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Palacio de San Telmo

Palacio de San Telmo (35)

This impressive palace was built in 1682 as the Universidad de Navegantes, and a century later it became a school for young sailors of the nobility or “poor orphans of noble blood”. Interestingly enough, one of its most famous students was Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. This school was closed in 1848, when it was converted into the residence of the Dukes of Montpensier. 

Over the years while the Dukes were the owners, they accumulated a great deal of artwork that was unfortunately lost in 1901 when the princess donated the palace to the Archdiocese. It was at this point that the building was converted into a theological college and it remained one until it passed into the hands of the Assembly of Andalusia, which transformed it into its current headquarters.

The object that receives the most attention at the Palacio de San Telmo is probably its “Churrigueresque” entrance, completed in 1734 by Antonio Matías de Figueroa. It is a group of ionic columns that mark the main entrance and support a huge balcony. Additionally, you’ll find a group of allegorical figures from the arts and sciences that surround the columns, and on top is a representation of Saint Elmo, patron saint of navigation, flanked by Saint Ferdinand and Saint Hermenegilde.

If you look at the façade that faces Avenida de Palos de la Frontera, you’ll see that its frieze is crowned by two large effigies of illustrious Sevillians, Velázquez and Murillo. These sculptures were created by Antonio Susillo in 1895.

During the Dukes of Montpensier’s period of ownership, they ordered a pantheon to be built, in honour of the Virgin of Buen Aire, for whom the capital of Argentina is also named. 

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