Before you build the current sanctuary of the Virgin of the Head there was a hermitage of medieval, with the passage of the centuries it would take the current denomination in accordance to the worship and devotion to their owner is going to reach a greater universality; when his fame extends for a good part of the country and Latin america and the visits to the same become very numerous.
Is not clear when he built the original chapel, medieval. It is suggested that out between the THIRTEENTH and FOURTEENTH centuries. There are some who points between 1287 and 1304, dates that appear to be very accurate in order to be certain; if we take into account that not making the documentary sources in that are based on such a claim.
Anyway, we can say, that it was a building in gothic-mudejar style, similar to those existing in the Sierra Morena, the remaining examples in the Valley of los Pedroches (Córdoba).
The hermitage of the Virgin of the Head was built attached to the fortress of the Jándula that in the summit of the hill of The Head there was, as before stated, is dedicated to accommodate a military garrison that controlled the roads connecting Andalusia, La Mancha, having been in the hands of the arabs and the christians, who occupied it at different times during the wars that the one and the other kept.
Due to the rise of devotion to the Virgin of the Head will be taking along to the SIXTEENTH century, his shrine was transformed into a new temple, with the category of sanctuary, thanks to the economic efforts of the confraternity of Andújar.
In the decade of the thirties, works were carried out, which will be completed by the end of that century. In this space of time was built the chancel, nave of the church, sacristy, and facade.
The head of the church was built between 1534 and 1541. It was of generous proportions, of gothic style and is separated by an arch toral rest of the temple. The conclusion of this chapel did not mean the continuity of the rest of the works, due to the change of architects and the lack of money on the part of the guild building. Raised three designs of the building, the first to be linked to Sunday in Azpeitia, the second by Andrés de Vandelvira, and the last to Francisco del Castillo.
A large grate, 6 m. wide and 8,58 meters high separates the chancel from the rest of the temple, a ship. The mission was to create a more intimate and distinguished, where the devotee immediately felt different, and more respect with the holy that is found there. The fence is a sign of respect, not only an obstacle. After the Civil War, it was restored in 1941, in the School of Arts and Crafts in Granada.
The great gate, a magnificent work of art, made by the workshop of Bartolomé Gómez and Juan Rodríguez de Salamanca. Although the trace can be of Agustín de Aguilar, a neighbor of Jaén, spain, and Andrés de Vandelvira.
Three further gates had been in the interior of the chapel, all of the XVI century. The rest of the temple was built between 1552 and 1572.
In these twenty years he made several modifications and changed architect.
The first draft envisaged a series of columns that prevented to see the chapel, so that, after the visit of the works by the bishop of Jaén, Diego de Tavera, commissioned new tracks to Vandelvira, which was a great covered space under a long barrel vault and the side chapels inserted in the sections located between its abutments, thus allowing a full overview of the altar.
The sacristy was hired in 1568 by the stonemasons Barnabas of Lorca, and Antonio Pérez, finishing solo this last, being completed in 1594.
The facade is made with the trace of Vandelvira, was started in 1612, labrándola the bed local Rafael Perez.
The balcony that opened up in she ordered to build it to the bishop Sancho Dávila Toledo and (1600-1615), having been completed in 1607. The decoration of the chapel consisted of an altarpiece, completed in 1554. In it is represented the history and miracles of the Virgin of the Head. Is replaced by another in 1611, being conducted by the sculptor Francisco de Eiras, in accordance with the trace of Sebastian Solis, sculptor, assembler, and architect giennense.
It is gilded by the neighbor of Úbeda, Bernard Joseph. In the EIGHTEENTH century, first quarter, is when the sanctuary is transformed with substantial renovations, both in his temple, dependencies and exterior; doran several altars, are separated from the alcoves of the room high, are built of the auction and six new rooms.
We know that the locker room was high, all gold, over fields of red, blue and white, with a great multitude of angels, reminiscent of the ascent to heaven of the Blessed virgin Mary, for being the temple dedicated to his Assumption. The attributes of Ntra. Lady and many crowns.
The east comes out a beautiful window with stained glass window and curtain crimson. In the center of the room there was an altar is square, on which was the image of the Virgin in his silver throne, decorated with the coat of arms of the city of Andújar and scenes from the procession, surrounded by the heads of angels. At the foot, on the throne, a silver moon, with shots of gold stars. The image had a gold crown with precious stones, about it other that it terminated with a “world of gold” porcelain and above a cross, enamelled. On she has another crown of silver, which seems out of
the shoulders of the image. As you see all the taste of the baroque. The rostrillo was gold with pearls, diamonds and emeralds.
