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Gothic Art
EUROPEAN COMMUNITY European Regional Development Fund


Gothic Art

Introduction Gothic Art The three great cathedrals A Tour Andalusia Aragon Asturias The Balearic Isles The Canary Islands Cantabria Castile-La Mancha Castile and Len Catalonia Murcian Region Valencian Region Extremadura Galicia La Rioja Madrid Navarre Basque Country Glossary General information 1 2 8 14 20 24 26 27 28 30 35 45 49 50 53 56 60 62 64 66 70 72
Portugal Lisbon S PA I N Atlantic Ocean Ceuta Melilla
Published by: Turespaa Secretara de Estado de Turismo y Comercio Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio Printed by: EGESA D.L. M-52231-2004 NIPO: 704-04-035-0 Printed in Spain Graphic Design: P&L MARN 1st Edition

SPANISH TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICES ABROAD CANADA. Toronto Tourist Office of Spain 2 Bloor Street West Suite 3402 Toronto, Ontario M4W 3E2 % (1416) 961 31 31 ) (1416) 961 19 92 e-mail: GREAT BRITAIN. London Spanish Tourist Office PO BOX 4009 London W1A 6NB % (44207) 486 80 77 ) (44207) 486 80 34 e-mail: JAPAN. Tokyo Tourist Office of Spain Daini Toranomon Denki Bldg.6F. 3-1-10 Toranomon. Minato-Ku Tokyo-105-0001 % (813) 34 32 61 41 ) (813) 34 32 61 44 e-mail: RUSSIA. Moscow Spanish Tourist Office Tverskaya 16/2 Edificio 3 Moscow 103009 % (7095) 935 83 97 ) (7095) 935 83 96 e-mail: SINGAPORE. Singapore Spanish Tourist Office 541 Orchard Road Liat Tower # 09-04 238881 Singapore % 65 67 37 30 08 ) 65 67 37 31 73 e-mail:

Ireland Dublin United Kingdom London


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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Los Angeles Tourist Office of Spain 8383 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 960 Beverly Hills, California 90211 % 1(323) 658 71 88 ) 1(323) 658 10 61 e-mail: Chicago Tourist Office of Spain Water Tower Place, suite 915 East 845 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60 611 % 1(312) 642 19 92 ) 1(312) 642 98 17 e-mail: Miami Tourist Office of Spain 1221 Brickell Avenue Miami, Florida 33131 % 1(305) 358 19 92 ) 1(305) 358 82 23 e-mail: New York Tourist Office of Spain 666 Fifth Avenue 35th floor New York, New York 10103 % 1(212) 265 88 22 ) 1(212) 265 88 64 e-mail: EMBASSIES IN MADRID Canada. Nez de Balboa, 35 3 % 914 233 250 ) 914 233 251 Great Britain. Fernando El Santo, 16 % 913 190 200 ) 913 081 033 Japan. Serrano, 109 % 915 907 600 ) 915 901 321 Russia. Velzquez, 155 % 915 622 264 ) 915 629 712 United States of America Serrano, 75 % 915 872 200 ) 915 872 303

Text: Jess de la Cmara Translation: Michael Benedict Photographs: Archivo Turespaa

Pinnacles soaring heavenwards, phantasmagoric gargoyles, ogives, stained-glass and rose windows casting iridescent beams of light, in palaces, castles, guildhalls and churches, will astonish and astound the traveller in any corner of Spain. So many and such a variety of structures are to be found -from Extremadura to the Balearic Isles and from Cantabria to the Canary Islandsthat to mention them all would be impossible. The scope of this brochure is only enough to allow for a description of the major sights cited in art treatises, and a few more in those cases where the simple poetry of the monument or the beauty of the surroundings is such that it merits inclusion as an attraction; and even though there is no space for more, this will suffice for you to discover just how truly moving Spanish Gothic can be.

The term Gothic, which comes from the word Goth, was used for the first time by Vasari, the Italian art historian of the 16th century, as a pejorative description of the architecture marking the period between Romanesque and Renaissance. Up until the 19th century, these forms, which now attract us so, were relegated to a minor position, since many authors, such as Molire, were of the opinion that they were a torrent of odious monsters. Shortly before the beginning of the 20th century, the style began to be regarded positively. Initiated in mid-12th century as a language without precedent, the style became generalised throughout Europe over the course of the 13th century, and its acceptance and deep-rooted hold kept it in vogue until the 16th century. In Spain, it coincided with the maximum deployment and culmination of the Reconquest, i.e., the consolidation of the Christian kingdoms. Under the Catholic Monarchs, whose favourite architect was Juan Guas, it rose to a pinnacle of splendour. During these three long centuries of survival, which were to characterise the whole of the Late Middle Ages, Gothic passed through different phases. From its beginnings until the early

13th century, germinal forms coexisted with those of Romanesque. This was a period of evolution, in which formal criteria of beauty prevailed and the figure of the Virgin Mary began to assume growing importance. It is a period marked by ogival vaults supported by thick arches and walls that continue to be robust. During the 13th and until the early years of the 14th century, French influence remained dominant, but, to the delight of the traveller, here in Spain, it acquired very specific local traits. Hence, whereas in the inland regions, church elevations would fit into a triangle, and the aisles tended to be lower in height than the central nave,

in Mediterranean regions the profile corresponded to a rectangular parallelepiped, where the interior space was open, with scant difference between nave and aisles. Apart from this formal diversity, the materials used offered a very wide array of textures and colours, ranging from the sandstone and granite of Castile, through the limestone of the so-called Levant region (Valencia/Alicante area), to the abundance of brick in Aragon. From 1300 onwards, a Mannerist phase emerged, with buildings becoming stylised and mouldings multiplying, as did the tracery in the window openings, in which curved triangles and squares

predominated. There was a greater stress on grandiose spaces and increased height. The proliferation of mouldings (baquetones) on the pillars tended to break the spatial unity. Vaults became more complex and tiercerons appeared. From the outset of the 15th century, Spanish Gothic presents us with a very prolific Baroque phase, a consequence of the cultural and economic development and greater wealth enjoyed by broad sectors of society. The Flamboyant Gothic Style originally appeared in the north of France and Flanders, but, on arriving in Spain and coming into contact with Moorish forms, led to the emergence of a very particular style, known as Hispano-Flemish Castilian, a style that will doubtless captivate the onlooker. The Mudejar-inspired decoration, with its tendency towards decorative lavishness, blind arcades, ornamental ribs, etc., makes for something that is rather exclusive and can only be seen in this part of the world. In the 16th century, the vitality of the Gothic Style, with work on three great cathedrals -Seville, Salamanca and Segovia- having commenced at the turn of the century, entered a revivalist or

