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.

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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.

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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 ! https://catedralsegovia.wordpress.com/

Tourist office of Segovia on the Cathedral! http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/es/monuments/cathedral

Region of Castilla y Leon tourism on the Cathedral https://www.turismocastillayleon.com/turismocyl/en/art-culture-heritage/cathedrals/cathedral-segovia

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!!

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2 Comments to “The wonderful Cathedral of Segovia!”

  1. Magnificent, some excellent pictures too.

    Liked by 1 person

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