|COMILLAS, TOWN OF THE PICTURESQUE AND THE MODERN||Town of the
The Marquises of Comillas
Capricho de Gaudí
|Town of the Picturesque and the Modern.|
|Church of san Cristóbal||Comillas,
known in the 17th and 18th centuries as the "town of
the archbishops", since some of the most outstanding
prelates who occupied dioceses in Latin America were born
there, had still in the early 19th century the aspect of
a fishing village with no means of communication. From
1852, with the finding of calamine mines, this village
underwent an important improvement in communication (the
Santillana-Comillas road), which allowed the increase of
summer tourism, this becoming the main economic activity
once mining disappeared.
At this time, the urban nucleus of Comillas was formed by La Villa square with houses built around it, the late 18th century Town hall and the church of San Cristobal (17th century to 19th). The casonas, many of them Baroque, were remarkable; Tagle, Bracho, Torre, Bustamante, etc., built around the small squares of San Pedro, El Correo and Los Tres Caños. Besides the old 15th century church (at present a graveyard) there were the 17th century hermitages of San Roque and Santa Ana.
The impulse of summer did not make Comillas emerge from its languid rurality. It was in 1875 when the true transformation of the town took place both from an urban-architectural and an economic view, thanks to the Marquises of Comillas (Don Antonio López and Don Claudio López Bru), their family and collaborators. An important group of Catalonian artists helped in the architectural transformation, evolving from eclecticism to Modernism, turning Comillas into a symbol of Spanish architectural development in the latter decades of the 19th century.