Triptych on board. Valencia Gallery of Fine Art

retro phase that was to coexist with the Renaissance. In the search for a new classicism, there was a return to pure forms. The Gothic Style was a phenomenon in which the entire population participated: one sees churches and cathedrals conceived and designed thanks to an overall combined effort, palaces, fortresses and commercial and industrial edifices that mark the independence of art from ecclesiastical patronage, as well as an incipient craftsmanship. Imagine Gothic spaces as they were perceived in Mediaeval times, without any differences

between the major and minor art forms, in that all were regarded as equally important, and you will come across interiors that bring together a number of disciplines: gold- and silverwork, ceramic, embroidery, stained glass, tapestries, rugs, arms, furniture, painting, sculpture and architecture. Often, the selfsame person was skilled in several of these techniques, e.g., sculptors who were at once blacksmiths and/or gold- and silversmiths, painters that gilded retables and designed tapestries and you will see jewels, weavings and furniture enriching an architecture that succeeded in reflecting art in such exquisite detail.

Gothic architecture displays two new and hitherto unparalleled aspects: the use of light and the close relationship between structure and appearance. All is geometry brimming with light, geometry that is felt though not seen but that will nevertheless be discovered if sufficient attention is paid. Columns, windows and other points of reference delimit squares, cubes, equilateral triangles, rhythmic series that convert space into a designed volume. The stained glass windows seem to render the wall porous, so that they filter and merge with the light. No space is left for paintings, frescoes become luminous iridescence. Arches are ogival and vaults are marked by simple ribbing or assume complicated stellar forms. Thrust is transferred to the abutments and flying buttresses. The thickness of the walls is reduced, and these now serve to close off or support rose windows and stained glass. Pillars soar until they meet the roof, offering the sensation of a tree trunk branching out and spreading, yet always with a structural function. Ground plans tend to be basilical, large-scale, featuring a central nave and two or four aisles. The ambulatory, like the triforium, another essential element, transmits grandeur, magnifying the space. The entire edifice acquires a feeling of verticality.

As any site was looked upon as ideal for locating sculpture, this will be found affixed to church and cathedral faades, retables, choir stalls and funerary monuments, and even in its own right, unrelated to the architecture, put there for the pure enjoyment of the owner. Yet when it does appear on the exterior, it tends to be monumental, executed in limestone or granite and occasionally in alabaster or marble, since the noble materials (such as polychromed wood and metal) were reserved for the sumptuous interiors. Subject matter and motifs tend to vary, consisting of exquisite, delicately shaped figures of the virgin, apostles, narrative scenes depicting biblical passages,

Rueda Monastery. Zaragoza

Condestable Chapel. Burgos

historical events, grotesque gargoyles, intertwined plant motifs, arabesques and the like. The execution is both attractive and painstaking. In search of a new language, sculptors came to offer us real characters with a certain naturalism, individualised expressions, an interplay of looks and expressions, and garments that hung in clinging folds.

Coloured art
Although spectators traditionally find paintings the most representative and approachable pictorial manifestation, during the Gothic period the production of coloured art relied on three different though equally important formats, viz., glass, vellum and panels. Stained glass windows are a fundamental element of the architectural space to which
Mural. Girona

they adapt. Made up of small pieces of multicoloured glass joined together by lead strips (or cames), they form chromatic glass canvases that flood the interiors with colour. Themes are varied and usually read from top to bottom, with God, the Divine Light, the principal source of revelation of all things placed at the very top, the saints halfway down, and nearest the floor, scenes depicting Man, with the earth and plants. The illuminated manuscript took its Spanish name of miniatura from the red lead oxide or minium (a name derived from the Minius River in Northwest Spain) with which it was painted. It was a very highly regarded technique, used to produce Bibles and holy tracts, codices and treatises and, above all, psalters or books of hours, these being books for private use, arranged according to the

time (that is to say, the religious divisions) of the day. The decoration, extremely bright and colourful, tends to feature plant motifs in the margins, historiated initials (i.e., enlarged and often illuminated capital letters) and exquisitely wrought handwritten lettering. While mural painting is sparse, oil paintings on panels abound. In particular, large-scale pictures of a religious nature were painted for inclusion on retables. The saint or principal object of devotion appears on the central panel, with passages illustrating his story and miracles to either side. There is a tendency for the form to be stylised, the line sinuous, the colours pale, and the characters, largely realistic, refined and with abundant details as regards apparel. Scenes are set against human backdrops and reproduce anecdotic objects, displaying a keen sense of observation. There is a lack of perspective, depth being created by the architectural setting, with a castle, town or daily scene being depicted in the background. In the 15th century, Flemish primitives appeared, constituting a pictorial revolution.

Gold and silverwork

Nowadays, this is generally found out of context, in museums, which perhaps accounts for the fact that such work has often not been fully appreciated. Attempt to see it in all its grandeur, associated with the lustre of metal, the brilliance of the ceremonies, and meticulous craftsmanship. Clergy and nobility demanded gold and silverwork for personal and liturgical use. Workshops, across the length and breadth of the country, met demand by invariably turning out the same types of items: goblets, patens, candelabra, caskets, reliquaries and the like. The shapes reproduced pinnacles, baldachins, arches and the like all rightfully belonging to architecture and yet elevated to fairy-tale proportions.

Other arts
It should be recalled here that there was a whole creative world surrounding and supporting the highly mannered Gothic aesthetic, e.g., weavings, tapestries, arms, jewels and grilles. In brief, a field wide open to the artists imagination.
Sacred precious metalwork. Lleida


Declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these are the maximum expression of 13th-century Spanish Gothic religious architecture. They represent the political and religious power of Castile, which was then consolidating itself as a kingdom and was destined to rule over a great empire some decades later. Needless to say, they are the culmination of a long and splendid history, and house incalculable artistic gems in their interiors.

onto the crossing. Maestro (master mason) Enrique, who had already worked on Len Cathedral, brought a radical change to the project, transforming the design to a style more in accordance with European tastes. He ordered the east end to be demolished and had it replaced with a chevet featuring an ambulatory and chapels. Only St. Nicholas Chapel (San Nicols), with its sexpartite vault, remains from that first frontage. The result is the present building, with a nave, two aisles, triforium and chapels, many of which date from the 15th century. After Enriques death, work started on the main faade under Juan Prez, who patterned it on Amiens and Rheims, with three entrances and an H-shaped plan. The portal, known as the Door of Pardon (Perdn), was totally reconstructed in the 18th century. Each of the faades of the crossing has a portal. The tympanum of the north or Coronera Door, by Maestro Enrique, depicts the Final Judgement. It was through this door that pilgrims making for Santiago de Compostela used to enter, with the
Burgos Cathedral