Neck hung a gold chain, from which hung a pectoral cross donated by the bishop of Jaén, Brizuela, and Salamanca.
This description, which we've been doing, corresponds to the EIGHTEENTH century, as we wrote the priest Bartolomé Pérez Guzmán. In the locker room there were also four mirrors, facing each other, two to two. Under them a “pilicas of holy water”, and on the side walls a picture of the Nativity and Flight into Egypt. On the altar, a cross and a crucifix of ivory, along with six candlesticks and a lectern, all of silver. The high altar had a gilded altarpiece, with enamel, ruby and emeralds, on top of an image of the Virgin. To the side of the Gospel Peter and the other San Eufrasio.
In the midst of a tabernacle to save the Blessed Sacrament. In the table of the altar was a crucifix and six candlesticks and a lectern, silver all
it. The chapel was surrounded by an iron balcony, which came out a few davits outdoor with handles, and of those that hung forty lamps. The sacristy was behind the altar, and beneath the dressing room, such as it is today. The altars of the side chapels were filled with images of saints very diverse: San Diego
Alcalá, San Jose, San Miguel, San Rafael, San Francisco de Paula, a St. Anthony of Padua, St. Dominic, St. Catherine, Saint Teresa of Jesus, St. John the Baptist, etc
Coming out of the chapel, to the right, was the place considered as the apparition, which had to disappear in the works that we have seen of the SIXTEENTH century; since two centuries later, were not there. Sanctuary as sumptuous was well equipped with appliances for the divine worship: Crosses, chalices, candlesticks, censers, cruets, bells, hostiarios, ornaments for the cults, lamps for lighting, etc, Many of these objects came from America, thanks to the many devotees of the Ntra. Lady of the Head.
Various walk processional had the shrine, made in the SIXTEENTH century and beyond. The current that is used in a procession and the day of the appearance were donated by Carmen Marble Wheat in 1957, executed in Lucena (Córdoba) for Angle, consisted of three staves, being carried by a few hundred people. For the pilgrimage of 2000 is expanded by adding a fourth varal, which led to an increase in the number of those who wear them, called anderos.
The environment of the sanctuary
Around the shrine is built houses for the guilds, stores, house for the witch doctor, wells, herrerías, garden, etc, many of these buildings around a square; in access to which is to put a stone arch in the second half of the EIGHTEENTH century.
On the sidewalks that lead to the house of Ntra. Ms. was the shrine, a square with a cross in the center and four columns covered by a vault of half an orange. In the environment of that place came to install a series of hermits living in small buildings called cells.
With the name of the Virgin of the Rosary was built a chapel in the SEVENTEENTH century, first half, by the priest of Bujalance (Córdoba), Alonso Rojas Tovoso, who died in 1645, having founded a Pious Work that impacted economically in the sanctuary. In the NINETEENTH century, the abandonment of that and the need of restoring it, the brotherhood of Andújar admitted hermit Peter of Ntra. Lady of Loreto, by empowering you to ask for alms in nearby towns. Currently, only there are some ruins and a few chairs carved in stone, which are included in the Catalog of Goods of Cultural Interest of the City, but it is already too late.
The Sanctuary is rectangular in shape and structure in tone to a grand central axis arranged in north-south direction. The church is a nave with barrel vault and with small chapels attached to its side, which contains, after the chancel, the chapel of the Virgin, and a small quadrangular courtyard, with galleries of arches, to the East of this nucleus are the dependencies of the monastery of the PP. Trinitarian. On the west side was built between 1964 and 1966 a new body of three floors. In the lower part is the crypt where lie the remains of captain Santiago Cortés, among others. Next to this space is preserved ruins where the devotees place their offerings or votive offerings to the Virgin, giving thanks for having obtained their help or to ask you something.
On the southeastern side was built in 1948 a small Parador, with capacity for 16 people. Closed many years ago. In the year 2008, PP. Trinitarians inaugurated a new building in the same place, aiming at the Inn and Center of Welcoming Pilgrims. It has 18 rooms, kitchen, dining room, exhibition halls and conference rooms, two courtyards, the sale of religious objects and hygiene services. The new space was assigned by the City of Andújar to the Trinitarian Order.
