font is a piece from the Visigothic period.

But the most strange thing you can find in this chapel and bullring is inscripted on one of the columns, on its capital. If you look carefully, you’ll find an inscription in a language that hasn’t been deciphered or identified. It’s written in Latin characters, but we don’t know in which language.

If you want to visit it, you have to contact the Town Hall (+34 926 342 273) or the Chapel (+34 926 338 235).

Photos by Adelaida Saucedo