Golden Staircase, finished by Diego Silo, compensating for the difference in height between the street outside and the Cathedral. Napoleon is said to have been the last to cross the threshold. On the southern flank, the Sarmental Door, of anonymous origin, is a superb example of Gothic sculpture and represents an Apocalypse of the French school. In the 15th century, thanks to his German origins, John of Cologne (Juan de Colonia) introduced the Flamboyant Style. It is to him that we owe the towers, needle spires and

some of the chapels. In the latter part of the century, the figure of his son, Simon of Cologne, burst onto the scene with the grandiose Constables Chapel (Capilla del Condestable), a cathedral within a cathedral, in which Germanic and Moorish elements are merged. The transept lantern, dating from the 16th century, is attributed to Juan de Vallejo.

In 1097, Burgos was designated as an episcopal seat. A Romanesque church dedicated to St. Mary (Santa Mara) was built and soon became too small. In the 13th century, Bishop Maurice, journeyed through Europe, familiarising himself with new trends in building. Fernando IIIs wedding to Beatrice of Swabia in the reduced confines of the church led him to see the need for the construction of a larger, more solemn edifice. Commenced in 1221, its first lines, conceived by an anonymous draughtsman known to have participated in Las Huelgas Reales Convent, were purely Cistercian, with a straight east end and chapels opening

To many, the so-called Pulchra Leonina is the most sublime edifice in Spain. Its benefactor was Bishop Manrique, a friend of King Alfonso the Wise, who granted the bishop privileges for its construction, along with land from which to procure the necessary wood. Work began in 1255, and in 1302 one prelate wrote, the work is already done, thanks be to God. Erected in the classical period, its ground plan follows the purest Gothic design of all Spains cathedrals, comprising a nave and two aisles, a not overly stated crossing, a chancel and an ambulatory. Seen in elevation, the church is the paradigm of 13th-century Gothic, and indeed came to stand at the forefront of European architecture for the verticality and airiness of its walls, which afford space for the stunning stained glass windows. To enter the interior, in which everything seems to reverberate, is to come into contact with the celestial city of the mystics. Words fail. simply look around! Although the exterior may not have the fragility of other cathedrals, it nonetheless

possesses the most complete iconographic programme of the age, one on which Maestro Enrique, among others, laboured. Eloquent testimony to its importance is the fact that Alfonso X exempted twenty masons, a glazier and a blacksmith from taxes while they were engaged in the work. At the west end of the building, between two robust towers connected to the nave by flying

buttresses, is the main faade, with three doors: the centre door, presided over by the White Virgin (Virgen Blanca) on the pier, decorated with the Apostles and the Final Judgement; to the left, alongside the Bell Tower, is St. John (San Juan); and, on the right, flanked by the Clock Tower, is St. Francis (San Francisco). Gracing the southern wing is St. Froilans portal, equally marvellous. In the interior, left to stand among the chapels by the completion of the cloister, is the north door. On the exterior, allow your eyes to wander upwards and be transported by the tangled skein of pinnacles, gargoyles, crests and finials.

Len Cathedral


This imperial city, seat of Spains primatial church from Visigothic times, witnessed work commence on its Cathedral in 1226, under the reign of Fernando III. The project enjoyed the favour of the great cardinals and so the best maestros could be called upon. The ground plan -a nave and four aisles- was designed by Martn. Although Petrus Petri found an admirable solution to the ambulatory, by alternating triangular

and trapezoidal cross-section vaults in purest Gothic Style, he was unable to withstand local influences and designed a triforium featuring clearly Mudejar scalloped arches. By the end of the 14th century, the building was all but complete. On the exterior, the outstanding feature is the rectangular tower reinforced and decorated at the angles, the citys symbol that El Greco was to paint so often. The octagonal section was added in the 15th century, as was the spire ringed by its triple circlet, an apparent allusion to the pontifical tiara.

The doors are formidable: the Clock Door (Reloj), the oldest, is decorated with archivolts studded with canopied angels and a tympanum bearing scenes taken from the New Testament; the Door of Pardon is the most monumental; and the Llana Door, the only one not to have stairs, dates from the 19th century. Arguably, this is the European Cathedral that can boast most works of art, distinguishing marks left by the great cardinals who strove to outdo one another and testify to their power by bequeathing ever more grandiose projects. Cardinal Mendoza, who

hoarded as many works of art as the Sforzas, wielded such power that he left instructions that he was to be buried in the chancel, a royal privilege. Cisneros, Isabella the Catholics confessor, had a hand in designing the Gothic Style high altar, the largest in Spain. Bigarny ordered the building of the Chapel in honour of St. Ildephonsus (San Ildefonso), the citys patron saint. Pause a moment and stroke the stone where, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary rested her foot when she descended to robe the saint in his chasuble. Silo designed the Kings Chapel, which was subsequently built by Covarrubias. Cardinal Tavera commissioned Berruguete to enlarge the choir, since it was here that the most important dignitaries of the Imperial Church were seated. Though not Gothic, make a point of seeing the Transparente -Baroque taken to the extreme- which was conceived to illuminate the sanctuary (sacrarium) in the chancel and the double ambulatory. Do not leave before you have visited the cloister, gazed in awe at the Arfe Monstrance (named after the silversmith, Enrique de Arfe) a matchless work that is paraded through the city during the annual Corpus Christi procession, and seen El Grecos magical El Expolio (the Saviour stripped of his Raiment) and Twelve Apostles.

Toledo Cathedral

Cistercian designs spread from 1236 onwards with the so-called churches of the Reconquest, following Fernando IIIs seizure of Cordoba. In the 14th century, the scarcity of stone masons led to buildings being re-used, a task which, though approached from a Moorish perspective, was executed with Gothic resources. The 15th century saw refined Hispano-Flemish fashions becoming fused with Islamised Christian elements, a phenomenon warmly encouraged by the Catholic Monarchs.

The city Cathedral is unique for having been built over a stronghold. Designed by Diego Silo in the 16th century, it may lack height, large window openings or rose windows, yet its splendid stellar ribbing and chancel resting on palm-tree-shaped of pillars will not leave the visitor indifferent. Other outstanding local sights include the Shrine (santuario) of the Virgen del Mar, the portal in the keep of the Alcazaba (fortress), and the Church of St. James (Santiago).

