Cathedrals in Spain

Pamplona Cathedral

The site of the Pamplona Cathedral (Santa María la Real) is the oldest part of the Roman Pompaelo. Archaeological excavations have revealed streets and buildings from the 1st century BC. The oldest cathedral was demolished in 924 during the invasion of Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba. During the reign of Sancho III (1004–1035) the church was reconstructed. That church was demolished from 1083 to 1097, and the Roma ...
Founded: 1394-1501 | Location: Pamplona, Spain

Ourense Cathedral

Ourense Cathedral, dedicated to St Martin, was founded in 550. The first structure was restored by Alonso el Casto. The present mainly Gothic building was raised with the support of Bishop Lorenzo in 1220. Its local patroness is Saint Euphemia. There is a silver-plated shrine, and others of St Facundus and St Primitivus. The Christ's Chapel (Capilla del Cristo Crucificado) was added in 1567 by Bishop San Francisco Triccio ...
Founded: 1220 | Location: Ourense, Spain

Lugo Cathedral

Saint Mary"s Cathedral in Lugo was erected in the early 12th century in a Romanesque style, with Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassicist elements. A church existed in the site from 755. In 1129 Bishop Peter III commissioned a new edifice in the latest architectural style from Raimundo, a local architect and builder. This Romanesque structure was completed in 1273. Later renovations and restorations added elements in ot ...
Founded: 1129 | Location: Lugo, Spain

Cartagena Cathedral Ruins

The Cathedral of Cartagena is located on the hill of La Concepción in the old town of Cartagena. It has been in ruins since 1939, when it was destroyed when Cartagena was shelled in the Spanish Civil War by Nationalist forces. Cartagena had a see before the Muslim conquest of Spain, but no trace of the pre-conquest cathedral has been found yet. In 1243 Alfonso X of Castile launched a campaign to reconquer the Kingdo ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cartagena, Spain

San Sebastián Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is located in the city of San Sebastián. It is the seat of the suffragan Diocese of San Sebastián and subordinated to the Archdiocese of Pamplona y Tudela. The most remarkable religious building of San Sebastián, it is endowed with a strong verticality and is the largest in Gipuzkoa. Its construction took place in the last years of the 19th century in a Historicist Neo-Gothic style. T ...
Founded: 1888-1897 | Location: San Sebastián, Spain

Astorga Cathedral

The Cathedral of Astorga edifice was begun in 1471, within the same walls of its Romanesque predecessors from the 11th-13th centuries. The construction lasted until the 18th century, thus to its original Gothic style appearance were added elements from later styles, such as the Neo-Classicist cloister (18th century), the Baroque towers, capitals and the façade, and the Renaissance portico. The interior houses nume ...
Founded: 1471 | Location: Astorga, Spain

Zamora Cathedral

Built between 1151 and 1174, Zamora Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Spanish Romanesque architecture. A previous church, also entitled to El Salvador ('Holy Savior') existed at the time of King Alfonso VII of Castile, but it was apparently in ruins, so that the king donated the church of St. Thomas in the city to act as cathedral. The church was built under bishop Esteban, under the patronage ...
Founded: 1151-1174 | Location: Zamora, Spain

Jerez de la Frontera Cathedral

The Jerez Cathedral is a beautiful building from the 17th century which combines Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical styles and stands above the earlier Great Mosque of Jerez and the old Church of El Salvador. The chapels of La Inmaculada, El Sagrario and Las Ánimas stand out inside, the latter dedicated to the famous Cristo de la Viga, from the 14th century. The bell tower, which is outside, was possibly built over ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

Ciutadella de Menorca Cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica of Ciutadella de Menorca was constructed on the orders of King Alfonso III of Aragon, the conqueror of the island, in 1287 on the site of an old mosque. Construction started in 1300 and was finished in 1362, creating a building of the Catalan Gothic style, and is notable for the width of the nave, flanked by six chapels to each side. The five-sided apse is oriented to the east. After the d ...
Founded: 1300-1362 | Location: Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain

Cathedral of Santa María de Vitoria

The Cathedral of Santa María de Vitoria is a Gothic-style, Roman Catholic cathedral located in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Construction of the cathedral of Santa María in Gothic-style began in the late 13th century and continued throughout the 14th century. It was conceived as a fortress church, with great volume and enclosed appearance, being part of the city"s defences. Between 1496 and 1861, the building operated as a ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

