Archive for May 27th, 2018

May 27, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXIIII

Ok so this is the end of Sunday still with light outside, a bit cloudier but was sunny this afternoon ; now at  20C or about 68F. Today, usually is a rest day here staying with the family. However, we are still mourning the lost of my wife and we have been staying locally on weekends.

Today, we decided to try again to take our dog Rex on a long car ride. The first attempt failed as he vomit and was very nervous to get in the car. He was 5 months old.

Today he is already 6 months old and we did not give him food before and we took off for Vannes. The Conleau peninsula is very nice with a sea pool and walking trails, picnic tables, and just fun for the whole family.  This time he made it alright and we are thrill about it.

Vannes Vannes

Our Rex is a Borador, mix Border Collier and Labrador.  We got it from a local farm here and it has been a pleasure so far. Only sad part, my wife only saw him for 19 days once brought home as she went into the hospital for her cancer treatment that was not good enough. I have posted on that before in my blog.

He was still reluctant to get in the car and needed a bit of help by yours truly to get him in. We covered my car with a dog mat on the seats just in case and came prepare with everything. The ride was perfect.

We arrived late by about 14h30 and thought parking will be impossible with the nice weather we had but lucky once a tour in the parking we found a spot ,free parking.

We then, set out to do the walking along the marshes of the bay from sea water that comes first from the Gulf of Morbihan and beyond the Atlantic ocean. This is a natural setting very nice. The water makes for a protected harbor for pleasure boating and a sea water pool with sandy beach for the families, as well as playground for the kiddies. What is the Gulf of Morbihan well is all of us along the coast, plenty of things to do , here is more in English Gulf of Morbihan

We just took off with Rex on a walk and just stair at every dog he saw passing by except a couple of dames he was ready to go chasing lol!!!  He was on a leash by me ok ::)

Conleau is very tranquil nice quiet and pretty. It really started in the 20C with a couple of hamlets farm lands called the Petit Conleau ,and the  Grand Conleau. One of the farms today houses the Maison de la Nature or the nature house ; more on it in French here: Maison de la Nature

There are areas that we love here in addition to the above. In the Parc du Golfe you have entertainment, hotels, congress convention palace call the Chorus and the Vannes Aquarium as well as butterflies garden. More on these that I have written plenty before in my blog but for ease of location here are the webpages

Parc du Golfe Vannes

The Chorus

Aquarium Vannes

Butterflies Garden

There around the bay between the cruises passenger terminal entering the city of Vannes and the Peninsula of Conleau you have a wonderful park with a history of Brittany. This is the Pointe des Emigrées ,and this is what we did walk starting from Conleau (you can do the other way around too). You have info in French here from the dept 56 Morbihan tourist office: Pointe des Emigrées

In the 18C this place was calle the Pointe Kérero and was called the Pointe des Emigrées in memory of the executions by the French revolution of Bretons landing at Quiberon from England to fight it.  In 1795, 748 persons that were taken prisioners due to the failure of the landing in Quiberon were put upon the firing squad of execution: the leaders were executed in Vannes on the site call Garenne on a high overlooking the ramparts of today. 374 others were executed in the surroundings of Vannes and even some on the site of the Ermitage. To remember this barbaric act this site was symbolically name the Pointe des Emigrées or the Immigrants point. 

The site has been protected by the Coastal Conservatory since 1986. It is composed of several landscapes: Marshes , Moor, Pinewood, Salty meadows, mudflat, Prairies. There are many species of birds: Ash Heron, Snipe, etc. The plants characteristic of the site are the perforated St. John’s Wort, the Musky purple, the buttercup, the wild orchids, the reed, the Saule, etc.  The meadows are grazed by donkeys and sheep.

We love it for a nice peaceful walk while enjoying the different panels of history and the view of the bay,and nice food at the créperie de la guinguette or the cafe le Root at the Best Western hotel or Piano Barge, le café de Conleau also.

We did had to get Rex into the car again but the ride back home was nice as well. We will do this again as we are trying to get confortable with the car rides. Just a simple Sunday outing in the real living in France; sound familiar to your neck of the woods?

And for tonite, my oldest son did a wonderful NY cheesecake with real Philadelphia cream cheese that was very good. In memory of his loving Mom who used to do it for us and taught him well indeed. Good for the memories.