St. Marys. Arcos de la Frontera

Carthusian monastery. Jerez de la Frontera

After the age-old city of Jerez de la Frontera had been wrested from the Moors, Cordobaninspired churches flourished, e.g., the churches of Santa Mara del Alczar, with its pointed brick arches, St. Dionisius, St Luke (San Lucas), etc. Subsequently, the city was to be further embellished by the cloister of St. Dominics (Santo Domingo), the HispanoFlemish beauty of St. Michaels (San Miguel) and St. Marks (San Marcos), and the cresting on the Carthusian cloister. In Puerto de Santa Mara, St. Marks Castle church, classical in style though with marked Mudejar influence, is sure to prove interesting. Stop to admire the stone porticoes on the whitewashed walls of the churches in Sanlcar de Barrameda, cradle of seafarers, and St. Romualdos Castle in San Fernando, said to be inspired by the Moslem ribat or fortified monastery. Hispano14 15

Flemish profiles are on view in Medina Sidonia in the form of the Palace of the Counts of guila, while Arcos de la Frontera is home to an outstanding set of 13th-century murals, plus the Churches of St. Mary and St. Peter (San Pedro).

As you walk its streets, you will find that the glory of this great 10th-century metropolis and World Heritage Site, the city that was to inspire Lorca and Machado, still resonates. After Cordoba was won back from the
Alczar (fortress). Cordoba

Almera Cathedral

Caliphate-style ribbed vaulting, stalactite decoration and lavish arabesques. Out in the province, sights include the palace-castle of Belalczar, the castle of Almodvar del Ro, and the delectable portal of St. Clares (Santa Clara) in Montilla.
Royal Hospital. Granada Belalczar (Cordoba)

Granada has a splendid Cathedral, designed by Enrique Egas and completed by Diego Silo, in which Corinthian columns replace the traditional bead-moulding pillars. The most dazzling feature, however, is the Royal Chapel, again by Egas, Pantheon of the Catholic Monarchs whose tomb chests, in Carrara marble, were the work of Fancelli. The Cathedral museum houses notable Flemish panels. Other major sights include the Royal (Real) Hospital, by Egas,

Moors, Gothic came to permeate its churches, with stone on portals, rose windows and ribs, and brick for the remainder. This, in turn, gave rise to the Churches of Mary Magdalene (La Magdalena), St. Michael, St. Marina... and part of the Alczar, the paradigm of the castle-palace. In Cordobas Mosque-Cathedral, a place of unimaginable perspectives, Mudejar is manifest in the Royal Chapel, in the guise of

the cloisters of the Monastery of San Jernimo (St. Jerome) and St. Josephs Church (San Jos), and, in the Albaicn Quarter, the admirable lacery and intricately carved ceiling in St. Isabels Monastery. In the surrounding province, towns and villages of great beauty, such as Guadix, Loja, Motril and Ugjar, have Gothic churches, with the church in Montefro having been designed by Silo.

Trigueros, in its Cordoba-style church of St. Anthony (San Antn); Palos de la Frontera, in the shape of St. Georges (San Jorge) and the simple cloister of La Rbida Monastery, where Columbus once stayed; and Moguer, in St. Clares Convent, which features pointed arches and brick pillars. Amidst rugged hill country, Aracena is recognisable by its castle, where Gothic and Mudejar elements alternate in the towers of its tierceron-vaulted church. In Cortegana, there are two

Few places in this province possess examples of Gothic. Among those that do are:
La Rbida Monastery. Huelva

Aracena Castle. Huelva

churches and a castle dating from the 13th century, all in an excellent state of preservation.

While St. Catalina Castle, St. Lawrences Arch (San Lorenzo) and the churches of Mary Magdalene and St. John are the most highly prized sights in the city itself, the La Loma
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Royal Chapel. Granada

An inscription that formerly adorned one of the city gates defined Seville: Hercules built me, Julius Ceasar walled me... and the Holy King took me. Cordoban Gothic was interpreted here la Andalusian, with brick used on pillars, walls and arches, as in the case of the churches of St. Anne of Triana (Santa Ana), St. Giles (San Gil), Omnium Sanctorum and St. Stephen (San Esteban). While the first civil architecture is represented by the Atarazanas, the sublime ribbed vaulting of Don Fadriques Tower and some vestiges of the Alczar, the style was to flower fully in the 14th century. The Cathedral is a city landmark. Begun in 1402, it is the largest in Spain and was the precursor of the Flemish style. Isambret, Gil de Hontan and Simon of Cologne all played a part in its construction and left behind an anthology of bead-moulding pillars, Flamboyant vaulting, ribs, etc. One of the buildings leading features is the Royal Chapel, a Plateresque marvel. The Birth (Nacimiento) and Baptism (Bautismo) portals are attributed to Mercadante and the design of the imposing high altar piece and choir stalls, to Pieter Dancart. There is no shortage of attractions in the province either. Lebrija is home to the classicism of St. Marys, with the best array

St. Catalina Castle. Jan

District is home to two of Spains unique Renaissance treasures that also display a touch of Gothic: beda, with the churches of St. Nicholas and St. Clare, the cloister of St. Marys Collegiate Church, and St Pauls (San Pablo); and Baeza, with its Cathedrals Luna Door and the Isabeline faade of Palace of the Count of Benavente and Jabalquinto, attributed to Juan Guas. Torreperogil and Andjar are similarly important sites.

Jabalquinto Palace. Baeza (Jan)

Save for the portal of the Church of the Tabernacle (Sagrario), very few Gothic

remains are to be found in this populous city. In the neighbouring province, Vlez Mlaga boasts the Church of St. Mary Major (Santa Mara la Mayor); Ronda, the celebrated urban jewel, has the Convents of St. Dominic and St. Francis; and Antequera, bordering on the capricious geological limestone formations of El Torcal, is the site of St. Zoilus Monastery (San Zoilo).

Seville Cathedral

of Moorish vaults anywhere in Andalusia, and the Crdoba Palace, with its superb arabesque work. Outstanding churches await discovery in Carmona and Sanlcar la Mayor, and situated in Santiponce is the cloister of St. Isidores (Isidoro). Other significant examples are the Duke of Osunas Palace, by Juan Guas, in Marchena, the churches of Utrera, and the castles in La Algaba and Alans.
Seville Cathedral

Ronda (Malaga)

Antequera (Malaga)


More than anywhere else, here one sees two Gothic interpretations at work, one in stone, and the other in brick, yet both in the Mediterranean sphere, since the Kingdom of Aragon covered a territory stretching from Catalonia to Sicily and beyond. Distinguishing features included smooth walls, austere vaults, little sculpture, an abundance of painted retables, and massive polychrome wooden bosses positioned over keystones.

