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The Old and the New Cathedral of Salamanca

The Old and the New Cathedral of Salamanca
  • (interesting)
  • less than 1 km
  • Easy
  • Low
  • 2 hours
  • 1 1

16th and 18th centuries Cathedrals in the ever-beautiful city of Salamanca

Plaza de Anaya/Calle Cardenal Pla y Deniel, Salamanca, Spain

The Old Cathedral (“Catedral Vieja de Santa Maria”):​­ One of the interesting facts about this place is the location. As you can see in the address I put Plaza de Anaya as well as the street Cardenal Pla y Deniel because the old cathedral is connected to the new one and it takes up a lot space. Trust me, these buildings are humongous. It is still unbelievable for me that in the 12th century people could actually build these huge buildings without modern technology. This fantastic church was built between the 12th and the 14th century. It is one the two cathedrals of Salamanca, the other one being the new cathedral (but we will speak about that one later). As Spain was heavily influenced by the Roman empire, the old cathedral began to be constructed in a Romanesque style, but was finished in Gothic style in the 14th century. As you approach the cathedral, one of the most eye­catching features is the cupola of the church that has a rooster on the top. Further on, the closer you get the more amazing it is because you can discover the small details of the architecture. There are thousands of small statues on the sides and on the columns of the building. The inside is even more astonishing: It has fifteen habitations. These include chapels, rooms, an inside open court and the grand altar where people still go to pray. Each room is decorated to the fullest with sculptures and paintings. But no more spoil alerts, you have to go and see. It is worth a visit!


Tourist Info: For about 6 euros ($7-­$8), you can get in to visit the ground floor of the old and the new cathedral. For an extra 3­4 euros you can rent headphones in which you can listen to the full history of each chapel and room. You can listen in Spanish, English and French.


The New Cathedral (“Catedral Nueva”)­​: This ‘newer’ cathedral was built between in the 16th and 18th century in Gothic and Baroque styles. This monument was built during a time that Gothic arquitecture was going out of style but the architects wanted the new cathedral to melt in with the old so they just continued it in this style. The latter stages of construction, however there was added in a Baroque style. The first interesting feature of the new cathedral is the size of the building and the towers. The bell tower is immense with its 92 meters, it just takes your breath away (it can be climbed -a good selfie spot :)). The inside is spacious with a lot of small chapels dedicated to different purposes such as giving classes or praying. You can spend hours inside and still cannot see every bit of the building. One interesting room of the building is the tower room which was severely hit by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In the room there is a pretty cool video simulator which replicates the events of the disaster. Another interesting thing, well actually two things, are the carvings on the side door of the cathedral. If you look carefully you can discover an astronaut and a dragon with an ice cream cone. As you may guess, this is surrounded by a lot mystery and people may ask questions like: ‘How can this be? There were no astronauts or ice cream cones in the 18th century’. Well, you can read about all kind of theories and such but I think during the later restorations somebody just wanted to be funny and put those things there.


Tourist Info: ​To enter the tower and the terraces of the cathedral you have to pay around 3­4 euros (this does not include the ground floor of the cathedrals). If you get tired of climbing, after the visit you can grab a beer or a soda around the cathedrals. The drinks and food are fairly priced but you should look for places that say drink plus an aperitif (in Spanish: Bebida+tapa gratis).


Author: Frici Barabas

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  • The Old and the New Cathedral of Salamanca
The Old and the New Cathedral of Salamanca