Ourense Cathedral

Ourense, Spain

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. It contains an image of Christ, which was brought in 1330 from a small church on Cape Finisterre. John the Baptist's Chapel (Capilla de San Juan Bautista) was created in 1468 by the Conde de Benavente.

The Portal of Paradise is sculptured and enriched with figures of angels and saints, while the antique cloisters were erected in 1204 by Bishop Ederonio. The Capilla de la Maria Madre was restored in 1722, and connected by the cloisters with the cathedral. The eight canons were called Cardenales, as at Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and they alone did services before the altar; this custom was recognised as 'immemorial' by Pope Innocent III, in 1209. The cathedral, which has undergone an impressive transition of architectural styles of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical, was built to a Latin Cross plan. It has been a functional basilica since 1887. The cathedral has a crucifix that is held in great reverence all over Galicia.

The cathedral museum is accessed through the Romanesque door leading to the Gothic cloisters known as Claustra Nova. Artifacts include El Incunable de Monterrey, the first book published in Galicia in 1494, Enrique de Arfe's processional cross, 13th-century enamels from Limoges, the so-called Treasure of San Rosendo and the oldest Christian tombstone in Galicia from Baños de Bande.

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Founded: 1220
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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