Igreja de Santa Maria Maior de Tarouquela

Tarouquela - Cinfães


Church of Saint Mary Major of Tarouquela

The Church of Tarouquela is all that remains of a monastery of Benedictine nuns who laboured here until the 16th century. Founded in the 12th century, it was in the following century, already under the Benedictine reform, that the existing temple was erected. It is under this religious order's influence that the Romanesque reaches the site of Tarouquela, since sculptural themes as antithetical animals, two men with one single head, serpents and mermaids, among others, are frequent in Benedictine churches. Outside the Church stands the main portal, whose tympanum, decorated with a floral motif, appears guarded by two quadrupeds from whose jaws human figures hang. These sculptures, which the population calls dogs of Tarouquela, appear to be representations intended to keep the evil away. The corbels also feature fantastic ornamentation, figurative or animal, as the exhibitionist, hidden since the 15th century by the Chapel of Saint John, now the sacristy. This structure, which announces the introduction of the Gothic style, was built between 1481 and 1495, marking the relation of this monastery with the noble families of the region that, through the abbesses, here imposed their ruling. Inside, the sculpture of the enthroned Virgin nursing the Child, from the 16th century, and possibly from a workshop in Brussels, stands out. 

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