Enjoy your Sunday,now I go back to work and no holidays until the Bastille or National Day of July 14. Stay tune for my travels in …….

Enjoy your Sunday everyone, and remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all.

Tags: ,
May 27, 2018

The magnificent Cathedral of Cuenca!

Here we are on a sunny Sunday morning in my neck of the woods finally. It was raining a bit in the morning. I like to tell you about one Cathedral of Cuenca or the complete name in Spanish Catedral de Santa María y San Julián. Over the years upon  my requests for travel in the family, I have always tilted to Spain of course. Even if living as citizen now in another wonderful country of France, the blood calls. My family nicely has followed and onwards to Spain we went for many years for our long summer vacation.

This town of Cuenca up in the mountains of the Serrania of Cuenca we rented houses up 1400 meters, and use it as a base to travel all over the Castillas and Madrid and Valencia regions. It will always stay with me as right now they are sentimental souvenirs of our trip with my dear late wife Martine. She came to love it here, and always eager to go.

The Cathedral of Cuenca is a mayor work, do not think will give justice to it in one post ,even if done some general briefings on my other area posts in my blog. I have decided to give you some description on the Cathedral alone here.

The city was conquered back from the Arabs in September 21 1177 and king Alfonso VIII of Castilla brings the bishop’s seat here in 1183. The Cathedral was one of his priorities and it begun construction in 1196.  In the year 1208 had already made an important part of the works because it was possible to consecrate the main altar. In the year 1257, a large part of the structures were completed and the Episcopal palace was built. The work continued throughout the 13tC. In the year 1448 was modified its headboard, rising a giro similar to that of Toledo. It is known that the wife of King Alfonso VIII, Leonor Plantagenet was the inspiration of this majestic construction, advised by her Anglo-Norman advisors.  That is why the cathedral of Cuenca presents elements that differentiate it from the large number of Gothic cathedrals that exist in Spain-of French influence. The time when major modifications were introduced was in the fifteenth century.

The modifications both inside and outside have substantially changed their original architecture.  In the 16tC and 17C several works were carried out on the façade and several chapels and the cloister were built. In the 18C, renovations were made in the apse, pillars and in the interior decoration. In the year 1902, there was the collapse of the Giraldo or giro tower that caused huge damage to the facade so there was to rebuild it, in neo-Gothic style.

Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca

The cathedral is a Latin cross plant and has three naves with a large headboard that ends in a polygonal apse with seven sides and flanked by two naves on each side that serve as entrance to the Giro, made in 1448. Right on the cruise, a central vault is erected. The central nave is separated from the sides by means of large pointed arches that support on solid pillars of different thickness. Its triforium is unique in Spain, product of Anglo-Norman influence and more than its ornamental function highlights its original solution to counteract the thrust of the vaults. On the transept of the cathedral stands the Angel Tower, conceived as a lantern to give light to the cathedral. It receives the influences of the lanterns of square plant of Laón, Braine and many Burgundian churches. . The triforium of the Cathedral of Cuenca is a false triforium, as its nave has been reduced to a narrow corridor and its gallery has been fused with high windows to create a unique structure in Spain that serves as a transmission of forces from the vaults to the buttresses. Our journey begins on the right side we can enter the Chapel of Pilar. This chapel was founded in the year 1769 ,it has a polychrome wood altar that imitates marble and Jasper. The gate is from the 17C. On the walls there are six reliefs of was representing Saint Julian and the Virgin, Apparition of the Virgin to Santiago, Virgin with the Child, miracle of calender and imposition of the chasuble to San Ildefonso. The Crown of the Virgin is painted in the vault of the lantern. Inside it is preserved the burial of Bishop Wenceslas of Sigüensa.

I will take you to a very brief description of the  Chapels in this magnificent and seldom seen Cathedral but a must to visit.

Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca

The Chapel of the Apostles It was founded in the 16C. The work of the chapel began in 1528 the cover is organized in the purest Renaissance style. Its entrance portico is majestic and is made of carved stone with plateresque style grille. The main altar has a central altarpiece with sculptures of polychrome carving and paintings, from the 16C .

The Chapel of San Antolin ,it was made at the beginning of the 16C and is located at the angle of the nave with the cruise. It has a wooden gate and a decorative frieze of full mudejar style. It has a baptismal font located in the centre, also made in the 16C. On an altar appear paintings on another altar appears a sculpture of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the altar of St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist comes from the chapel called the Annunciation with two paintings from the 16C.

