Begun in the 16th century but not finished until 1768, Segovia Cathedral is the last Gothic cathedral to be built in Spain. Fronting the historic Plaza Mayor in Segovia, it stands on the spot where Isabella I was proclaimed Queen of Castile. Affectionately called la dama de las catedrales, Segovia Cathedral has a supremely Gothic exterior combined with a surprisingly bare interior, but contains numerous treasures.
History of Segovia Cathedral
Begun in 1525, the construction of Segovia Cathedral was ordered by Charles V to replace an earlier cathedral near the Alcázar, which had been destroyed during the War of the Comuneros, a revolt against that king.
The designs for the cathedral were drawn up by the leading late-Gothicist Juan Gil de Hontañón but executed by his son Rodrigo, in whose work can be seen a transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance style. The cathedral was finally completed in 1768 and consecrated on July 16 of that year.
What to See at Segovia Cathedral
Entrance is through the north transept. The interior, illuminated by 16th-century Flemish windows, is light, bare and uncluttered, with a large Gothic choir (15th-century, predating the cathedral) placed in the center. Across from the choir in the east end is the high altar, with an 18th-century altarpiece by Sabatini.
The walls and apse are lined with more than 20 chapels. The third chapel on your right from the entrance (Capilla de San Cosme y San Damian) has a lamentation group in wood by the 17th-century Baroque sculptor Gregorio Fernández.
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel (created by the flamboyant Churriguera) features stained-glass windows, elaborately carved choir stalls, and 16th- and 17th-century paintings, including a reredos portraying the deposition of Christ from the cross by Juan de Juni.
Across from the entrance, on the southern transept, is a door opening into the late-Gothic cloister, which is older than the cathedral — it and the elaborate door leading into it were transported from the old cathedral and are the work of architect Juan Guas.
Under the pavement immediately inside the cloisters are the tombs of Juan and Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón; that these two lie in a space designed by Guas is appropriate, for the three men together dominated the last phase of the Gothic style in Spain.
Off the cloister, a small museum of religious art, installed partly in the first-floor chapter house, has a white-and-gold 17th-century ceiling, a late example of Mudéjar artesonado work. The museum contains jewelry, paintings, and a collection of rare antique manuscripts.
Quick Facts on Segovia Cathedral
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||40.950227° N, 4.125779° W|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Segovia Cathedral|
- Personal visit (April 2, 2007) - Segovia blog
- Catedral de Segovia (brochure provided with admission).
- Fodor's Spain
- Frommer's Spain.
- Photos of Segovia Cathedral - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of Segovia Cathedral
Below is a location map and aerial view of Segovia Cathedral. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.