Wednesday, May 13, 2015

La Catedral

Today, we visited the Catedral of Segovia. The last gothic style cathedral built in Spain, the first phase of construction was completed in 1577. The main arquitect, Juan Gil de Hontañon died before construction could be completed, so his son, Rodrigo, took over the project. The structure includes classic gothic style pointed arcs that cross each other. We were amazed at the Catedral's enormity and grandiose "cappillas" surrounding the main area of the church. These mini-chapels featured artwork of various styles showcasing saints special to Segovia, its first bishop, Christ and other important religious figures. The main altar piece, while modest in comparison to those of other cathedrals, was still breathtaking. It's location at the eastern end of the church was designed, as most churches of the time period were, to allow parishioners to enter from the west, where the sun sets, and go towards the light of Christ in the east, where the sun rises. In the center of the cross shaped building was the "Coro" where chorus members, including nobles, bishops, and sometimes even the king and queen, sat to sing throughout mass. This section includes seats of carved wood and huge song books, as well as statues of the 4 evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Additionally, the back of the Coro included an elaborate gift from Carlos III which holds the remains of the first bishop of Segovia and has statues of Saints Isabel and Felipe (also the names of his parents). This was what those attending mass saw, as opposed to seeing the main altar, as is common practice in current times.  We also saw the "claustro" outside the main building and the chapel where daily mass is held. Tombs can be found throughout the cathedral's floor, including the burial place of the main architects of the structure. The Catedral also contains extravagant pieces, such as a large baptismal font and an elaborate doorway, that were transported from the cathedral that used to be located in front of the Alcazar. While we were unable to take pictures inside the cathedral, we did capture a few from the outside, as well as the Puerta de San Frutos, which honors Segovia's patron saint. 

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