The Bishop’s Chapel , This stay owes its name to the function it represents. It serves as a private residence of the prelate and was founded by Cardinal and Bishop of Cuenca Jacobo de Veneris at the end of the 15C. It has a beautiful grille of the middle of the 16C, in which the Baptism of Christ is represented, the altar is of wood and alabaster polychrome The paintings of the altarpiece of the main altar are dedicated to San Julián, patron of the city. The altar of Santa Ana has an altarpiece made in the 17C and comes from the hermitage of Santa Ana.

Saint Martin Chapel was done in the middle of the 16C. It has a forged grille and made in 1548. The altarpiece of this chapel is dedicated to San Martín in Plateresque style with medallions made in alabaster, which combines polychrome wood, painting on board and Alabaster. Under the Arcosolio are the graves of the Montemayor that present statues of naturalistic style and a more evolved Gothic. The altar of the Angel of the guard is circumscribed to the Baroque style and has a Calvary made at the end of the 15C and early 16C, on a beam carved with plateresque motifs. Right on the chamfer of the wall lies the altar of the Immaculate. In front of these two altars is the altarpiece of San Fabián and San Sebastián, in Polychrome wood and with a varied iconography.

A Chapel of Our Lady of the Tabernacle , It was founded by the Cabildo in the year 1629  The works continued in the 17th century. It has three altarpieces-reliquary. The central dedicated on the right to San Julian and the left to the birth of the Virgin.

The main sacristy ,It is of Gothic style and is located behind a very large canvas of the wall in which the burials of two bishops are found. The works were completed in the year 1509. On its cover there are blasons and religious images. The drawer for ritual robes, made in walnut . La Dolorosa and a Virgin of Bethlehem are inserted. There are also several 17C  paintings made by Bocanegra and Sebastián Conca, representing the doctors of the Western Church.

The Chapter Room, It was built at the beginning of the 16C. It has magnificent doors made of carved walnut wood of plateresque style that contain several circular medallions and panels decorated with renaissance motifs. The coffered ceiling of the room is in Renaissance style with tints of the first Plateresque. It is separated from the cathedral by a small enclosure that was open until the 18C. In the second half of the 18C was added the painting that today covers it, of clear French influence. The Twelve apostles of the sides  done in 1649 for the Sala de los Reyes (kings room), transferred to the chapter house in the year 1779. On the current chorus are preserved, in the warheads, paintings of prophets who were part of that ensemble. Especially the pictorial ensemble with the figures of Christ and St. Matthias.

The Chapel of St. Helena ,It was founded as seen in the stone façade from the 16C and its grating dates from the year 1572. The altarpiece of its interior is made in the 16C  It is wood without polychrome. It emphasizes its predela by the deep animalistic study of the same one.

The Chapel of the Heart of Jesus or Capilla Honda , according to the chronicles this chapel was consecrated to the Virgin who carried Alfonso VIII when entering the city of Cuenca, where he was named Chapel of the Virgin of the Battles. It is also called the Honda Chapel because it is located well below the level of the cathedral floor. The current construction dates from the beginning of the 16C, although it still has magnificent mudejar doors made between the 12C and 13C . At the altar are two tables of the 16C and a copy of the table of the Savior, Gossaert. He has undergone several constructive modifications over time. The altarpiece of María Auxiliadora highlights the painting of the Virgin of Milk that dates from 1600 and is preserved in the auction. The main altarpiece is the work of the 18C and is dedicated to the heart of Jesus.

The Relief or help (Socorro) Chapel; was founded in 1486 and reformed in the 19C. It currently has three altarpieces, Our Lady of Socorro, San Antonio de Padua and Santa Maria. The Gothic altar is from the 15C and is clearly influenced by the Anglo-Norman style. In nine niches with Gothic background we see seventeen carvings in Polychrome wood.

The Chapel of the Assumption , it was founded in the year 1511. It has a magnificent grille, especially in the upright, made in the year 1571. At its main altar is the altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin,  from the end of the 16C.

