Located inside the former Hospital of San Julian, the Museo de la Semana Santa invites visitors to explore behind-the-scenes of a Holy Week procession in Málaga. There are several rooms showcasing processional robes and thrones, as well as fine art and music related to the Semana Santa. The exhibitions highlight the evolution of the Holy Week traditions and conclude with a video documentary. The museum also houses a large collection of the official publicity posters for Holy Week in Malaga and a room dedicated to presenting five centuries of religious brotherhoods (Cofradía) in Málaga with displays of objects and documents.
The museum is definitely worth a visit just to see the architecture of the building, including a courtyard framed by white marble columns and an elegant staircase leading to the top floor, as well as the beautiful Church of the Hospital of San Julián where visitors can gain an insight into the reality of life as part of a religious brotherhood.
The Holy Week Museum (Museo de la Semana Santa) is dedicated to the processions that occur in Malaga during Holy Week. This is the first museum of its kind in Andalusia. Malaga is known for its Holy Week processions and is one of the few cities in Spain where all the thrones are carried on the shoulders of men and women. Other cities use thrones that are on wheels, and these are pushed by men under the thrones, which of course is much easier that carrying the thrones on the shoulders of men. It should also be noted that Malaga has the largest thrones in Spain, many of them having to be carried by at least 300 men and women.
The first Holy Week processions in Malaga took place 500 years ago, in the 16th century. The processions were a popular expression of the Christian faith by the people who took part in them, and they still are today, an outpouring of religious emotions by the people who take part in them and by the spectators. The cofradias (brotherhoods) were the organizations that organized the processions. Today there are 42 cofradias in Malaga and they all cooperated in opening the museum as a group.
The themes explained in the museum are the origin and evaluation of the brotherhoods, the processional routes, the processional image, the making of the images, the dressing of the images, the sculpture and the music. One will find many sculptures, costumes, gold and silverware used in the processions, and a large silver throne that was dismantled to bring it to the second floor of the museum. There is also a large audio visual room where 66 persons can sit and watch videos of the processions. This museum is a wonderful museum to see and experience. All explanations in the museum are both in Spanish and English.