Segovia Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

Segovia Cathedral

Segovia, Castile and Leon, Spain

Segovia Cathedral is an impressive gothic structure in the Old Town of Segovia.

Peta Stamper

06 Jun 2023
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Segovia Cathedral

Segovia Cathedral (Catedral de Segovia) is an impressive Gothic cathedral which looms over the town of Segovia, Castile-Leon Spain. Today, Segovia Cathedral is part of the Old Town of Segovia and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Segovia Cathedral history

Segovia Cathedral built between 1525 and 1577 during the reign of Charles V, was the last cathedral of the late Gothic style in Spain, elsewhere outdated in Europe. The cathedral was constructed after the city’s former cathedral was destroyed during the battles between the Castilian royal armies and Communeros, who took the cathedral to protect its holy relics and its defensive position on the walls of the Alcazar. After a seige lasting months, the cathedral was ruined.

The new cathedral was relocated and designed by Juan Gil de Hontanon, featuring three tall vaults, with fine tracery windows and stained glass. The interior was late Gothic style, yet the dome was later added in 1630. The stone spire was also an addition from 1614 following a fire during a thunderstorm that destroyed the original Gothic spire built of American mahogany, a symbol of the Iberian presence in the Americas, once the tallest tower in Spain.

The cathedral was consecrated when an Italian marble and bronze altarpiece was completed in 1768, as Spain underwent an Enlightenment period encouraged by Benedictine monk, Benito Feijoo, despite later being suppressed in the 1770s by censorship and an Inquisition.

Segovia Cathedral today

Visitors can not only marvel at the 90 metre tall tower, but view the exquisite religious artworks and interior designs of the impressive Gothic cathedral. Including artworks such as the Crying over the Dead Christ by Juan de Juni (1571), the triptych by the Flemish painter Ambrosius Benson (c.1532-36) and the altarpiece by José de Churriguera.

Inside the cloister you can visit the Chapter House, designed by García de Cubillas. It has a fantastic coffered ceiling carved in 1559 and a collection of Flemish tapestries narrating scenes of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. In the Chapter House you can see the gilded silver monstrance that processes on Corpus Christi, and a small museum room also displays one of the first printed books in Spain.

After appreciating the art, take a moment to watch the sun shine through the rainbow of stained glass windows.

Getting to Segovia Cathedral

Located at the highest point in the city, the cathedral is located next to the Plaza Mayor, where the bus route 10 stops 150m away.