The Chapel of St James or Santiago, this chapel was founded by Bishop Alvaro Martínez, Maestro and counselor of Henri III. It has several bars, the Communion rail and the choir are from the 16C and the entrance is from the 17C. On the side of the gospel contains two sepulchers of the late 14C, with sculptures of Toledo style, in honor of its founding bishop. Next to it is the Gothic style tombstone of the conquest of Cuenca by Alfonso VIII. The main altarpiece dates back to 1547. There is a minor altarpiece that combines the carving of Christ with images of the Virgin and oil-painted saints from the late 16C.

The Knights ‘ Chapel ,It was founded in the 13C and was restored between the years 1520 and 1531, in its current location. The chapel has two real masterpieces, from the previous chapel, the tombstone of Mrs. Teresa de Luna and several sepulchres with statues of alabaster, the father and brother of Cardinal García Alvarez de Albornoz and Alvar García de Albornoz, carried out in the 16C during the renovations of the chapel, were preserved. This one has three altarpieces called of the Crucifixion, the piety and the Adoration of the Kings, in which it emphasizes the Italianate influence of Leonardo Da Vinci; There are also several paintings of Orrente. The Calvary that crowns the altarpiece of the altar of the assumption from the 16C.

The Muñoz Chapel was founded in the 16C. It has one of the most beautiful stone façades of the cathedral The columns are formed by the overlap of two different shafts in which one can guess in the stone, the face and the arms of a man terrified and supported in a corbel in whose interior there is a deformed telamon distressed by the pressure of the cartouches Side. The sculptures represent San Juan Bautista and San Jerónimo with very marked traits; Two serene caryatids; San Roque and the Virgin with the Child and a San Rafael added to the work at the end of the 15C.

The Arch of Jamete is of Renaissance style with the influences of the first Plateresque and was probably done between 1545 and 1550. It is a monumental door that accesses the cloister and is considered one of the jewels of the cathedral and perhaps the most monumental of all the Spanish Renaissance in an interior.

The Mayor Chapel , has three bars. The largest of these was made at the beginning of the 16C and is located on the main Altar. It is the most monumental of the bars that this cathedral contains. The other two side bars were made in Vizcaya in the year 1740. Its main altar is bronze and marble, according to Ventura Rodríguez project in the second half of the 18C.

The Covarrubias Chapel  was founded in 1611  The construction was started in 1613 in the Escorial style. It has a Renaissance altarpiece with a table of Jesus attached to the column.

The weight Chapel or de los Peso, was founded in 1524 . The gate is considered one of the most beautiful in the cathedral. The altarpiece depicting in its central scene “The Adoration of the Shepherds” In the upright stands the representation of the Visitation of the Virgin.

 The new Chapel of San Julian , the Altar of St Julian’s, also called Transparent, was design in the 18C. The altar is made of marble, Jasper and bronze, with medallions in high relief and allegorical statues,, from the second half of the 18C, Baroque. In the year 1760 the remains of St. Julian were moved to the new altar. In 1936 was burned the body in one of the courtyards of the episcopal palace and was also stolen the silver urn where the saint rested.

The Chapel of Pozo or San Roque was founded in 1503, in the contiguous place of the transparent and moved to its current location in the 18C. It has a grille and a Gothic-style altar done  in 1511. The altarpiece is  from the beginning of the 16C. The central size of the altarpiece representing the Assumption of the Virgin was transferred to the Diocesan museum and was replaced by the San Roque. The altarpiece contains numerous oil paintings.

The Beard Chapel, was founded in the year 1967 .The gate and altarpiece was made in 1569 and restored in 1795. It contains several paintings

The old chapel of San Julian is located next to the epistle and has a fence. In the second half of the 17C the door was closed inside, becoming a chapel. It highlights the fine work of rockery of the frontal of the altar. The door gate has an exceptional finish in embossed gold plate with the same scene of the altarpiece, anonymous work of the first half of the 16C.

The Chapel of Santa Catalina is located next to the so-called Arco de Jamete. It was built in the mid-15C and modified at the beginning of the 16C. There is an altarpiece in the interior with the martyrdom of the saint and an ordeal, from the second half of the 16C. Highlights the Plateresque framework of the altarpiece, refurbished and expanded in 1598.

The Chapel of St. Bartholomew, was founded at the end of the 15C. It has a magnificent altarpiece called the Christ of the Sacristans of the mid- 16C. It has a plateresque altar and a Gothic alabaster piety in a niche that is currently preserved in the museum.

