Valladolid Cathedral

Valladolid Cathedral
Valladolid Cathedral

The Valladolid Cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption is one of the most outstanding constructions of the Renaissance aesthetic in Spain but it is also one of those architectures in which the confluence of styles and aesthetics is best appreciated. The building that we can see today is somewhat less than forty percent of the original project, a project promoted by the monarch of the house of the Habsburgs Felipe II, who undertook his last and most ambitious purpose in Valladolid, the construction of the Cathedral largest in Europe.


However, the history of the cathedral goes back much further, from the middle of the 11th century, the town of Valladolid began to acquire importance to the detriment of other neighboring towns such as Olmedo or Simancas. It was then that it was decided to build a Romanesque-style collegiate church that was soon replaced by a second temple larger than the first. Gradually the city was acquiring more and more power and relevance in the Castilian crown and in the first quarter of the 16th century the city was already in a position to compete with cities as prominent for the time as Salamanca. Perhaps it was precisely the construction of the New Cathedral in the charra city that led the Cabildo of Valladolid to propose the construction of a larger collegiate church, the third for the city.

For this project some of themost distinguished architects of the time and finally it was Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón who took charge of the construction. The architect proposed similar traces to the Cathedral of Segovia but the continuous economic problems meant that at his death, in the year 1577, the works had barely gone beyond the foundations. It was then that the City Council decided that the works should not go out to competition again but that they were awarded directly to Juan de Herrera who, due to his prestige in the construction of the El Escorial Monastery, was already considered one of the personalities architecture of its time.

Herrera respected the North South axis that his predecessor had raised as well as some of the Romanesque rooms of the old collegiate church where the Holy Office was still being celebrated. Juan de Herrera proposed a building with three naves with a transept marked on the ground plan and located in the fourth section of the body of naves. The central nave is wider and higher than the lateral ones, thus allowing the illumination of the cathedral complex.

The main nave is separated from the aisles by large semicircular arcades that rest on pillars decorated with Corinthian columns. For their part, niche chapels have been opened in the side aisles that invite recollection, following in this way the dictates of the Counter-Reformation. But in the traces designed by the architect, classicist elements of the Renaissance tradition can be observed as well as innovative forms of mannerism;Even today, Baroque decorative elements can be seen in the Cathedral of Valladolid as part of later additions.

Popular topic