surinenglish

Diocese delivers plan to finish cathedral more than 200 years after work stopped

A computer-generated view of what the cathedral would look like with two towers.
A computer-generated view of what the cathedral would look like with two towers. / SUR
  • Leaks from the roof have increased the need for repairs to the cathedral which include the construction of the missing south tower

Known locally as 'La Manquita' (or 'The One-Armed Lady'), Malaga Cathedral is principally recognised by its missing southern tower. However, this could be about to change after the Diocese of Malaga submitted its 'plan director' (long-term strategic plan) which, should it be approved, would open the tap for funding to complete the project.

Constructed between 1528 and 1782, the cathedral never gained its second tower the match the first. According to local legend, work stopped when funding was channelled away to help the United States gain independence from Great Britain. This is even recognised on a plaque at the base of the south tower. However, historians argue that there are no records of this ever happening. Instead, they suggest that it was an act of propaganda and that the money was used to renovate the road to Antequera.

Now, more than 200 years later, the second tower could be completed if the plan put forward by the bishopric in December is approved by the regional government.

The project has been mooted a number of times over the years, but as SUR understands, the Diocese of Malaga started thinking about the scheme again in mid-2016. The absence of a 'plan director' until now has held back appeals for funding, given the Ministry of Culture's strict set of criteria.

Now, the plan, put together by Madrid architect Gabriel Ruiz Cabrero with the collaboration of Juan Manuel Sánchez La Chica, follows a complete diagnostic analysis of the building which assessed its needs and has proposed possible solutions for the regional government to consider over the coming weeks.

The main aim is to stop the leaking from the roof, a problem that has remained unresolved since the unsuccessful project to add a 'second skin' nine years ago. The heavy downpours at the start of December only served to confirm the need for a solution.

However other works in the plan submitted by the diocese include the completion of the south tower and the façades, as well as improved accessibility to the archive and museum. The sacristy would also be made bigger.