The Mañara’s House or Miguel de Mañara's birthplace is located in the center of what used to be the aljama or old Jewish quarter of Seville. This included the sector between the Alcázar and the vicinity of the Carmona gate, that is, the neighbourhoods or collations corresponding to the parishes of Santa Cruz and San Bartolomé, very close to which is the building we are dealing with. The Jewish quarter opened to the outside of the city through the Puerta de la Carne, from which the main street started, which today takes the successive names of Santa María la Blanca and San José and which separated the mentioned collations.
From the fifteenth century are the first news we have of the building. This is built by one of the members of the Almansa family, taking advantage of elements of previous constructions. Remains of this primitive Mudejar house are the baseboards with mural paintings from the ground floor living room, probably dating from the second third of the 15th century.
In 1519 the house is used as a dwelling by Juan de Almansa and his wife Constanza de Alcocer. In 1532 he ordered the columns, balustrades and marble floors of the sculptor Antonio María Aprile da Carona of Genoa to decorate the main courtyard.
In 1623 Diego de Almansa, prosecutor of Rey in the Real Audiencia, puts in public auction the House of Mañara.
The great boom experienced by Seville in the sixteenth century, attracted many foreigners who came to seek wealth and prosperity. One of them was Tomás de Mañara, Leca and Colona, which he bought in the sixteenth century in 13,000 silver ducats. Tomás de Mañara dies in 1648, his son Miguel remains as heir, who did not inherit his father's merchant skills, dedicating himself in the last years of his life to charity, was Benefactor of the Hospital de la Caridad and revitalizer of the Brotherhood, whose primary purpose was to bury the drowned and executed. In 1674, he left his home in the Jewish quarter to live in another one closer to Santa Caridad, where he died in 1679.
After the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755, a third of the buildings in the city were ruined, although in the case of the Casa de Mañara, there is little information on the repercussions that the earthquake could have. Although, only there are news of some minor works and the renovation of the main facade in 1767. During much of the eighteenth century, this house was rented, specifically in 1755, to Pedro Fillot. Later, between 1772-1794, it was again intervened on it, although this time due to the stay of Don Manuel Prudencio de Molviedro, as tenant of it.
The news that has been located in the house in the nineteenth century are those that refer to the use of the house, during the French invasion, as a quarter of Marshal Soult's troops. Specifically it was destined to accommodation of the escort of Marshal Duque de Trebiso. Due to the looting and destruction caused in the house during this stage, it was exempted from taxes for several years, in order to attend to the damage caused.
Later, the house was inherited by the Marquises of Paterna del Campo. In 1916 the Brotherhood of Santa Caridad bought the building for the amount of 77,500 pts. As of this date the property had very diverse uses, all of them related to industrial work, such as the manufacture of cork, the manufacture of brass pins and the spinning of the Fabra and Coatas factory. From the fifties until 1970, it was converted into a public school. Finally, after a period of total abandonment and after being included in the rehabilitation plan for the Barrio de San Bartolomé, rehabilitation works were begun in 1989, and the headquarters of the General Directorate for Cultural Assets of the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalusia.
The urban morphology was transformed by the disappearance of the Jewish quarter in the sixteenth century, hosting numerous examples of monumental architecture, both civil and religious, among which were the palace-houses of Céspedes, Levíes and the Dukes of Béjar, disappeared, and the of Altamira and Mañara, rehabilitating one and rehabilitated the other, both as headquarters of the Ministry of Culture and Environment of the Junta de Andalucía.
The recent interventions, in the shadow of those that have established new institutional headquarters; have given a formidable impulse of recovery to the neighbourhood, which was practically lost.
The Casa-Palacio de Mañara is located on Levíes Street, with a rear facade to that of Garci Pérez. The main facade occupies practically the corner formed by Levíes and San Bartolomé, where the lateral façade of the parish church is very close. In contact with the one in Mañara, with a façade facing Garci Pérez Street, there are two outstanding houses that have merited Global protection in the cataloguing established in the General Plan of Urban Planning of Seville. Corresponds the typology to the most orthodox of the Renaissance houses, although the different avatars and owners for what has been going have been introducing modifications that have been altering the type, even without losing the clarity of that.
It is organized in three different parts, the noble zone or the lords, the service area and the block area. The access is through a hallway and front yard with a halt, through which you can access a large central courtyard with columns with gallery of arcades on both floors and marble fountain in its center.
The staircase, of two sections and large size, is located in the corner of the bottom, on the right as you access the patio from the entrance gate. The rooms of the noble part are distributed around the patio, covering for the most part by aljarfes and coffered ceilings of wood. The service area, located in the S.E. part, to the right of the facade, according to the direction of access, evolves around a side yard, without galleries. The area of the blocks was located to the left of the patio-stop and presents the facade Levíes street.
Volumetrically, the building highlights the hollow of the central patio and its skirt covers, as well as the irregularity of the alignments of both facades, which were adhered to the sinuous and broken terms with which the urban environment was conceived. In general terms, the structure of the building is based on load-bearing walls of solid brick, which reach and exceed 50 cm. of thickness and forged of wood, with coffered ceilings in the rooms and vault of plaster in the staircase. To this general structure, which has endured badly well over the centuries and the events and uses that have occurred, we must add the treatment that has been given in the last and decisive intervention of restoration and rehabilitation.
The main façade of the Mañara Palace is located on Levíes Street, being divided into two sections and eight streets articulated by pilasters attached to the wall. The access opening to the house is located on the third street on the left side of the wall. A series of rectangular spans that serve as illumination, are distributed in both the upper and lower floors. The first and the second street on the left, are the same, they are occupied by a vain of rectangular shape closed by a grille on the ground floor and another of the same characteristics on the upper floor. The third street is occupied in the first body by a window with a square shape and on this a vain of rectangular shape closed by a grid and covered with tile.
