Hospital de las Cinco Llagas (Hospital of the Five Holy Wounds) – Seville, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Hospital de las Cinco Llagas (Hospital of the Five Holy Wounds)

The current seat of the Parliament of Andalusia was once the epicenter of the Great Plague of Seville.  


During the 17th century, a quarter of Seville’s population died during a plague. The main hospital, where a majority of the patients were brought, was the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas (Hospital of the Five Holy Wounds). Despite its size, there were so many ill patients during the plague that those near death were often found crowded on the esplanade. According to the chronicler Ortiz de Zuñiga, of around 26,700 plague victims who entered the hospital alive, about 22,900 parished.

The building was designed by Martín de Gainza, who supervised its construction until his death in 1556. Hernán Ruiz II was commissioned to continue the project and the hospital was inaugurated two years later.

Built outside the walls of Seville with around 10 courtyards, the entire complex is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Andalusia. It stood in stark contrast to the other structures around the chaotic medieval city.

It was the biggest building in Spain until the construction of the El Escorial. It consists of two long facades, complete with two towers at each end. The mannerist access is made of white marble with columns and a balcony topped with the shield of the foundation of the Five Wounds. The church located in the central courtyard has a Latin cross plan and is the current parliament’s session room.

The hospital operated until 1972. It was then abandoned for several years before it was converted into the seat of the Parliament of Andalusian.   

To this day, stories of ghastly and paranormal tales haunt the building’s legacy. The most well known being the ghost of a nun named Sister Ursula, who is said to still wander the corridors looking for patients. Politicians, even the former president of the parliament have told stories of strange happenings around the old hospital. 

Know Before You Go

The visit to the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas, seat of the Andalusian Parliament,  guided tours are offered on request by mail or phone (34 954 59 59 29), from Monday to Friday 10: 00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free.

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