Huesca, situated on the Hoya plain, is the regional provincial capital having the least Mudejar and greatest Gothic importance.

Its Cathedral, begun by James I (Jaime), is the culmination of this style in the province, there being no brick present in its fabric. One is attracted by the portico, the finest in Aragon, with an abundance of sculptures, an openwork gable and a typically Aragonese eave added at a later date. The alabaster retable, by Forment, combines Renaissance figures with Gothic surrounds. In addition, there are the churches of St. Lawrence, rebuilt in the 17th century, which houses an atrium concealed behind a Baroque faade, with the zodiac on the brackets, and St. Peter, which features a lantern and towers dating back to the 13th century. A visit to the Zuda or alczar is also to be recommended: its tower is one of the best of the mediaeval era.

Alquzar (Huesca)

The mountains to the north, the heart of the Kingdom of Aragon, are abundant in Romanesque, yet Gothic is also to be found, e.g., St. Victorians Chapel (San Victorin) in the famous Monastery of San Juan de la Pea, and the Clock Tower and some additions to Jaca Cathedral. In the area of the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park are the evocative towns of Ainsa, Boltaa, Bielsa, Benasque, Panticosa, etc.

Barbastro Cathedral (Huesca)

Huesca Cathedral

In the proximity of the city of Huesca, plains and foothills offer a great profusion of sights. There is Alquzar, set amidst great natural beauty, atop a ravine carved by the River Vero, with its castle-collegiate church, the loveliest in the Huesca area, and porticoed square. Barbastro is home to a Cathedral of solid ashlar, praised for its slim pillars and fine ribs. During the 16th century, side chapels were opened, some of which are curious in that they resemble tiny churches. The town also possesses two Gothic churches, an arcaded square and the Azud fountain, with its Flamboyantstyle tracery frontispiece. In the vicinity there are monasteries and castles of note, such as Monzn, Mequinenza, etc.

So refined is Teruels Mudejar that the city has been officially declared a World Heritage Site. It has a Cathedral featuring a nave, two aisles and apses, the sides having been demolished to make way for an ambulatory, and the Church of St. Firmin (San Fermn), a splendid 14th-century structure, built in pure Gothic without recourse to brick so that it would prove all the more singular. Of the former royal palace, only the solid ashlar Italianate Ambeles Tower, encrusted in the town wall, remains. Teruel province can lay claim to exceptional artistic ensembles. Begin your tour in Albarracn, an extraordinarily attractive town thanks to its setting and mediaeval layout. The Cathedral, at the foot of the castle, is ringed by a cloister and the Episcopal Palace. In the rugged Maestrazgo

The city of the River Ebro and the Church of Pilar offers the traveller a magnificent Seo or Cathedral of Romanesque origins and Gothic appearance, thanks to the patronage of archbishops of the royal line. Constructed between the 12th and 18th centuries, it shows evidence of all styles, something that makes it the most different of cathedrals. It reserves all its charms for the interior, except for St. Michaels Chapel, which, conceived as an independent church, displays a surprising Mudejar wall, of which you are sure to take more than one photograph. The most artistic features are the chevet, with a retable in polychrome alabaster, the lantern and the exceptional panelling on the choir and stalls. The 13th-century Aljafera, a sumptuously appointed castle, reflects a refined Mudejar taste. On the outside, eyes will tend to linger on the Trovador (troubador) Tower, so named because it is here that legend situates the prison of Il Trovattore in Verdis opera. The interior, and the Flamboyant Gothic palace of the Catholic Monarchs in particular, seem to come straight out of a tale by Washington Irving.

Albarracn. (Teruel)

Aljafera. Zaragoza

The 16th-century Guildhall is a key piece in Zaragozan architecture. The great trading hall (saln de contratacin) masterfullly combines Renaissance annulated columns with Gothic stellar vaults and keystones surmounted by large polychrome wooden bosses. Travellers to this province will discover unforgettable towns and villages. There is Tarazona, whose prize sight is the Cathedral, the principal flowering of classic Aragonese Gothic, which mixes local and traditional elements, like the contrast between the fragile brick lantern and the stone walls, or the purest Gothic of the triforium, the only one of its kind in Aragon. Be sure not to miss the Zuda, converted into an episcopal palace, with a Gothic gallery overlooking the precipice. Sos del Rey Catlico, the birthplace of King Ferdinand, honours its royal status with buildings such as St. Lucys (Santa Luca), St. Martins and the Guildhall, as well as the town

Mora de Rubielos (Teruel)

walls. Other points include Uncastillo, which conserves its best Gothic inside a fortress, Luna, with two palaces linked to the family of the schismatic Pope, and Daroca, in the Jaln Valley, an attractive town with a collegiate church that traces its history back to James Is campaign in Valencia. This church reached a pinnacle of splendour in the 15th century, coinciding with the addition of Gothic elements, such as the tower, Door of Pardon and the lavish decoration in the Corporales Chapel. Lastly there is Calatayud, another Mudejar centre, fascinating thanks to its square, collegiate church, cloister of the Holy Sepulchre and churches.

Range, the Aragonese duo of castle-palace and collegiate church tends to crop up again and again, as in the case of Mora de Rubielos. The towns ex-collegiate church, joined to the castle by a wall, with a single nave that leads off into three apses, is similar in grandeur to Girona Cathedral. Just to wander around the interior is marvellous. On the banks of the River Ebro lies Alcaiz. Among its many monuments are St. Dominics Church, the castle, a porticoed square and the characteristic Guild Hall or Exchange (Lonja) with three fine pointed arcades in the style of an Italian loggia, the finest example of its type in Spain.

Guildhall. Zaragoza

Tarazona Cathedral (Zaragoza)

Ensconced between sea and mountains, a monochromatic paradise of marked scenic contrasts unfolds for our pleasure. Its history is that of Spain itself. In the centuries of the Gothic era, Asturias was a feudal society, which possessed nascent urban centres, had benefited from the Pilgrims Way and was eager to break away from the Len crown. Despite the general dearth of Gothic hereabouts, it is in Oviedo, the principalitys capital, that the most significant examples are to be found. The first thing one spies is the Cathedral tower, a stone index finger pointing heavenwards, as Clarn puts it in his novel, La Regenta. This Flamboyant-style church, begun in the 15th century, has a nave, two aisles and a crossing, where all the Gothic processes may be seen, though the oldest features ( the ribbed squinches and eight-sectioned vaulting) are in the Chapter House. In the Cmara Santa,

Oviedo Cathedral

Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury. Avils

the capitals depicting hunting scenes and the three Maras constitute the first Asturian Gothic sculptures. Gothic is also to be found in some palaces and in St. Vincents Convent.