In 1949, the bishop of Jaén, Rafael García y García de Castro, said parish to the shrine, whose surroundings were raised different milestones that remind you of the event of war before referred to. Also built a barracks of the Civil Guard, homes for guilds and rocks, mirabrás, a cemetery simulated for remembrance of the victims and a museum –currently disassembled - dedicated to the siege and defence of the place. On it was built a stone monument of the sculptor Antonio González Orea, opened in 1965. It is a great Lady with the Angel of Victory going up to heaven to one of the defenders sagging, also called Madonna of Peace.
On the occasion of the seventh Centenary of the Apparition of the Virgin to the pastor, were placed in the roads that access to the sanctuary fifteen monoliths of stone, each one containing a mystery of the Holy Rosary. The promoter was the andujareño Antonio Alcalá Venceslada. It was blessed on August 12, 1928, by the bishop of Jaén, coinciding with the closing of the Jubilee Year.
Each monolith was wearing a relief in bronze, sculpted by Juan Luis Vasallo Parodi, a native of Cadiz, based in Baeza (Jaén), and a poem from different writers of the time. Destroyed the Monumental Rosary during the Civil War, was replaced by a new one, which appeared only the reliefs in bronze, the work of Gonzalez Orea.
In 1998, it inaugurated the Museum Mariano, created by the community of the Trinity, being rector father Jesus Herrera Martinez. In it we can see important works of art, among others, the picture of a SEVENTEENTH-century painting by Bernardo Asturian, The pilgrimage, and various robes of the Virgin.
Another important legacy of the sanctuary is its historical archive, which contains mainly the guild array from the SIXTEENTH century.
In February 2000, the Rector of the Sanctuary P. Domingo Conesa Sources and the Provincial minister of the O. SS.T., P. Luis Miguel Alaminos Montealegre, blessed the placement of the fifteen old poems, which came to occupy its original places. These are written in bronze, being its author Manuel López Pérez.
At the auction of the Sanctuary there is a monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the first chronicler of the procession, placed in 1956 by the Diputación Provincial de Jaén and the City of Andújar, the work of the sculptor Jacinto Higueras, and the other to the Pastor of Colomera, sculpture González Orea.
Next to the main road there is a memorial of the siege suffered by the place for the republican troops. In the surrounding area, put some monoliths in stone, in the different positions of the defense of the sanctuary, occupied by the national. In this same stretch of the year 2006, put up a fence, beautifully carved, made by López Pérez.
In the chapel, separated from the rest of the temple by the gate of the SIXTEENTH century, restored, of which we spoke earlier, was placed an altar with two niches, one on each side, occupied by St. Euphrasius and San Juan de Mata. In the center a large open space, from which you can see the chapel of the Virgin, separated by a glass. The altarpiece has been restored in 2002 by Santiago Lara, Socuéllamos (Ciudad Real). In 2008, this chapel will undergo significant changes in order to adapt to the application being declared the shrine, basilica.
Over the years the chapel has undergone a variety of different works that have been transformed. In the center there is an altar where you place the image in high, surrounded by the two chandeliers, of eight lights and ten lampstands, in addition to four vases, a center of flowers and a foot of candlestick with Christ on the cross, all in the silver workshops of seville by Manuel de los Rios.
In the rest of the temple there are some side chapels occupied by various altars, containing the following images: A crucified the sculptor Mariano Benlliure, the Virgin of the Pillar, the Blessed Mark Servant, St. John Baptist of the Conception, the Trinity and the Virgin of Carmen.
In the choir above the main door, there is a magnificent organ; gift of the Civil Guard, which was opened by the master Guridi.
In the year 2000 started to put in the side of the dome of the church a series of oil paintings depicting various scenes from the Virgin Mary, whose authors are the artists: Jerome Mata, Francisco Hoyos, Manuel Garcia-Ibáñez, Rafael Toribio Fernández, Luis Hamlet Gomez, Alicia Hamlet Alonso, José Ramón Navarro Ruiz, Francisco Jesus Medialdea Warrior, Daniel Lawns and Martin Berrio.
In 2014 the bishop Ramón del Hoyo, blessed the Columbarium in which to deposit the ashes of the dead. It came to solve the demand of many people, to avoid possible situations of frivolity, neglect, or contempt of his relics.