Granada City - Colegiata de San Salvador

Colegiata de San Salvador

by Lawrence Bohme

This church is called a colegiata, or school, because its original purpose was to teach Christianity to the Moors after the conquest in 1492. This mission was first installed in the Great Mosque of the Albaicin, and when the old Moorish building was replaced, the courtyard of ablutions - where the faithful washed their feet before entering to pray - was left intact, as a cloister.

Today the patio, with its well, is one of the oldest Moorish monuments remaining in the city, and can be visited by paying a small fee to enter the church's museum of religious art.

The mission was, in any case, a resounding failure. The Moors frequently stoned the priests, who had to flee to the safety of the "Christians-only" quarters of the lower city. A Castilian churchman who visited Granada a quarter century after the conquest said that, in spite of all the efforts to have the Moors give up their beliefs, there were scarcely half a dozen sincere Christians among them.