Even though today it is a luxurious hotel, the Seminary of Saint Antonio Abad and its church represents one of the most beautiful and best-preserved architectonical and religious examples of our city. It dates towards 1598 when the Bishop Antonio de la Raya ordered the foundation of this study house that in 1692 turned into Universidad Regia y Pontificia under the protection of the Bishop Mollinedo.
Exactly as we admire it today, the small church was built according to orders of Mollinedo between 1678 and 1699. Its sober stone façade was built on the quiet square of the Nazarenas as part of a real monumental urban group. Above the façade of disgusting classics there is an elliptic choral window protected by two elegant belfries of one wall. These are almost the same as the belfry of the next chapel in the old house for lay sisters of the Nazarenas in the famous «House of Snakes» for the numerous snakes that were decorating those walls of Inca origin.
A baroque jewel
Nowadays, the entrance of this church is the lateral door leading to the cloister. It has only one nave and a wood cover contrasting the exuberant inner decoration. Everything is in baroque style and golden: the altars, the pulpit, the paintings’ frames and the choir tribunes going up to the middle of the nave with its usual carving in baroque style.
The main retablo
It has three bodies and streets. It was carved by Juan Estevan Alvarez in 1698 and the following year Agustín Torres joint one of the lateral altars. Alvarez is probably the author of the pulpit too. Supporter of the cathedral style, he is one of the last representants of this glorious time.
The life of San Antonio
Great canvases of the life of San Antonio Abad are holding over the lateral walls. These paintings as well as their rich frames fit the architectonical shapes of the nave. According to Mesa-Gisbert, its construction dates from 1700-1720 and its anonymous author known as the «master San Antonio» should have inspired in some stamps of the famous French carver: Jacques Callot. Among the group, the scene of the temptations of San Antonio Abad is outstanding. There, we can admire the character surrounded by many devils that remind us of the fantastic art of Bosco y Brueghel.
The facade of the Seminary was carved after the foundation of the university in 1692 y rebuilt in 1736. It has only one body and the vaulted niche of the saint is in the center, at both sides we can see the royal coat of arms of Spain and the Bishop Mollinedo, both carved in stone.
The old room
After the entrance, on the right, we find the old room now turned into the reception lounge of a hotel. Here, there is an exhibition of selected paintings of the Academy of Cusco. Most of them were part of the collection of Orihuela as well as the colonial woodcarvings and furniture. The two cloisters of the Seminary and the adjoining rooms have been restored perfectly. Everywhere, we can find religious paintings and the portraits of seminaries or well-known teachers such as the writer and the sacred speaker Juan de Espinosa Medrano mostly known as the «Lunarejo» (person full of moles)