Catedral Nuestra Señora de La Asunción
Catedral Nuestra Señora de La Asunción (Cathedral of the Assumption) is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Margarita and is located in La Asunción, Nueva Esparta state, on Isla Margarita, Venezuela. Built in 1570, it is the oldest church in Venezuela.
Built between 1570 and 1612, the Catedral Nuestra Señora de La Asunción is the oldest church in Venezuela and was one of the first in the Americas. Its construction was started in 1570 (much before the construction of the cathedral of Santa Ana de Coro) and was never completed. The church was founded by a member of the Dominican order, the priest Juan de Manzanillo. It was later destroyed by French Lutherans, and by the year 1602 the cathedral was reported to be "en ruinas", in ruins. Work for reconstruction of the building began again in 1609, and the cathedral was finally completed eleven years later, in 1621.
Set in the tree lined Plaza Bolivar, the church has a rectangular plan with massive walls as protection against pirate attacks. The main body of the cathedral, which is rectangular in shape, has dimensions of 17 by 48 metres (56 by 157 ft), and the interior is lined with two rows of huge columns in the tuscan style which support the roof. There is a bell tower outside, which is unique and the bells are now preserved in the plaza. One of the most important religious buildings on the Island, the Virgin of La Asunción is worshiped here. The Cathedral has been declared a historical city monument. It has a plain façade and interior, but its left lateral tower, which dates to 1599, is the oldest in the country. The façade at the entrance portal of the church is built in the renaissance style. It was considered a model church till the 19th century.
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