To the west is Avils, a city with an interesting Old Quarter. Highlights include the Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury, in the Romanesque tradition, the 14th-century Alas Chapel, the neighbouring Church of St. Nicholas, the oldest in the city, and Valdecarnaza Palace, with its magnificent windows. From here, there are two possible routes, namely: the corniche or coastal route, marked by spectacular sea cliffs, that runs to Cudillero, a picturesque fishing village where St. Peters is an excellent example of rural Gothic, and to Navia and the austere lines of its parish church; or alternatively, the inland route, which first goes to Salas and its Gothic-Renaissance St. Marys Collegiate Church, and then heads for Tineo to take in the church and Tineo House, which features coupled windows. Eastwards lies Valdedis Monastery and the first Asturian church to be entirely roofed with ogive arches, and

Villaviciosa, with St. Marys. This is followed by Llanes, with castle, tower and town wall, and the Church of Santa Mara del Concellu, with excellent Flemish paintings. Heading inland from here, one gets to St. Eulalias in Ons, and the landmark bridge of Cangas de Ons. Nestling in the Picos de Europa Range, Arenas de Cabrales is not only a mountain resort, but, thanks to the local Church of Santa Mara de Lls, is also a bastion of montas proto-Gothic (montas; the adjective used to describe this part of Spain and its people).

St. Marys. Llanes

Collegiate Church of St. Mary. Salas

Oviedo Cathedral 25


Visitors are inevitably taken aback by sights of exceptional value in the Mediterraneans leading sunand-sea tourist destination. On the island of Mallorca (Majorca), Palma Cathedral, mirrored in the waters of the harbour, was built by order of James I. Its slow construction generated enormous differences between the soaring, elongated nave and aisles, and the narrow chevet. Following the 1851 earthquake, major restoration work was undertaken. It should be mentioned here that in the early years of the 20th century Gaud was called in, and proceeded to transform the interior radically, though his work by no means escaped controversy. At the portside stands the Exchange or Guildhall (Lonja), designed by Sagrera in the reign of Alfonso the Magnanimous. The interior takes the form of a great hall with six spiral columns that, without recourse to capitals, receive the full thrust of the ogival arching of the vault. Outside, the buildings faades are embellished with a rich plant motif-based decoration. Dominating the bay is the imposing presence of Bellver Castle, the most impressive and best-preserved example of Spanish mediaeval military architecture. Erected in the early 14th century, it conserves its


The expedition led by Juan de Bethencourt in the 15th century heralded the arrival of Gothic in these islands. The records show Le Maon as being responsible for Fuerteventura Cathedral and the Conde Tower in La Gomera, where the capital is home to the Church of the Assumption (Asuncin), a bucolic spot where Columbus paused to pray prior to embarking on his voyage. Las Palmas, the largest city, possesses a Cathedral with compound pillars that exhibit Cadiz and Portuguese influences, and the interesting retable of St. Christopher (San Cristbal) in the Episcopal Palace. Also warranting mention are: on La Palma, the sculpture of

Church of the Conception. Tenerife

Palma Cathedral

exceptional structural unity. The circular ground plan houses a porticoed patio reminiscent of a square or palatial mansion. The castles stout donjon is also circular. More sights are to be found in Alcudia, Menorca (Santa Mara de la Ciudadela) and Ibiza (St. Marys), though none of them attains the universal stature of those mentioned above.

Santa Ana Triple (Saint Anne with the Virgin and Christ Child) in St. Francis Church in the island capital of Santa Cruz de La Palma; and, on Tenerife, the Church of San Juan de Teide, with a famous Flemish retable of the Virgin Mary, the Church of the Conception, and the celebrated Crucifixion in La Laguna, site of the university that has a 15th-century illuminated Book of Hours (Libro de las Horas).

Guildhall (La Lonja) Las Palmas Cathedral


Church of Santa Mara del Puerto. Santoa

St. Marys. Castro Urdiales

Santander Cathedral

This idyllically scenic region is home to Gothic monuments of great value. The upsurge in trade in the 12th century, coupled with the grant of charters (fueros) and privileges by Ferdinand III, made for communication with Europe and an early influx of artistic currents. The coastal towns formed the vanguard from which the new techniques subsequently radiated outwards. In Santander, one cannot restrict oneself to the purely artistic: the citys appeal is infinite, with the Magdalena, Sardinero, Puerto Chico areas and so on. Our goal is the Cathedral crypt and Collegiate Church. The former, austere and dark, does not transmit Gothic sensations owing to its functional nature; its corbelled doorway leads into a nave and two aisles of stout pillars.

The latter preserves the primitive layout of the aisles, which respond to a Cistercian-inspired sense of balance. The fire of 1941 and the ensuing historicist restoration means that what one sees may not necessarily correspond to the original. The best place to begin your tour of the region is Castro Urdiales, a picturesque fishing village which still retains the salty tang of the sea that makes it so delightful. Dominating the town is St. Marys, its slim faade delimited by impressive buttresses pierced by an eyecatching number of loopholes. On the inside, the chancel, ringed by an ambulatory, is spectacular, a catalogue of arches and lavish tracery. In Laredo, a friendly town with an extraordinary stretch of strand, there awaits the

St. Marys. San Vicente de la Barquera

12th-century Church of the Assumption. On its south side, access is afforded by a portico featuring a wide pointed arch and beautiful sculptures. The different height of the nave and aisles lends great luminosity to the generously proportioned interior. From this point, the town of Santoa is visible on the opposite side of the estuary, its harbour and fishermens quarter making it an unforgettable rendezvous. Head for the Church of Santa Mara del Puerto, a well-balanced 12th-century structure in the Cistercian tradition, where the sculptural decoration will delight you.

The seaside resort of San Vicente de la Barquera is the next destination. The first sight to receive the visitor is St. Marys, its defensive character only too clear from its prominent perch above the town and its position adjoining the likewise Gothic castle and walls. The exterior features three doors, with the south door, flanked by buttresses, having a somewhat archaic appearance. The interior, wide and majestic, is made up of a nave and two aisles which, due to the stylised nature of the pillars, tend to resemble the ground plan of a hall. For the curious, there are more places of interest: in Santillana, the Collegiate Church, Romanesque with Gothic elements; in the Picos de Europa area and Libana Valleys, St. Toribios in Potes, St. Andrews (Andrs), etc.; in the Pas River Valley, Castaeda; in Trasmiera, Solares and Ajo (spectacular sunsets); in the River Asn Basin, Ampuero and so on, forever. Discover them for yourself!

