In a previous post from a few months ago, we told you about the Basilica of San Martín de Mondoñedo in the Galician province of Lugo. A monument that is considered the first Catholic cathedral in Spain. Well, that should not be confused with the Catedral de Mondoñedo, which today maintains this rank of being the seat of a bishop and is also located in the lands of Lugo, but in a different town called Mondoñedo.
In reality, the population of Mondoñedo used to be the capital of one of the Galician provinces, but that award was lost when it was integrated into the administration of Lugo. Something that meant the decline and loss of population in the town. But it is true that by then the cathedral that concerns us here was already built.
Its origins take us back to the 13th century, a time when Romanesque art is giving its last gasp while forms of are emerging gothic style. And that struggle is captured perfectly in this building.
Starting with its sober facade. A facade that undoubtedly has the beauty of Romanesque. It has the sobriety and monumentality of that style. But at the same time, some large pointed arches appear and an enormous rose window of stained glass opens that reminds us of Gothic forms. Although it is clear that it lacks the spirit of height of thatarchitecture. Here it is quite the opposite, since because it is quite short, the temple is known as the "Kneeling Cathedral". And that in Baroque times its two bell towers were erected on the sides of the facade.
The spirit of sobriety of Romanesque art is also felt in general, and the special atmosphere of the light from its stained glass windows creates a very evocative spiritual atmosphere. However, over the years different modifications have been made to this temple.
Today we see three naves covered with a ribbed vault generated from pointed arches. But it is true that these ships have been increasing in size over time. Something that caused the original Latin cross plan to be lost. As well as modifying the original triple apse, made up of a larger one and two lateral ones.
However, these modifications are actually telling us about the growth in importance of the city and its main temple, to which countless works of art were also incorporated. Therefore, today it is a valuable cathedral of Galician heritage, which is often completely overshadowed by the impressive Cathedral of Santiago de Compostelaand the treasures it keeps like the Portico of Glory.