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Church of Santiago Apóstol, Pomata, Chucuito Province, Puno Region, Peru. Part 3: The main facade (c. 1794). 

Facing a narrow street leading to the town´s  square, the main facade of the church of Santiago at Pomata is more austere than the lavish lateral portal, but in no way less impressive. It was the last part of the church to be built and it consists of a portal within a projecting arch flanked by two huge tower bases. This particular arrangement, in which the portal is placed inside a deep projecting arch is rather common in Puno Region, and it is present in the churches at Lampa, Zepita, Vilque, Juliaca, among others. The portal is a large structure, three stories high - with a smaller fourth story- , with three bays framed by twelve columns, four on each story. These columns are different from those in the lateral portal, having a straight shaft carved in planiforme or mestizo style depicting a human figure holding vines entwined with flowers and leaves. The capitals seem to be highly stylized versions of the Corinthian order, consisting of two pairs of volutes in the first story and two rows of vertical leaves in the second and third stories. The entablatures, reduced to just a cornice, are also entirely carved with planiforme motives. The huge choir window, deeply splayed, occupies the second and third stories while shallow niches fill the rest of the spaces between the columns. The portal fits rather awkwardly within the projecting arch, with the outside columns of the third story not supporting its corresponding entablature.

Two huge tower bases flank the projecting arch that houses the portal. Of these, only the right base holds a belfry, while in the other an inscription states that it was built in 1794 (Quiroga año 1794). Over the base of the right tower two superimposed stories support the large belfry, composed of two arched openings on each of its four sides -an arrangement that resembles that of Cusco Cathedral - topped by a small dome over a cornice, surrounded by four pinnacles.

Images: 

  1. General view of the main facade.
  2. Main portal of the church.
  3. Main portal of the church.
  4. Inscription on the left tower.
  5. Detail of the projecting arch.
  6. Detail of the first story of the portal.
  7. Detail of the first story of the portal.
  8. Upper stories of the portal.
  9. Portal and right tower.
  10. View of the right tower.

All photos by Juan P. El Sous (2017).