church santa maria

Old Church of Santa Maria

It is the oldest temple in the city and it was the main church of Tarifa until 1546. It is located within the grounds of the Castillo de Guzmán el Bueno.

Its dedication is to Santa María, which was very common in the times of Alfonso X and Sancho IV. It has a square floor plan and it was originally covered by a semi-orange dome on groined squinches. Even today its imprint is preserved on the walls in the form of pointed arches. In the presbytery area there are four reused Roman columns on Roman bases that enrich the space. In the subsoil, a Roman construction level from the Republican period (1st century BC) has been preserved. Its central nave is wider and higher and there was a rose window on the portal. In the side walls there are narrow brick and stone windows with semicircular arches and double flaring to the outside and inside in an elevated position as a defensive precaution. The main door of the temple was replaced in the 17th century by another Mannerist style with a semicircular arch between pilasters and is made of ashlar. Outside there was an atrium, in whose subsoil a stone baptismal font appeared. The presbytery was integrated into the adjoining building of the current Town Hall with which it was connected by several doors. Its subsoil was used for burials, arranged in dense alignments defined by low walls. Tombs were also located in the space between the exterior of the temple and the castle until the 18th century.

After a rehabilitation in which the original shape of its roofs has been recreated, today it is a municipal hall and can be visited during Guzmán Castle hours.