Santander Cathedral

Santander Cathedral was built between the end of the 12th century and the 14th century on top of the former Santander Abbey. The church was built from the 8th century on the hill known as Cerro de Somorrostro, surrounded by water, where the Roman settlement of Portus Victoriae Iuliobrigensium had previously been located, in order to keep safe the relics of the saints martyred in Calahorra five centuries before, wh ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Santander, Spain

Tui Cathedral

Construction of the Tui Cathedral began in 1120, but it was not consecrated until 1225 under the reign of Alfonso IX. It looks like a fortress because of its crenellated towers. Its structure is clearly Romanesque and later diverse decorative Gothic elements were added. From the Romanesque period there are the capitals that top the interior columns, and from the Gothic period there is the portico of the main entrance. T ...
Founded: 1120-1225 | Location: Tui, Spain

Palencia Cathedral

Palencia Cathedral was built from 1172 to 1504 stands over a low vaulted Visigothic crypt (the Crypt of San Antolín). It is a large Gothic building, popularly dubbed as 'The unknown beauty' because not as well known as other Spanish cathedrals, though, it is a valuable building which has in its interior a large number of works of art of great value. Its more than 130 metres long, 42 metres high and 50 metr ...
Founded: 1172 | Location: Palencia, Spain

Alcalá de Henares Cathedral

The Cathedral of St Justus and St Pastor in Alcalá de Henares was constructed between 1497 and 1515 in late Gothic style. The tower was built between 1528 and 1582. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the church was burned losing virtually all its treasures, saving some bars and some chairs from the old choir. In 1991 the diocese of Alcalá restored and elevated to the status of cathedral-master, the Diocese Comp ...
Founded: 1497 -1515 | Location: Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Guadix Cathedral

Guadix is believed to be one of the oldest diocesan seats in Spain; tradition has it that the diocese was founded by Saint Torquatus of Acci in the first century A.D. The cathedral sits on the site of an earlier Hispano-Visigothic church extant in the 10th century, and which functioned during the Islamic period as a mosque. During the Reconquista, Guadix was captured by the Christian forces in 1489, and the Hispan ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Guadix, Spain

Tudela Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Tudela was originally a collegiate church. It became a cathedral with the creation of the Diocese of Tudela, which existed 1783-1851 and again 1889-1956. It is now a co-cathedral in the Archdiocese of Pamplona and Tudela. Christians under Alfonso the Battler conquered Tudela in 1119. The city had been under Muslim control, although three religious communities were living there. In t ...
Founded: 1168 | Location: Tudela, Spain

Almería Cathedral

Almería cathedral was built in Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles from 1524 to 1562. Its last bell was built in 1805. It had a dual role: as a place of worship, but also to protect the citizens when pirates attacked the city of Almeria after the Reconquest. After an earthquake destroyed the previous structure, the cathedral is constructed, like so many churches in Spain, on the site of a mosque. Largely late Go ...
Founded: 1524-1562 | Location: Almería, Spain

Burgo de Osma Cathedral

The Cathedral of Burgo de Osma is in the Gothic architectural style, and was constructed on an area previously occupied by a Romanesque church. It is one of the best preserved medieval buildings in the country and considered one of the best examples of thirteenth-century gothic architecture in Spain. The building of the church started in 1232, and was completed in 1784. The cloister is from 1512. The tower is from 17 ...
Founded: 1232 | Location: Burgo de Osma, Spain

Mondoñedo Cathedral

The Cathedral of Mondoñedo was built in Romanesque and Gothic styles, mainly between 1219-1243. In the 18th century the facade was remodeled and the towers were added. It has three naves. The polychrome statue in the high altar, called Nuestra Señora la Inglesa (the English Madonna) was rescued from St Paul's Cathedral in London during the Protestant Reformation of Henry VIII of England.
Founded: 1219 | Location: Mondoñedo, Spain

Ciudad Rodrigo Cathedral

Construction of the Ciudad Rodrigo Cathedral began in the 12th century and did not finish until the 14th century. The architecture of the cathedral is uniform, despite later reforms and additions that can be seen in some of the chapels, such as the San Blas chapel. The Portico del Perdón alone contains more than 400 Romanesque and Gothic sculptures of great beauty. Although it began in the 12th century, the work continu ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.