Gothic was an early arrival on the Manchegan plateau, with the conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI. He established a frontier line, along which military orders settled, raising fortified outposts, churches and monasteries in which the best master masons toiled. At this point, readers should perhaps be reminded that they are about to move through a land of windmills, whose silhouettes will be accompanying them from now on.

St. Marys. Letur (Albacete)

Toledo Gate. Ciudad Real

around the fort in Aldea del Rey, imagine the knights going about their daily routine. There are more castles to come, such as Bolaos, with a curious access to the keep, Alczar de San Juan, with artistic window openings and loopholes, plus a small museum with Gothic-Renaissance furniture, Montiel, with brick vaults and domes, Montizn the list goes on. To see religious monuments, you will have to go to Almagro, famous for its square and Monastery of the Assumption, and to Villahermosa, whose church is one of the most monumental in La Mancha. Round off your tour with a visit to the Church of the Assumption in Valdepeas, an interesting Mannerist interpretation of Gothic.

In the city itself little remains of this style, with only the Cathedral and the Posada del Rosario (posada; inn or hostelry) retaining Gothic elements. However, the itinerary through the province will lead to idyllic spots, churches and castles, such as: Chinchilla de Montearagn, a town with a complicated mediaeval layout, founded, according to legend, by Hercules; the parish

church of Jonquera, set against a beautiful scenic backdrop in a defile on the River Jcar; the church of Villarrobledo flanked by emblazoned houses; the superb Late Gothic portal of Alcaraz in the Sierra Morena Range; and in the stunning setting of Letur, a charming example of rural Gothic. The tour ends in Yeste, to visit its church, featuring two clearly differentiated parts, Gothic and Renaissance, which in turn give rise to a curious T-shaped ground plan. From a hilltop, the local castle, solid and sturdy, bids travellers farewell.

Church of the Assumption. Valdepeas

Ciudad Real
Outstanding sights in the city of Ciudad Real are the Cathedral, churches such as St. Peters and St. James, and the town walls, which contrast with the ashlars of the Toledo Gate, a monumental entrance with large fortified towers. As your starting point, take Calatrava la Nueva, seat of the Order of Calatrava and one of the most important fortified strongholds in Spain for its size, state of preservation, history, and status as a clear exponent of the sophisticated techniques of Gothic fortification. Strolling

In this World Heritage city of startling ravines and hanging houses (casas colgadas), a great Cathedral is waiting to be discovered, the first Gothic church of its kind in Castile. It has a deep chancel and radial apse chapels, five aisles from the high altar to the crossing and three in the body of the church. Once inside, the magnificent triforium will leave you dumbstruck. The present faade is the work of Lamprez, who took charge of the restoration work after the collapse of the bell tower in 1902.

Chinchilla de Montearagn (Albacete)

Cuenca Cathedral

castle; and Garcimuoz, whose castle witnessed the death of Jorge Manrique in the wars between Isabella the Catholic and the pretender to the throne, Juana la Beltraneja (so named because her paternity was attributed to the court favourite Beltrn de la Cueva). As a finishing touch, see the Flamboyant rollo (mediaeval stone jurisdictional column often used to display the heads of wrongdoers) in Villanueva de la Jara.

Castle-palace. Belmonte (Cuenca)

Two towns call for our attention: Alarcn, situated on a deep bend of the River Jcar and an example of the fortified system, in the form of St. Dominics and St. Marys; and Belmonte, with a superb collegiate church, classical and Flamboyant in style, as well as a castle-palace, with a complicated ground plan, in which Juan Guas had a hand. The palace area with its Mudejar air and profuse decoration, fireplaces, stucco, plaster arabesques, polychrome work and coffered (caissoned) ceilings recreates the sumptuousness of the 15th century. Also meriting a visit are: Villaescusa de Haro where, rising from among the town roofs, is a lantern with pinnacles, gargoyles, crests and finials; the imposing ruins of Almenara

Although the nobility beautified the city with palaces and churches, almost nothing remains standing. Some idea of what these palaces must have looked like can be got from the Infantado Palace, where Philip (Felipe) II and Philip V were both married. The building is
Infantado Palace. Guadalajara

El Doncel (the Page). Sigenza Cathedral (Guadalajara)

dominated by the Flamboyant Style, which Juan Guas was to nationalise by the use of motifs and Mudejar forms. The faade, topped by a high gallery, reminiscent of Italian palaces, is decorated in diamond point, and pre-eminent on its magnificent portal are the savages bearing the Mendoza coat of arms.

The interior opens onto a double arcaded courtyard, with double ogee arches along the lower gallery, and mixtilinear arches with griffin decoration above. The venerable town of Sigenza has a Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, characterised by robust towers, extraordinary walnut choir stalls, a lovely cloister and chapels, principal among which is the Arce Chapel. Here, under a tomb chest arch, is the sculpture of El Doncel (the page, Don Martn Vzquez de Arce), of whom Ortega and Gasset was to say, This man seems more of the pen than the sword. Another town to visit is Atienza, its mediaeval streets, squares and arcades playing host to Gothic churches and houses, such as the Posada del Cordn.

Posada del Cordn. Atienza (Guadalajara)

Similarly interesting are: Cifuentes, with the Churches of St. Saviour (Salvador) and St. James, the latter decorated with the vices (a she-devil among them) and virtues; Molina de Aragn, featuring a Moorish town plan and Alcazaba, with St. Clares Convent (Clarisas; Poor Clares) and St. Francis Chapel; and Brihuega, the importance of which is attested to by St. Philips, St. Michaels and the Pea Bermeja Chapel.

cresting, and a cloister, thereby combining Flamboyant forms, Caliphate inspiration and Plateresque ornamentation. The granite faade, was the work of Covarrubias in the 17th century. Highlights in the province include: Escalona, where, according to the records, the castle, a luxurious 15th-century residence, was once inhabited by lvaro de Luna; Talavera de la Reina which attained great importance in the Middle Ages, thanks to its strategic position at a crossroads the rose window gracing the faade of the towns Collegiate Church is one of the leading Flamboyant elements in Toledo Province; and lastly Illescas, site of a magnificent parish church.
Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. Toledo


This is the largest and most monumental region. Indeed, history and art are present to a disproportionate degree and even more so where Gothic is concerned. This stylistic splendour coincides with the political highpoint reached by the Catholic Monarchs, beginning in 1230 with the union of Castile and Len and culminating in territorial unification under Isabella and Ferdinand. Some three centuries which, to our delight, have bequeathed an unrivalled artistic outpouring.

