The Capela da Virxe Peregrina is a highly unusual building situated in the Praza de Peregrina (square of the pilgrim) in Pontevedra city centre.
This chapel is unique and distinctive and attracts the attention of everyone who sees it. It was built in 1778 and is positioned on the main pilgrim's route that leads to Santiago de Compostela from Portugal.
The chapel is a fusion of Baroque detailing with some neo classical design elements. What makes the structure unique and eye catching is not however its intricate detailing (although there is plenty of that), but its shape and form in plan. The chapel has a ground plan in the shape of the viera (scallop shell), the traditional and long lasting symbol of pilgrims and the pilgrim's route to Santiago de Compostela.
From the outside the chapel looks 'stocky' but it is also strangely narrow and appears to be almost circular. It has a symmetrical appearance with several small windows climbing vertically up its facade and two small towers at it head. The portico is elaborate and has an equally decorative drinking fountain in front of it with a stair either side that takes visitors up to the entrance level, about four feet above the main square.
Inside the Pilgrims chapel there is a neo classical alter that dates from 1789. Its main feature is an image of Pontevedra's patron saint, the virgin pilgrim. The inside of the chapel is extremely small and none but pilgrims entered it when we were there.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.