The cloister of Santo Domingo, from the 17th century, is a huge puzzle of 600 stone pieces that are being assembled one by one in their original place. They were numbered and removed in 2011 because the archway was anchored to the annex residential building and collapsed in the earthquakes. Now, twelve years later, the complex recovery process, which has included various changes to the project due to unexpected archaeological finds, is beginning to come to an end. The entire lower section of the arcade has already been assembled using traditional techniques and the restoration should be completed within two months.
Now the Dominican cloister will be very different, because the columns on which the three facades of stone arches sit at two heights have been placed on top of the pilasters that came to light after excavating more than a meter below the level of the sidewalk. , so you gain in height. In addition, a supporting concrete structure of the same size and shape as the arches has been created where they are attached with anti-seismic anchors. In this way, they have become independent of the block of flats, since, according to the architects, this anchorage could have contributed to the collapse of one of the sections of the arcade during the earthquakes.
Separating the cloister from the building, built in the 80s of the last century, has also had the consequence of changing its appearance, because its balconies have been cut 80 centimeters.
The carver and restorer Teodoro Campoy, who is directing the work, assured that the pilasters found make the cloister of Santo Domingo “unique in the Spanish Levant” because its structure is unusual. Almost all the pieces will be original and the reinstatements will be made with lime-based mortar.
The acting Councilor for Culture, Ángeles Mazuecos, said that the original tiles found during the excavations were removed to prevent their deterioration and are kept in the Archaeological Museum. The cloister will be accessible, so it can also have a cultural use, glass railings will be placed to view it from the street and special lighting to highlight its structure.
He acknowledged that it has been a “complicated work” and expressed his satisfaction because “we have recovered part of the city’s heritage, which is what a City Council has to do.”
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