Church Ceremony Venues
The church of the Immaculate Conception was built in the upper part of the city on the ruins of the castle. One of the towers (the square) of the castle was incorporated into the church as a bell tower. There are three naves that are separated by semicircular arches supported by columns. The ceiling of the main nave is made of wood, the baroque elements are shown in the plaster moldings around the church. The aisles date from the first half of the 17th century. The evangelist’s nave is richly decorated with figures of acanthus leaves, fruits and flowers. Seats can accommodate up to 200 people, but such is the intimacy of the church that 50 people do not get lost there.
The beautiful gardens and fountains surrounding the church and the magnificent views of the coast make this a perfect place for weddings and ensure that your wedding photographs are stunning and unique.
Hidden away in a corner of the village, overlooking the wonderful valley leading to the coast, is the hermitage of the ‘Virgen de la Peña’. It is built into a rocky outcrop by Mercedarian monks in 1520 and inside is the image of the ‘Virgen de la Peña’, the patron Saint of the village. According to the legend, she appeared on this spot on the 2nd of June 1586 to two young shepherds that had been led there by a pigeon. Subsequently an image of the Virgin was found concealed in a recess in the tower where it had been hidden for 500 years. In 1656 work started on the sanctuary cave, which is nowadays always decorated with flowers and pictures as offerings. It is a perfect spot for a small, intimate wedding, with seating for around 20 people inside and makes for beautiful photos with the dramatic scenery and whitewashed village surrounding it.
We begin our historical reminder in the year 1485, when the Catholic Monarchs reconquered Marbella (Marbil-ha for Islam).
Already in 1500 the Royal Hospital, a hermitage called Santa Catalina and the Parish Church were built. Also, in 1505, the Archbishop of Seville gave legal status to two parishes with the names of «Santa María de la Encarnación» and «Santiago» respectively. The fact that the name «Santa María de la Encarnación» was given was an affirmation of Christian faith in the face of the doctrine of Mohammed, which denies the mystery of the Incarnation. It remains to be clarified whether the first Church of the Incarnation – the present Church is the second – was located in a mosque or whether it was built from scratch and where it was located.
As for the «new church» of the Encarnación, its works were promoted in 1618, as a commemorative tombstone with the following inscription seems to suggest:
CORDUBA QUEM GENUIT MALACAE DAT (US) AETHERE PRAESUL CONSTRUXIT SUPERIS HOC LUDOVICUS OPUS. ANNO MDCXVIII.
LUIS WHOM CORDOBA BEGOT, BISHOP GIVEN TO MALAGA BY PROVIDENCE (LIT. «BY HEAVEN»), BUILT THIS WORK FOR THE SAINTS. YEAR 1618.
In 1720, the flooring of the temple was contracted; in 1756 the masters involved in the work were the carpenters Pedro del Castillo and Salvador Gálvez, and the stonemason José Gómez, who was dedicated to driving and carving the stone for the doorway of the temple.
The enthronement of the Blessed Sacrament in the «new church» of the Encarnación took place on 16th July 1767. H.M. Carlos III was king of Spain and the bishop of Malaga was the Most Illustrious D. Franquis Laso de Castilla.
The church thus consecrated, then «new», would stand out and continues to stand out for the proportion of its dimensions and above all for the height of its naves and its central dome, which produces the sensation of grandeur that when in 1955 the bishop of the diocese, Ángel Herrera Oria, made his first visit to Marbella, made him exclaim: «This church looks like a cathedral»: «This church looks like a cathedral»; according to tradition, the church of the Encarnación functioned in times of collegiate church, that is to say, it had its chapter as if it were a cathedral, suffice it to say that in 1752, according to the Cadastre of the Ensenada, 19 priests, 2 deacons and 7 of minor orders were attached to it.
In Pascual Madoz’s dictionary (1845), he praises the church of Marbella, which, he says, «is served by a parish priest, four beneficiaries and two temporary assistant priests appointed by the diocesan; the building consists of three naves of modern although simple architecture, but its majestic elevation, its large dimensions and the sumptuousness of its decorations, altarpieces, altars, choirs, organ and the height of its tower, make it a quite remarkable temple».