The same scheme is repeated in the lower bodies of the sixth, seventh and eighth streets. In the upper body of the third street a balcony with railing, as in the fourth and fifth. In the rest of the streets, in the upper body is repeated the scheme of rectangular vain closed by grid with tejaroz. Only on the ground floor of the fifth street there is no gap.
The pictorial decoration conserved in this façade, presents very varied elements, the pilasters are decorated with imitation of ashlars, while in the rest of the wall the decoration is made of bricks. In the places that lack the ornamentation, this one has been completed with painting, in the case of the imitation of the brick in red, while the ashlars of ochre color. The body occupied by the cover, is the one that had the greatest decoration, because it was to frame the balcony of the upper body with fictitious architecture, with very varied elements, both architectural and constructive, which are now almost totally disappeared, in the side streets they are Posters with the inscriptions: "SE RENOVO" and "YEAR OF 1767".
Up to the sixth street the facade is covered by a cornice with tejaroz, on the other hand the rest of the façade is covered by a roof, where some pinnacle protrude, extension of the pilasters.
The current appearance of this façade is the result of the various reforms carried out since the end of the 16th century to the present day, being the one carried out in 1767 fundamental. On the rear façade, the only outstanding elements are the lighting spans, distributed in different heights and closed by bars.
The cover of access to the property opens on the main facade, on Levíes street. White marble gives access to the house presents a rectangular vain. It is flanked by Tuscan columns of grooved shaft, which support on pedestals decorated with military attributes and masks, crossed shields with lion's head and swords, which symbolize the triumph of weapons. The entablature, following the classical order, is composed of the architrave, the frieze and the cornice. The frieze is divided into triglyphs, which support the cornice as brackets, and metopes, adorned with human heads alternated with bucráneos.
There is a secondary cover that communicates the halt with the main patio. This presents an entrance space, made in exposed brick, with a semicircular arch over Tuscan pilasters. The arch is framed in a kind of alfiz, formed by a small molding. The entrance is surrounded by a tile frame decorated with ribbons. The set is flanked by two Tuscan pilasters on which, as a pilaster, a grooved registers, shields and corbels that support the cornice that tops the cover appear.
The palace presents an irregularly shaped floor, approaching that of a rectangle, where the narrowest side is occupied by the main façade. Architecturally follows the prototype of the Renaissance palace house. The building consists of three well differentiated parts, the noble area, of greater extension, occupies two floors, serving as housing for the owners. The two remaining parts are dedicated to dependencies, service houses and blocks.
The area destined to blocks and dwellings of the service was around the courtyard, rectangular, with the first on the left side and the second on the right. These last ones presented different rooms and dependencies of rectangular and square plant, having communication with a secondary patio of rectangular plant. The noble zone was located around the main courtyard, square and with double-height galleries on its four fronts. These dependencies alternated the ones of square plant with the rectangular ones.
However, this scheme has been very transformed by the different uses of the building and its current remodeling to turn it into the headquarters of the General Directorate of Cultural Assets. It is, therefore, that the current building presents, in general, the same scheme of distribution of the dependencies, but having changed the accesses and even some have suffered a new compartmentalization and others, however, have been altered by the process reverse.
The access is still carried out by the patio stop, where on the left in a dependency, almost rectangular, the security service has been placed. On the right, the compartmentalization of the group of rooms with rectangular and square floors, with service stairs for the ascent to the upper floors. Uniting both parts, on the second floor, there is a large rectangular hall, which receives its lighting by the existing balconies on the main facade. From this patio you can directly access the main patio of the house. In this, surrounded by a gallery on its four sides, the main rooms of the building are distributed.
Large rectangular halls occupy, both upstairs and downstairs, the central areas of each bay, except the bay that is occupied by the halt. One of these large rooms, on the ground floor has three arches of horseshoes. At the angles, joining these rooms, there are square units, which in some cases have been compartmentalised for services and toilets and in others are mere transit spaces to other units. In one of them, the great staircase of two sections is located.
On the lower sides of the building there are two secondary courtyards, one of square and the other rectangular. These give a series of dependencies, rectangular and square, currently distributed on ground floor, mezzanine and high floor. They are accessed by secondary stairs, modern invoice.
The supporting elements of the palace are defined by the perimeter wall that surrounds the house and the Corinthian columns that exist in the main courtyard of the building.
The only notable elements in elevation are the main patio and the staircase. The main patio constitutes the nucleus of the house and main distributor of the interior spaces, sharing, its elevations, in two bodies. The ground floor is formed by four semicircular arches, on each side of the gallery, these support on high factory pillars and marble columns of Corinthian order, with noble coats of arms. On the upper floor, the rhythm is the same, although on this occasion the arches are reduced and are located on only three of its sides, the room is closed with columns and wooden entablature. The high galleries are closed with a marble balustrade. The box of the staircase of square shape, consists of two sections, with white marble balustrade, it is illuminated through two openings, one oriented to Garci Pérez Street and the other to the patio garden.
In the Casa de Mañara some of the building's old roofs are preserved. These are wooden structures, both flat and in troughs. The flat roofs, existing in some units of the ground floor and the galleries of the patio, are formed by wooden beams and normal planking, except in the room located at the back of the patio, where the paintings are found, whose planking is formed by tiles . The coffered ceilings, strictly speaking, are on the upper floor, corresponding to the façade halls, the main patio bays and the rooms that open onto the square patio. Of these, the pair and knuckle coffered ceilings of the Garci Pérez street hall stand out, and those of the hall of the main façade and the left bay of the central patio. Of four sides with lacería they are the existing ones in lagoons of the square dependencies of the secondary patio.
Fuente: bdi del Patrimonio Inmueble de Andalucía (Junta de Andalucía)