Colegio de Fonesca, Santiago de Compostela
This early renaissance school was commissioned by Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela Alonso de Fonseca, converting the house where he was born and which belonged to his very influential family for educational purposes. It began its function in 1544 and was later used to house the University of Compostela, created with the patronage of his family at the beginning of the century. Its Renaissance facade consists of two sections with Gothic statues in the intercolumniations and in the frieze niches. In the centre of the facade, in the middle of the frieze separating the building’s two sections, the Fonseca coat of arms with five stars stands out, surrounded by images representing the Doctors of the Church.
Inside we can visit the courtyard bordered by an epigraphic legend, made by Gil de Hontañón. To the right of the door there is the entrance of the Gothic chapel and to the left, the entrance of the Coffered Hall. It presently houses the General University Library. There is the monument to Archbishop Alonso Fonseca, he is looking like as if he’s speaking his cell phone. That’s why a lot of tourists are taking the pictures of them standing near the monument and copying the pose of Alonso Fonseca. But tourists are holding their cell phones in the left hand.
By the way, later Fonseca changed his cathedra and besome the Archbishop of Toledo. In 1527 he baptized Infant Don Philip the future King of Spain Philip II.
Courtyard usually opened during the University working hours (Monday-Friday, 9 am-9 pm); hall with coffered ceiling and Gothic chapel during exhibition hall hours (Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-2 pm and 5-8.30 pm; Sunday, 11 am-2 pm).
The Colegio de Santiago Alfeo or de Fonseca is considered to be the origin of Compostela University started in 1544. Construction was ordered by Archbishop Alonso de Fonseca III, it was designed by the architect Juan de Alava and built by Alonso de Covarruvias. It is made from granite masonry, the facade is Plateresque in style with some Ogival elements.
It is in two sections with Gothic statues between the columns and in the niches of the frieze. Those on the lower section show St. James and the Virgin Mary. In the centre, a coat of arms with the five stars of the Fonseca family. Through the doorway, there is the Gothic chapel and the Coffered Hall, old college refectory, where Galicia´s first autonomous government was provisionally installed.
Nowadays the building is used as a general library and the university exhibitions gallery.
It is a beautiful stone monastery from the 15th century, now the university main library where the famous 11th century manuscript "Libro de Hojas" is kept.. It was founded by Alfonso III de Fonseca.