The New Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain

salamanca cathedral spain choir
The beautifully carved choir. Walnut, if I'm not mistaken. And this feature alone must have taken many sculptors many years to complete.

The “New” Cathedral of Salamanca is, as the name suggests, one of the newer massive cathedrals of Spain. Begun in the early 1500s, it was not consecrated until 1733, over 200 years later. It's unusual for a couple of reasons. First, that it started out in a late Gothic style, with all the linear turrets and flourishes, but finished up as more of a Baroque exercise. So, in practical terms that means the outside, except for the dome, is more in tune with the adjacent Old Cathedral (more on that later) while the interior is full on decorous Baroque.

And, being such, there's a lot of stuff to photograph and marvel at in the new Salamanca Cathedral.

By the way, Salamanca is an easy day trip from Madrid–only a little more than an hour and a half on the train. (Or, if you're not in a hurry, three hours on a slower and cheaper train. I'll pay the extra 12 euros to save a couple hours each way.) Or, you could be on a Eurail pass, as I was. Which is really the best way to get around Europe.

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Have a look at some more beautiful churches in Spain in this post on 15 Great Cathedrals of Spain.

In addition to the two worthwhile cathedrals, Salamanca is also home to a delightful main plaza which commemorates both the political and artistic history of Spain in its bas relief medallions which top every arch of the gallery. Salamanca is also home to the fourth oldest university in the world, which also contributes extensively to the city's architectural history.

If you go, there are several nice hotels in the center of Salamanca. I stayed in the Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor, which as the name suggests, is just off the Plaza. That's where you'll spend most of your time, especially in the summer. It's an architectural and design tour de force.

The center of the city of Salamanca is a Unesco World Heritage site. Spain is the country with the third most Unesco sites. To see a list of all the Spanish sites, with links to our posts about them, click here.

Here is another post about three Spanish Unesco World Heritage sites, also in the Castile region of Spain.

salamanca cathedral spain choir cherubs
Every member of the choir has his own little musical angel to inspire him from above.
salamanca cathedral organ
And, the organ. Or one half of it, anyway.
salamanca cathedral spain ceiling
The dome, looking up from the transept. Here you get a sense of the gothic ribbed arches, with a bit of a baroque flourish in the cupola.
salamanca cathedral spain dome
The dome and ceiling, supported by massive pillars.
salamanca cathedral dome detail
The baroque decorated dome, sits atop the more austere functional pillars. It's worth dragging out a bit longer lens to get a closer look.
salamanca cathedral altar saint joseph
It doesn't get any more baroque than this detail of one of the side chapel altar's depiction of Saint Joseph with the baby Jesus.
salamanca cathedral chapel crucifix
Another of the side chapels more or less serves as a storage area for some of the earlier gothic decoration of the church, and, I suspect, some from the adjacent “Old” Cathedral.
salamanca cathedral chapel decoration
More of the old decoration stored in the same side chapel.

This post has been updated from one originally posted in April 2017.

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2 thoughts on “The New Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain”

  1. Very nice photos. Spain is about the only place where I don’t mind going to look in the churches because the artwork is spectacular. Thanks for sharing.


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