The Chapel of Santa Barbara, was founded in the early 18C. It contains a baroque-style altarpiece that is surrounded by mural paintings with false architectures. In the center of the altarpiece there is a polychrome wood carving of the Saint and on the upper part a canvas allusive to the doubt of Saint Thomas. The whole of the eternal Father  finished it.

Ok a bit long but I think worth it. This is a jewel that needs to be seen and has direct train and bus from Madrid as well as only 2h30 by car along the A40/A3 expressways toll free. Enjoy the post and have a great Sunday.

Oh yes some webpages to help plan your trip here in addition to my blog posts.

Official Cathedral St Mary of Cuenca:

Castilla La Mancha tourism in English:

Oh wait, remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all.




Tags: ,
May 27, 2018

The amazing Aqueduct of Segovia

This is another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain, or is one of many I think. From an early age , I think first time was when I was 10 years old with my mother; I keep coming back over the years, then with my wife, and then with the family and boys and parents and and ….lost count but each time is like the first time. The  Aqueduct of Segovia is awesome, a must to see.

Well I admit only once did took the bus as always came here taken or on my own by car from Madrid. The roads are good if hilly and curvy even if now they have expressways such as the AP 6 and AP 61 but my all time favorite is the N603; from Madrid you can come on the A1.  I drive around to find a parking either at 14 Paseo Ezequiel Gonzalez next to the tribunal , you walk past the statue to famous restaurantor Candido and onwards to the Cathedral and Aqueduct nice walk and car is very safe or  the Alcazar or by the Aqueduct and then walk all over the city. By intercity bus you come from the bus depot at Moncloa and the Sepulvena line ,there are suburbian trains such as cercanias by changing trains in Cercedilla. The fast trains or AVE can be taken at the station Segovia-Guiomar and for cheaper slower trains you can do the Avant trains.

I have written quite a bit on Segovia and all its attractions before, but this one is the Aqueduct, needs a stand alone post. To me , the Aqueduct is in essence my third choice here after the Alcazar and the Cathedral of the tops things to see in Segovia.

According to experts, the Aqueduct of Segovia was built in the second half of the 1C AD or early 2C AD  during the reign of Adrian to Trajan. It is  813 meters long, with about 728 meters visible in the city. It has a maximum height of 28.5 meters and a minimum of 0.5 meters out of the city. The water transported, is on a slope of 1%, to make runs freely into town from the source in the Frio River , 17 km from Segovia ,bringing it to the area of Acebeda 15 km further. The exact location according to experts is from the Aceveda river , a small stream of the Frio river in a pine and oak forest in the northern slopes of the sierra de Guadarrama at 1255 meters altitude.

It has in all 20400  granite stone taken from the Guadarrama area , 120 pillars or columns and 167 arcs of which 75 are simple arcs , 44 double arcs all in the main area to see and some beyond the city.  The granite stone bound only by their own weight, without any mortar ,thanks to a perfect balance of forces. The stones have small cavities necessary for the use of the self tightening pliers for lifting the blocks The most beautiful part is when crossing the Plaza de Azoguejo square

To see the best is to position yourself on either side of it , either on the Azoguejo square on the left or the Plaza de Artilleria or Artillery square on the right, as you notice that the aqueduct seems to divide the city in two.

Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia

At the time of the Catholic monarchs the first great work of reconstruction of the aqueduct was carried out. Later, in the 16C, it was when the statues of the Virgin of Carmen and San Sebastián were placed in the central niches. The Aqueduct of Segovia is special in that it has been used almost without interruption since Roman times to the present day.

If you are daring and would like to follow the path from outside the city you can. I have gone by car as much as possible and some walk but not done it completely. You have to be in good shape as it is hilly.

Not far from the source (locally call the Azud) , the aqueduct channel had to cross the small brook of Valdeconejos (valley of rabbits). Here is an interesting structure in the form of a small bridge of 5 granite plates that still serve their original purpose of leading the water of the small creek of Valdeconejos over the top of the aqueduct channel.  Both the Azud (the source) and the Valdeconejos bridge can be reached on foot in about 1 hour (3km) from the village of Revenga.  We parked here in Revenga or  you can too at the entrance of the road that runs along the north side of the Embalse the Puenta Alta Lake. However, we stop here, you can continue on the road  from the parking beyond the end of the lake and then follow the yellow aqueduct signs up the hill. There is a track that goes up steeply and passes through the fence, follow this to above the creek on the north side until the track reaches some meadows; cross the creek here, and follow the yellow signs steeply up the hill until reaching the aqueduct channel this can be recognised by the box-shaped maintenance shafts that have been installed on the water pipe in the early 20C. Follow the track now along the contour lines towards the captions upstream (to the right, sign to “azud”).  On the way back, the aqueduct can be followed past Valdeconejos until reaching the track that descends again to Revenga. It is even possible to follow the aqueduct all the way to the city. The tourist information in Segovia can organise trips to the aqueduct source, and has a brochure (in Spanish) describing three walks along the course of the conduit, from the mountains to the city.

