Catedral Vieja de Santa Maria (Old Cathedral of Salamanca), Salamanca

Catedral Vieja de Santa Maria (Old Cathedral of Salamanca), Salamanca (must see)

The Old Cathedral's official name is the Cathedral of Saint Mary (Catedral de Santa Maria). The cathedral was founded in 1120 by Salamanca's first bishop, Jerome of Perigord. Construction continued until the final days of the 14th century.

This was an era of transition in many buildings, from Romanesque to Gothic styles. The shift from Romanesque to Gothic is abrupt. Construction of the New Cathedral lasted from 1520 to 1733. The Old Cathedral remained open, and the decision to demolish it was kept on hold.

The cathedral has a basilica plan and a Latin cross. It has three naves and a chevet with three cylindrical apses with semicircular windows. The religious edifice was built with a fortress in mind, but the original battlements are gone.

The impressive dome above the transept is held up by massive pendentives. The outer shape is conical, decorated with scales, and crowned with a rooster weather vane, giving it the name, "Tower of the Rooster." The dome sits on a drum of 16 columns and 32 windows. It was restrengthened in the 19th century to avoid collapse.

Inside, the main 15th-century altarpiece is by artist Nicolas Florentino, who also did the upper fresco of The Last Judgment. The chapel of San Martin is housed in the hollow of the bell tower. There is a painting of Saint Martin sharing his cape with a beggar. The chapel holds several tombs from the 12th and 13 centuries.

There are the Chapels of San Salvador and Santa Barbara on the eastern and southern sides of the old cloister. San Salvador is the oldest. There is a tomb in the center, under the Islamic-style dome. The Chapel of Santa Barbara served as the examination room for bachelor and doctoral candidates.

The chapter rooms of the cloister, built in 1526, house the Cathedral Museum. The Chapel of Santa Catalina dates from the 12th century. The largest room, it is used for cultural events and conferences. The Chapel of San Bartolome holds the tomb of Diego de Anaya, who founded the College of San Bartolome.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Salamanca. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Catedral Vieja de Santa Maria (Old Cathedral of Salamanca) on Map

Sight Name: Catedral Vieja de Santa Maria (Old Cathedral of Salamanca)
Sight Location: Salamanca, Spain (See walking tours in Salamanca)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Salamanca, Spain

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Create Your Own Walk in Salamanca

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