San Agustin Church – UNESCO World Heritage Site

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SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH

 

San Agustin ChurchPhoto from:  en.wikipedia.org

 

San Agustin Church is a Roman Catholic church under the auspices of The Order of St. Augustine, located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila. Completed by 1607, it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines. No other surviving building in the Philippines has been claimed to pre-date San Agustin Church.

 

San Agustin Church

 

In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO , under the classification “Baroque Churches of the Philippines”. It had been named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.” – wikipedia.org

 San Agustin ChurchPhoto from:  thetripleex.com

 

From heritageconservation.worpress.com – It may have been the most sought and copied facade in the colonial period, but its static appearance and dark adobe stone lack grace and charm. Even the Augustinians themselves were not too kind with the church’s displeasing appearance. In another book, Angels in Stone, Galende recalls the Augustinian historian, Agustin Ma. de Castro’s critical comment of the church’s facade: “It was of triangular form, very ugly and of a blackish color; flanked by two towers, one of which has no bells and does not serve for anything. Due to the frequent earthquakes in Manila, they (towers) have only one body, ugly and irregular, without elevation or gracefulness.”

 

San Agustin ChurchPhoto fom:  grandphilippinechurches.blogspot.com

 

Sedate and direct to the point, the facade follows the style of High Renaissance. The symmetrical composition is prefixed by pairs of Tuscan columns that flank the main door of the two-tiered facade. The vertical movement of the paired columns is adapted at the second level by equally paired Corinthian columns. At the second level, mass and void alternate in a simple rhythm of solid walls and windows. The two levels, emphasized by horizontal cornices, are then capped by a pediment that is accentuated with a simple rose window. The facade’s hard composition is held together by two towers; unfortunately, the missing left belfry further exaggerates the lackluster facade. It was taken down after a destructive earthquake hit the church in 1863 and 1880, splitting the tower in two.

 

San Agustin ChurchPhoto from:  hellotravel.com

 

The facade has a touch of Baroque by the ornately carved wooden doors that depict floras and religious images. Baroque is also evident in the carved niches that quietly reside between the paired lower columns. The church is bequeathed with Chinese elements in the form of fu dogs that emphatically guard the courtyard entrances.

 

 San Agustin ChurchPhoto from:   my.opera.com

 

San Agustin church is also the only colonial church that has retained its original vaulting, despite the destructive forces that shelled the church during WW II. It was a fortuitous turn because San Agustin church flaunts one of the most artistically decorated interiors among all of the colonial churches in the country.

 

 

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GET YOUR COPY

 

 

 

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