Once in Segovia, at the junction of the Calle del Coronel Rexach and the Avenida del Padre Claret (this later takes you right into the aqueduct in your car !) is a small monument that marks the start of the most spectacular section of the Segovia aqueduct. The cylindrical stone ( Roman lettering are on it)  is a monument from the 17C, found close to Segovia. It has been placed on the wall that originally supported the Roman aqueduct channel, and  which now carries its narrower successor, the channel from the 15C. This wall, 141 meters  long and 1,4 meters wide, runs up to a building that covers the second and final cleaning basin before the aqueduct bridge. This building, is known locally as the Casa de Aqua. Inside is a basin with an entry and exit of the aqueduct channel. Contrary to the Casa de Piedra, there is no channel at the base of the basin, so that any sediment that accumulated had to be removed by hand, and could not be flushed out. Any dirt would be extremely difficult to remove. The building is at least partly Roman. Once entering the city the aqueduct bridge of Segovia starts at the Casa del Aqua.

There you have a brief to the point story on one of the most emblematic buildings of Spain, the Aqueduct of Segovia. Some webpages to help you plan your trip in addition to searching my blog for my previous posts on it are to follow.

Tourist office of Segovia on the Aqueduct in English :

Region of Castilla y Leon on the Aqueduct in English:

Oh yes for the memories, a 1990 picture at the Aqueduct taken by now my late dear wife.



me in the aqueduct 1990 take by my late wife

 Hope it helps. Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! Enjoy your Sunday, here is sunny now with 64F or about 18C. Cheers



Tags: ,
May 27, 2018

The wonderful Cathedral of Segovia!

This is another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain, or is one of many I think. From an early age , I think first time was when I was 10 years old with my mother; I keep coming back over the years, then with my wife, and then with the family and boys and parents and and ….lost count but each time is like the first time. The  Cathedral of Segovia for short is awesome, a must to see.

Well I admit only once did took the bus as always came here taken or on my own by car from Madrid. The roads are good if hilly and curvy even if now they have expressways such as the AP 6 and AP 61 but my all time favorite is the N603; from Madrid you can come on the A1.  I drive around to find a parking either at 14 Paseo Ezequiel Gonzalez next to the tribunal , you walk past the statue to famous restaurantor Candido and onwards to the Cathedral and Aqueduct nice walk and car is very safe or  the Alcazar or by the Aqueduct and then walk all over the city. By intercity bus you come from the bus depot at Moncloa and the Sepulvena line ,there are suburbian trains such as cercanias by changing trains in Cercedilla. The fast trains or AVE can be taken at the station Segovia-Guiomar and for cheaper slower trains you can do the Avant trains.

I have written quite a bit on Segovia and all its attractions before, but this one is the Cathedral, needs a stand alone post. To me , the Alcazar is tops for the history of it, then the Cathedral and then the Aqueduct.

The history of the Cathedral is very interesting and I like it.

