The church of La Encarnación in Almuñécar is in the historic centre of the town, on top of a small promontory that was already used by the Phoenicians as a necropolis and by the Romans, a little away from the famous San Miguel Castle and the beach. It is in what is known as Plaza Nueva, near the town hall.
Following the line of being the oldest city in the Spanish Mediterranean, the church of La Encarnación in Almuñécar is the first of the parish churches in the diocese of Granada to adopt the Counter-Reformation model of Jesuit influence, in opposition to the Mudejar model that had been established until then.
According to the information that has come down to us today, its design was drawn up by Ambrosio de Vico, as it is very similar to that of Santa María de la Alhambra in Granada.
The temple that we can see today replaced a previous church located in the oldest part of the city. We do not have much information about the first church, we only know that its materials were used to build the current church of the Encarnación.
The construction of the present church began around the year 1590 and its construction was carried out by the master mason Jerónimo Hernández.
It should also be noted that the construction of its tower was completed in 1599 and the rest of the holy building the following year, and was decorated with mural paintings later in the 18th century.
The foundations of this unique building are on a Roman water deposit, from where the distribution channels started.
The Civil War and the despoilment suffered by the Catholic Church at that time also left their mark, as it lost almost all its artistic heritage except for the image of the Virgen de la Antigua, which is the patron saint of the city, some goldsmith’s work and some paintings.
The building has a Latin cross plan, with a nave of four bays, side chapels, niches in the buttresses and a transept that does not protrude in plan, which is inscribed in an almost perfect rectangle, in which the tower protrudes slightly.
On the outside, we can see that it has a compact and closed appearance, with the transept standing out with its double windows and gable ends, and of course, the airy and robust tower.
The roof does not have a roof, so the vaults, which are lined on the outside, serve as a fortress against a possible attack from the sea, as is the case with other churches along the Costa del Sol Tropical.
The exterior walls are enclosed with exposed brick and the classic masonry caissons. The vaults are made of brick and have a double air chamber.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the inscription IHS ANO 1600 appears on the pediment that crowns the gable of the façade at the foot of the church.
If you are visiting Almuñécar or La Herradura, the Church of La Encarnación in Almuñécar is an almost obligatory visit, because Almuñécar is not all sun and sand.