Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 20 August 2017

León Cathedral, Spain.

English: León Cathedral, Spain.
 Catedral de León in León, Castilla y León.
Illustration: PINTEREST

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

Santa María de León Cathedral, also called The House of Light, or the Pulchra Leonina (The Beauty of Leon), is situated in the City of León, in North-West Spain. It was built on the site of previous Roman Baths of the 2nd-Century A.D., which, 800 years later, King Ordoño II converted into a Palace.

León Cathedral, Dedicated to Santa María de la Regla, was declared of Cultural Interest in 1844. It is known as the Pulchra Leonina and is a masterpiece of The Gothic Style of the Mid-13th-Century. The design is attributed to the Architect, Enrique. By the Late-16th-Century, it was virtually completed.

The main façade has two Towers. The Southern Tower is known as the 'Clock Tower'. The Renaissance Retro-Choir contains alabaster sculptures by Jusquin, Copin of Holland and Juan de Malinas. Particularly noteworthy is the Plateresque Iron Grill-Work Screen, or Reja, in the wall behind the Sepulchre of King Ordoño.

Leon Cathedral, Spain.
Available on YouTube at

It has three Portals decorated with sculptures situated in the Pointed Arches between the two Towers. The central section has a large Rose Window. Particularly outstanding is the image of The Virgen Blanca and The Locus Appellatione, where justice was imparted.

The Church has nearly 1,800 square metres of Stained-Glass Windows. The great majority of them date from the 13th- to the 15th-Century: A rarity among Mediaeval Gothic Churches.

English: The Gothic Cathedral of Saint Mary of León, Spain.
Photo: 19 March 2014.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In the Main Chapel, there is an Altarpiece by Nicolás Francés (15th-Century) and a Silver Urn containing the Relics of San Froilán, the Town's Patron Saint, made by Enrique de Arfe. The 13th- to 15th-Century Cloister contains sculpted details in the Capitals, Friezes and Ledges.

The Cathedral Museum houses a large collection of Sacred Art. There are almost 1,500 pieces, including fifty Romanesque sculptures of The Virgin, dating from pre-historic times to the 18th-Century (Neo-Classicism), with works by Juan de Juni, Gregorio Fernández, Mateo Cerezo, a Triptych of The School of Antwerp, a Mozarabic Bible and numerous Codices. The first Manuscript in the Leonese language, the Nodicia de Kesos, can be found in its archives.

Leon Cathedral is also one of the three most important Cathedrals, along with that of Burgos and Santiago de Compostela, on The Way of Saint James (or, in Spanish, El Camino de Santiago).

The Screen, León Cathedral, Spain.
Photo: 12 October 2010.
Source: Own work by uploader,
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Roman Baths and the first Cathedral

Originally, under the current location of the Cathedral, the Legio VII Gemina had built the Baths, with a size larger than the current building. During the great restorations of the 19th-Century, its remains were discovered, and, in 1997, others were explored near the South Façade.

[Editor: Legio Septima (VII) Gemina (properly Geminia: Latin for "The Twins' Seventh Legion") was a Legion of The Imperial Roman Army. It was Founded in 68 A.D., in Spain, by General Galba to take part in his rebellion against the Emperor, Nero. "Gemina" means the Legion was dedicated to the legendary twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a she-wolf. The Legion was deployed to the City called Legio (modern-day León, Spain) in 74 A.D., and remained in Hispania to the end of the 4th-Century.]

During the Christian reconquest of Spain, the ancient Roman Baths were converted into a Royal Palace. King Ordoño II, who had occupied the Throne of Leon in 916 A.D., defeated the Arabs in The Battle of San Esteban de Gormaz, in 917 A.D. As a sign of gratitude to God for victory, he gave up his Palace to build the first Cathedral. Under the Episcopate of Fruminio II, the building was transformed into a Sacred Place. The tomb of Ordoño II of Leon, who died in 924 A.D., is found in the Cathedral.

Leon Cathedral, Spain.
Available on YouTube at

The Cathedral was guarded and governed by Monks of The Order of Saint Benedict, and it is likely that its structure was very similar to many others existing during the Leonese Mozarabic period. Almanzor campaigned through these lands in the Late-10th-Century, devastating the City and destroying the Churches. However, damage to the building of the Cathedral appears to have been rapidly addressed, since, in the year 999 A.D., King Alfonso V was Crowned in the Church.

After the political turmoil and Moorish raids, that lasted till 1067, the state of the Cathedral was in extreme poverty. This would move to King Ferdinand I of León, who, after transferring the remains of San Isidoro to León, sought to restore the Cathedral.

With the help of Princess Teresa Urraca of Navarre, sister of the King, the construction of a second Cathedral, was started. It was within the Pelayo II Episcopal See. Its style was essentially Romanesque, built in brick and masonry, with three Naves finished in Semi-Circular Apses, the central one Dedicated to Saint Mary, as in the previous Church.
 The Cathedral was Consecrated on 10 November 1073 during the Reign of King Alfonso VI. Presumably, the same Masons who were building the Basilica of San Isidoro of Leon worked on the Cathedral.

English: Stained-Glass Windows in Leon Cathedral, Spain.
Español: Catedral dedicada a Santa María de Regla. Iniciada su construcción en el siglo XIII,
es una de las grandes obras del estilo gótico de influencia francesa. Se la conoce con
el nombre de Pulchra leonina, que significa "la bella Leonesa".
Photo: 8 May 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: AdriPozuelo
(Wikimedia Commons)

This Cathedral remained standing until the end of the next Century. When the last proprietary King of Leon, Alfonso IX, rose to the Throne, the City and the Kingdom witnessed major social, artistic, and cultural changes.

The Third Cathedral

Construction of the third Cathedral, Gothic in style, began circa 1205, but problems with the Foundation delayed work until 1255, under Bishop Martín Fernández, with the support of King Alfonso X of Castile and León. The design is attributed to the Master Mason Enrique, perhaps a native of France, who had previously worked on the Cathedral of Burgos.

The Cathedral of Leon, like its sister predecessor, Burgos Cathedral, follows the layout of Rheims Cathedral (although at a reduced scale). Like most French cathedrals, the one of Leon is built with a geometric module based on the triangle (ad triangulum), the primary lines of which relate to the square root of three.

In addition to its layout, the Cathedral of Leon is also inspired by that of Rheims in its structure, the form of the Chapels of its Ambulatory (in this case Polygonal), and the development of its Transept. The influence of Chartres Cathedral can be seen in the Western Porch.

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