The Cathedral of Segovia, known as the Lady of the Cathedrals, by its dimensions and its elegance or officially as the Santa Iglesia Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción y de San Frutos.  The works of construction of the Cathedral, built in the 16C, were begun during the reign of  King Carlos V and the bishophy of Diego Ribera of Toledo.  It had become indispensable to replace the ancient Romanesque Cathedral, which was badly damaged during the Community war, which shook the kingdom of Castile between 1520 and 1521. While Spain, through its Italian possessions, was gradually opening up to Renaissance architecture from Italy, the late Gothic style continued to flourish, gradually integrating the elements of Renaissance art. The work of the Cathedral was entrusted in 1525 to Juan Gil de Hontañón, who had already intervened on the new Cathedral of Salamanca, as well as his son Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón. The architect was able to incorporate some innovations of Roman architecture into the Gothic isabelline, characterized by its ornate and slender style, very inspired by the achievements of northern Europe. He developed a three-aisled plan with a semi-circular bedside with radiant chapels. Juan Gil de Hontañón was expelled in 1529; After its departure, the elevation of the naves was continued to finish in 1542. It was then that the original architect made his return to complete the Cathedral, including the bedside, until his death in 1577. His departure from Segovia had enabled him to carry out several projects, thanks to which he was able to refine his knowledge of Renaissance art, at the palace of Monterrey in Salamanca and at the University of Alcalá de Henares (1537). On his return, he was able to demonstrate these new skills, particularly at the Sacristy portal. The Cathedral of Segovia is therefore a transitional building between two periods of Spanish architecture. It is also, with the new Cathedral of Salamanca, the last great Gothic achievement in Spain.

Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia segovia

The Cathedral of Segovia is built in the form of a Latin cross. It has a nave of five bays consisting of three ships, the central ship and two collateral, a chorus and a transept. The two collateral or aisles are each equipped with five lateral chapels. The choir, with its semicircular apse, is surrounded by an ambulatory, on which are opened seven absidiales or radiant chapels. The choir was built in its time on part of the old Jewish quarter of the city. The cathedral also features a tower or steeple with a small dome, as well as a cloister. The ensemble, Gothic, is covered with arches of warheads. Above the cross of the transept rises a dome. The high walls of the nave, like those of the choir, are supported by buttresses. The latter are surmounted by high pinnacles very well worked. At the level of the choir and the bedside, these give a great elegance to the sanctuary.

The building is open to the outside by three gates or gates (Puertas). The Puerta del Perdón (Door of Pardon) opens on the Great Western façade, the Puerta de San Frutos (Porte de Saint Frutos) is located at the north end of the transept and the Puerta de San Geroteo at its southern end. The dimensions are 105 meters long, 50 meters wide, highest point interior is 33 meters and the bell tower is 88 meters high.  Its entrance is in the chapel of San Blas . At the time of its construction, it was entirely Gothic in style, and ended with a pyramid-shaped arrow of Caoba  wood brought from the American colonies. It was then the highest tower in Spain, higher than the Giralda of Seville, but the lightning destroyed the spire in 1614. The architect Juan de Mugaguren, in charge of the restoration, instead built a dome, which caused him to lose 12 meters.

The current altar was ordered done by king Carlos III with a designed by Francisco Sabatini (of the gardens in the Royal Palace). it was begun in 1768 ,and finished in 1775 on the shops of the Royal Palace of Madrid. In front of the main altar it is closed wity a wrough iron grille done in 1729.  The ashlars were brought from the old cathedral, and placed in 1558 by Juan Gil and Jerónimo of Antwerp, and finished in the year 1790 by Fermín Huici. It is in Flemish Gothic style, from the end of the 15C and was sent by the Bishop Don Juan Arias Dávila.

Basically you have chapels on both side of the main nave, north and south. These are in brief comments.

North Side Chapels are the Chapel of Piety or La Piedad, also known as the Chapel of the Holy Burial, was founded in 1571 . St. Andrew’s Chapel or San Andrés was founded in 1618 , similar to the chapel of Santiago, with the coat of arms of the founder at the top.  The Chapel of San Cosme and San Damián, carvings of the Immaculate conception (17C) as well as the Saints. San Gregorio Chapel , Altarpiece of the late 17C; the gate is baroque; Capilla de la Concepción at the foot of the Cathedral and next to the so-called door of forgiveness, it was built in 1531.

The South side Chapels are San Blas Chapel, Chapel of Christ Recumbent, Santa Barbara Chapel,( my native town patron Saint), Chapel of the Christ of Consolation, Chapel of Santiago, was the first chapel of the cathedral given to a civilian, granted by the Cabildo of Segovia in 1577 , Senior accountant of king Felipe II and Commander of the Order of Santiago. The altarpiece that presides the chapel is of Baroque style, is dedicated to the Apostle James and is the work of Pierre de Hertogenbosch in 1595, Chapel of San Antón, was granted to Antonio Idiáquez Manrique, Bishop of Segovia, with destination to a family pantheon. It preserves a baroque altarpiece done  between 1696 and 1697, and dedicated to San Antón, whose image presides the whole.

