Cathedrals in 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

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

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

Huelva Cathedral

The convent church from the 17th century was destroyed by several earthquakes in the 18th century. A church rebuilt in 1775 in Neoclassical style. The church was declared a National Monument in 1970, and was elevated to the status of a cathedral in 1953.
Founded: 1775 | Location: Huelva, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.