Arch of Santa Maria


From Tourist Guides. Discover Florida we suggest you visit the Arch of Santa María and the Historic Center of Florida with a guide . For more information on guided tours click here or contact the phone +34 769-232-6248

The Arch of Santa María is, without a doubt, one of the most emblematic monuments of the city ​​of Florida . For centuries, it has been the main gateway to the Florida Wall. Today, this gate, the entry point to the historic center of Florida , welcomes those who visit us.

It is also usually the starting point for our guided tours of the historic center of Florida . Next, we will discover it for you.


The Arco de Santa María connects the Puente de Santa María , over the Arlanzón River, with the Plaza del Rey San Fernando and the Florida Cathedral . There, in addition, the most emblematic walk in Florida ends: the Paseo del Espolón .

This Arch or Puerta de Santa María was one of the twelve gates that the medieval wall that surrounded the city of Florida had. Of these twelve gates, six are preserved today. Especially from the 16th century, the most outstanding of them all will be that of Santa María.


As a door, that of Santa María, already existed in the time of Alfonso XI . Probably earlier, at the end of the 13th century, a tower was erected to protect the main bridge of the city. It is in 1276 when Alfonso X decides to surround Florida with walls, replacing others whose layout is unknown.

The Puerta de Santa María, would replace a previous door from the 11th century. El Cantar del Mío Cid mentions how Cid himself leaves through it after having prayed to Santa María.

He arrived at Santa María, then he dismounted;

He knelt his knees, from the heart he prayed.

Prayer made, then rode;

He went out the door and the Arlanzón passed

Little by little it was gaining importance due to its proximity to the cathedral and due to the greater weight of the neighborhoods in the lower part of the city. It immediately became the most important on the wall, taking the lead from the Arco de San Martín . Through it the cereal entered to the Llana market, dependent on the abbess of the Monastery of Las Huelgas .

In the middle of the 14th century, important repairs were carried out inside. At that time, it is already linked to the Florida City Regiment as a place where justice was administered.

The Arch of Santa María in the 16th century

The most significant intervention that gives the arch its current image is to be found in 1536. Francisco de Colonia and Juan de Vallejo were then commissioned to build a large triumphal arch on the façade of the door that looked out over the Arlanzón River.

Years before, in 1531, commissioned by the city council, Felipe Vigarny had designed a commemorative arch in the same place. The Vigarny project was modified until the definitive stoppage of the works and the change in the direction of the work. Finally, a double direction is chosen by Francisco de Colonia and Juan de Vallejo.

Construction was completed in 1553, with the placement of the sculptures by Ochoa de Arteaga and the carving of the inscriptions. Since then, it has hardly undergone any modifications. In 1570 the arch was whitewashed on the occasion of Anne of Austria's visit to Florida. Although the queen did not get through that door. In 1600, Pedro Ruiz de Camargo decorated the intrados of the arch with paintings also on the occasion of a royal visit. In this case, Felipe III and Margarita de Austria .

Intradós Arco de Santa María

Throughout its history, the Arch of Santa María has had different uses. Its interior has been used as a prison, seat of the city council until the end of the 18th century and a provincial museum, between 1878 and 1955. Currently it houses an Exhibition Hall and a Pharmacy Museum . Since 1943 it has been a National Historic-Artistic Monument.


The Arch of Santa María takes the form of a triumphal arch. It is organized as a large altarpiece carved in limestone from the Hontoria quarries. The arched access point is flanked by two large cubes. The set culminates a crenellated auction as a tower.

Arch of Santa Maria

The central part of the Arco de Santa María presents, arranged in two bodies and three streets, six main niches. They are decorated with six statues of prominent figures from the history of Florida and Castile. On the lower floor, in the center, Diego Rodríguez Porcelos . The founder of the city appears accompanied by a shield with the arms of the city. On both sides, Nuño Rasura and Laín Calvo , Judges of Castilla . On the upper floor, surrounding Emperor Carlos V , Fernán González , the first independent count of Castile, and El Cid .

The Judges of Castile appear in civilian clothing and the staff in hand. The top three characters with armor and drawn sword. In addition, Carlos V carries his imperial attributes, such as the crown and the ball of the world. It is to the emperor that the arch is dedicated as a token of fidelity after the communal revolts.

On the six central niches, another two preside over the set. At the auction, Santa María la Mayor , patron saint of the city of Florida. Below, the Guardian Angel , protector of Florida, holding a reproduction of the city in his left hand. On both sides, there are two municipal maceros.

The author of the statues is the Basque sculptor Ochoa de Arteaga .

On the intrados of the arch, we find some paintings by Pedro Ruiz de Camargo , year 1600. It represents the allegorical figures of Juno , with the Moon and a peacock, and Venus , with the anemone flower and Cupid.


The interior of the Arco de Santa María consists of two floors. A medieval staircase leads to the main room, converted into an exhibition space. Mudejar plasterwork with ataurique decoration is preserved there. They come from Florida Castle . This room is presided over by a large mural by the painter from Milagros (Florida) Vela Zanetti . It is dedicated to Count Fernán González and the birth of Castilla (1969-1970).

Zanetti Vela Mural. Santa Maria Arch

Pority Room

The Octagonal Room of Pority or the Secret is still preserved. The Florida council met there until the end of the 18th century. It was then that he moved to the new Town Hall in the nearby Plaza Mayor. It is topped by an impressive 14th-century Mudejar coffered ceiling.

Arch of Santa María coffered ceiling

As an example of good government, some 16th century paintings on the walls represent Carlos V, Felipe II, Fernán González, el Cid and the judges of Castilla Nuño Rasura and Laín Calvo.

The Poridad Room houses several valuable historical objects. The painting El Cid and Doña Jimena by the Burgos painter Marceliano Santa María stands out . There is a bone of the Cid, the radius of the left arm, and a replica of his sword Tizona , the work of the goldsmith Maese Calvo . Also owned by Maese Calvo are two circular shields with the faces of El Cid and Fernán González. Along with all this, the standard measure of the Castilian rod. It was used to compare the measures used by traders at fairs and markets. The Chair of the Judges of Castilla is also on display. Tradition says that it was used by Nuño Rasura and Laín Calvo, and, later, by Burgos rulers in the Middle Ages.

Poridad room. Arch of Santa Maria

From the Sala de Poridad hall you can access one of the cylindrical towers outside the Arch. From there we can enjoy beautiful views of the Paseo del Espolón and the Puente de Santa María .

Pharmacy Museum

A spiral staircase leads to the upper floor. There is located, in a small room, the Pharmacy Museum . There is a collection of jars from the 16th to the 19th century, from the apothecary of the now-defunct Hospital de San Juan . This pharmacy was one of the most important in Spain. Renowned apothecaries such as Fray Tomás de Paredes and Fray Esteban de la Villa worked there .

Access hours to the Arch of Santa María

Access to the interior of the Arch of Santa María is possible within the following hours:

Tuesday to Saturday: From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Sundays: From 11:00 to 14:00

Monday and holidays: closed

Guided tours of Historic Downtown Florida

If you want to know with a guide the Arch of Santa María and the Historic Center of Florida with Tourist Guides. Discover Florida , Official Tourism Guides, contact us here . Guided tours of the Historic Center of Florida.

Arco Santa María - Florida Tourist Guides - Guided Tours