Shrine of the Tabernacle or Capilla del Santuario is symmetrical to the chapel of San Antón, and is divided into two different spaces: on one hand the so-called Chapel of the Christ of Agony, and on the other the chapel of the Ayala.  Christ Chapel of the Agony or Cristo de la Agonia, is the first stay of the chapel of the Tabernacle, and gives access to the sacristy of the Cathedral. The space, two vaults of crosses, contains a chest of drawers, and different canvases are dealt of several bishops of Segovia by their walls.  Others are the Capilla de los Ayala, Chapels in Girola, St. Peter’s Chapel, Capilla de San Ildefonso here There is a wooden statue with the Virgin and the Child in a way to bless. Chapel of San Geroteo, San Frutos Chapel, Chapel of San Antonio de Padua, Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, San José Chapel,  and San Antón Chapel.

Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia Segovia

The stained glass windows of the cathedral are one of the most important ensembles of the Spanish glassmaker heritage. The set consists of 65 pieces that are distributed over time in three different phases.  The first phase corresponds to the 16C, forms one of the most important series of stained glass made by the workshop of the Pierres (Pierres de Holanda and Pierres de Chivarri, together with Nicolás de Vergara, Nicolás de Holanda and Gualter de Ronch), and are one of The most important Renaissance groups in Europe.  The second phase was executed in the 17C by Francisco Herranz, who made a theoretical programming of the stained glass in a manuscript titled Order of the Ystorias to be put in the windows of the Church Mayor of Segovia, preserved in the archive of the Cathedral of Segovia. This set consists of 33 pieces and is the broadest phase. Finally, a third phase took place in 1916, when seven stained glass windows were included for the main chapel made by Casa Maumejean in Madrid.

From the year 2010 was commissioned to begin the integral restoration of the Cathedral.  stained glass windows ,and the work was still ongoing in last visit in August 2017. The nice Cloister is in flamboyant Gothic style and was moved stone by stone from the former old Cathedral of Santa Maria, destroyed during the war of the communities, and constitutes the only part of the old temple that has come to our days. It is accessed by a beautiful cover decorated with the theme of piety, from the same origin and time.

There you have in a nutshell , the wonderful unique Cathedral of Segovia; where queen Isabel La Catolica or Isabel I came to pray many times in the Chapel of  Santa Barbara so says the legend.   First stay of the Infanta in Segovia (future queen Isabel I) is recorded in 1467, coinciding with the revolt provoked by her brother Prince Don Alfonso and the Marquis of Villena, staying with his ladies in the royal Palace of San Martín, while the queen Doña Juana of Portugal did it in the Alcazar, in the absence of the king who was in Coca. In 1471, being the warden of the Alcázar Andrés de Cabrera, married to Beatriz de Bobadilla, Lady of Doña Isabel, on December 29 was  celebrated in the Alcazar the famous interview between the Monarch and the princess, The next day the Prince Don Fernando of Aragon(future king)  entered the city . In the night of 11 to December 12, 1474, the King Henri IV died in the fortress castle of Madrid, immediately brought the news to his sister the princess who was in the Alcazar of Segovia, waiting for events. From there comes the 13th to be proclaimed Queen of Castile at the gates of the Church of San Miguel !! The next documented stay of the Queen in our city  was on August 4, 1476, on the occasion of the serious disturbances that occurred in the Alcazar in which was innocent victim Princess Isabel, first born of the Kings. The Queen remained in the palaces of San Martín until the 23rd of September of that year, not returning to our city until ten years later, in March 1486, staying then in the Alcazar, which became the preferred  stays in the city. Between August 10 and November 26, 1503, resides the Queen in the city, seeking rest for her delicate state of health.  She stayed in the  Alcazar and then in the  royal apartment of the Monastery of El Parral, to then spend the majority of her stayed in the apartment of the convent of Santa Cruz.  Isabel de Trastamara , Isabel I , Isabel the Catholic died at only 53 yrs old from an uterus cancer in 1504 at Medina del Campo after 30 yrs as Queen.

Some webpages to help plan your trip here in addition to my many posts.

Official page of the Cathedral in wordpress !

Tourist office of Segovia on the Cathedral!

Region of Castilla y Leon tourism on the Cathedral

And the story goes on in beautiful historical quaint Castilian Segovia. Enjoy the trip. And remember, happy travels , good health ,and many cheers to all!!

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: