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The Sanctuary of our Lady of the Sacred Heart

© Manel Antolí (RV Edipress)

The old church of the sisters of the Congregation of Jesús-Maria, next to their school. Tarragona has the privilege of having been the first city where the Virgin Mary was worshipped under the new dedication (1857, Issodoun, France) of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and, at the same time, to enjoy the only documented works by Antoni Gaudí remaining in the province of Tarragona: the manifestador dating from 1879 (where the Holy Sacrament is held), made from gilded wood of enormous proportions, resting on a marble column, and the altar (1880) with its thick table or mensa, and a frontal made up of three quadrants holding the busts of angels framed by columns. The Neo-Gothic style church (1879) has three naves subdivided by twelve cast iron columns, exceptionally slender and ornamented with geometric floral decorations: it reminds us of the chapel of the Episcopal Palace of Astorga (León), commissioned to Gaudí by Bishop Joan Bta. Grau Vallespinós, the architect's patron when he was Canon and Senior Vicar of the Archbishopric of Tarragona. It also has a choir and a shrine where, in the vault of the tambour, you can see Gaudí's catenary arches encircling pictorial series. The actual artist is unknown, though there is no doubt that Gaudí was involved. During the destruction of the Civil War (1936-1939), the church was profaned and the early image of the Virgin, the tabernacle, the extraordinary conventual seating, also by Gaudí, and the manifestador all disappeared; the current one is an exact replica made by Ferran de Castellarnau.

Church service: 7:00 pm; Sundays and bank holidays, 12:30 pm 

C. Méndez Núñez, 14
41.114124000000, 1.252420000000