New Cathedral, Salamanca

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New Cathedral, Salamanca
Catedral Nueva de Salamanca
Salamanca Catedral.JPG
Tower and dome of the New Cathedral.
Basic information
Location Salamanca, Spain
Affiliation Catholic Church
Architectural type church
Architectural style Gothic, Baroque
General contractor (1513-1733)
The New Cathedral of Salamanca at night
Tower of the New Cathedral of Salamanca

The New Cathedral (Spanish: Catedral Nueva) is, together with the Old Cathedral, one of the two cathedrals of Salamanca, Spain. It was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries in two styles: late Gothic and Baroque. Building began in 1513 and the cathedral was consecrated in 1733. It was commissioned by Ferdinand V of Castile of Spain. It was declared a national monument by royal decree in 1887.[1]

Architectural style[edit]

Cathedral´s dome.
Lateral facade.
Astronaut sculpture, added during renovations
Detail of the facade of the New Cathedral of Salamanca: faun with ice cream. Added during renovations.
Death: detail of the interior of the New Cathedral of Salamanca

The building began at a time when the gothic style was becoming less popular and was merging with the new Renaissance style, giving the resulting Plateresco style in Spain. However, this cathedral retained more of its Gothic character because the authorities wanted the new cathedral to blend with the old one. Thus the new cathedral was constructed, continuing with Gothic style during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, during the 18th century, two elements were added that broke with the showy form with the predominant style of the building: a Baroque cupola on the transept and the final stages of the bell tower (92 m). The new cathedral was constructed without the subsequent destruction of the old cathedral as normally happened but a wall of the new cathedral, leans on the North wall of the old one. For this reason, the old cathedral had to be reinforced, and the bell tower was constructed on the old one. Two of the main architects of the cathedral were Juan Gil de Hontañón and his son Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón in 1538.

Its main entrance consists of 3 arcs, each leading to the 3 naves (sections) of the church. All three are richly carved.[1]

Among the ornate carvings on the façade is the incongruous likeness of an astronaut floating in space. The New Cathedral was undergoing restoration work during that period, and one of the artisans engaged in the project chose to engage in a bit of tradition by "signing" his work with a contemporary symbol representative of the 20th century: an astronaut.[2][3]

Restoration after the Lisbon earthquake[edit]

Cracks and the broken windows are visible reminders of the devastating effects of the Lisbon Earthquake, that took place on November 1, 1755, which are still visible today. After the earthquake, repairs were necessary to the cupola and the base of the tower which were reinforced with a lining of lines of sillares, in form of a pyramid trunk that spoiled the basic profile of the tower (This tower is a virtual twin of the tower of the cathedral of Segovia). The moment of this catastrophe is commemorated with the "Mariquelo" tradition on October 31, when every year residents climb to the cupola high above and play flutes and drums.


  1. ^ a b Garcia Vincente, Jose (2002). "Catedral Nueva". 
  2. ^ Rui Silva (2006-11-16). "O Astronauta da Catedral de Salamanca" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  3. ^ Article at Snopes

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°57′38″N 5°39′57″W / 40.96056°N 5.66583°W / 40.96056; -5.66583