Within its walls, this World Heritage city encloses a number of historical and artistic vestiges. Examples of these are the Valderrbanos and Pedro Dvila Palaces, the Velada Tower, the Bracamonte Chapel, one of the most harmonious in the Gothic Style, the churches of St. Vincent and St. Thomas, the latter with superbly carved choir stalls, and inevitably, the Cathedral, where the genius of Fruchel adapted a Romanesque ground plan to a Gothic elevation. The chevet of this granite churchfortress actually forms part of the town wall. The interior, where the red and white veins of its fabric produce a strange effect, consists of a nave and two aisles, illuminated by splendid stained glass windows. The exquisite apse and retable warrant special attention.

After the Battle of Navas de Tolosa, Toledo became a major city in the Kingdom of Castile, a development that favoured the construction of a Cathedral, which remodelled the urban setting while preserving the Moorish imprint on the layout of its streets, which, in the words of a 16th-century document, were narrow, winding and twisted with a score of turns. An itinerary through this World Heritage city would do well to take in the Franciscan Convent of the Conception, St. Pauls Convent and the funeral chapels of different churches. A gem to end off your tour would be the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs to commemorate the Battle of Toro. Basically this was the work of Juan Guas, who in fact lived in Toledo, and features a single nave, a slender lantern with

Escalona Castle (Toledo)

Avila Cathedral

Mombeltrn Castle (Avila)

In Avila Province, our route will, in part, take us through the Gredos Range, a magnificent scenic run dominated by Mt. Almanzor. The starting point is Villatoro, where St. Michaels attests to the survival of Gothic in the 16th century. The next stop is Bonilla de la Sierra, where highlights in the local church include the pointed barrel vaults and the curious pulpit stairway opened into the wall, in the manner of Cistercian refectories. Sights In Barco de vila include Valdecorneja Castle and the Church of the Assumption, and in the mountains there is Mombeltrn, with a castle whose lines reveal the hand of Juan Guas.

St. Stephens, site of the retable museum, where the container is no less important than the contents. In the Santsimo Chapel of St. Giles Church there is a magnificent Crucifixion, and in St. Nicholas, a surprising stone retable attributed to Simon of Cologne. Two sights to finish the tour are: Las Huelgas Reales royal pantheon, church and cloister- with a whole catalogue of styles and an interesting museum (among the items on display is a figure of St. James fitted with the articulated arm that had the privilege of dubbing knights of the realm); and the Isabeline-Gothic Style Cartuja de Miraflores (cartuja; Carthusian monastery, the Spanish term being derived from the French chartreuse, through the Latin cartusia, of which the English charterhouse is a corruption), designed by John of Cologne, with two masterpieces by Gil de Silo, namely, the mausoleums housing Isabella the Catholics father and mother.

Covarrubias Collegiate Church (Burgos)

Burgos is an essentially Gothic city, and its present urban layout and monumental configuration date from this time thanks to its status as a royal city. Among the churches to be visited is

Las Huelgas Reales Convent. Burgos

Begin your tour of the outlying areas by going westwards, following the Pilgrims Way, and then turning south. The first stop is in Sasamn, to see the Cruz del Humilladero and its Church of Santa Mara la Real (St. Mary Royal), with a 13th-century portal reminiscent of Burgos Cathedrals Sarmental Door. In the so-called Campos Gticos (or Campi Gothorum, a reference to the time of the Goths) lies Castrojeriz, where, among its churches, St. Johns enjoys pride of place. Continue on as far as Santa Mara del Campo, where the tower, by Diego de Silo, marks the skyline of a town reputed to have played host to Queen Juanas funeral cortge. In the Arlanza Valley is Covarrubias, with a superlative 15th-century Collegiate Church. While here, visit the local museum, which houses important sculptures and paintings, such as the Covarrubias Triptych, a work displaying marked Flemish

realism. Covarrubias affords a striking example of Castilian town planning in its arcaded streets and timber-frame houses, including the Doa (denoting Queen) Urraca Tower. On arriving in Aranda de Duero, stop to see St. Marys Church, its frontage graced by an interesting heraldic portal and crowning cornice of major proportions attributed to Simon of Cologne. Close by are Silos and the Roman ruins of Clunia.

The city traces its origins to the Roman Legio VII Gemina which was stationed in the territory to protect the mines and whence it takes its name. Court and capital of the Kingdom of Len, it is a site shared by gems of the calibre of the Cathedral, St. Isidores Basilica (San Isidoro) and St. Marks. While no Gothic examples remain intact in Len itself, the surrounding province is nevertheless rich in these.
Len Cathedral

Only the River Carrin can attest to the historical importance enjoyed by this city, the site of a strikingly beautiful Cathedral, with Visigothic foundations (e.g., St. Antholians crypt San Antoln), a Romanesque edifice and Gothic construction. Notable features are the chevet, which has a stepped structure in the chancel, supported by double flying buttresses, and the ambulatory and radial chapels, surmounted by fine gargoyles. Tombs, including that of Doa Urraca, are to be found in the interior. On the exterior, note the apse, porticoes

that of the Novios in particular and tower. Also worth a visit are the churches of St. Michael, St. Francis and St. Clare. Lying a short distance away is Dueas, with a church that boasts magnificent tomb chests and exceptional choir stalls. In Tamara, Burgos-borne influence will be noticed in St. Hippolytus, which contains a stunning polychrome arabesque pulpit. Surrounded by churches lining the Pilgrims Way is the town of Villalczar de Sirga, where the parish church possesses a frieze on its faade with the figure of Christ Panthocrator and Tetramorph (or fourfold Gospel, represented by St. Matthew depicted as a winged man or angel, St Mark as a lion, St. Luke as an ox and St. John as an eagle, all usually shown holding an open book), and the Twelve Apostles; in addition, the interior houses splendid sepulchres. The last stop is Aguilar de Campoo. Rising above the arcaded streets of this mediaeval town is St. Michaels, a Castilian landmark by reason of its flawless architecture.

Ponferrada Castle (Len)

To the north lie Barniedo, situated amidst fields and meadows, its 15th-century church having curious vernacular-style paintings, and Yegueros, where the capitals of its church merit a stop. At this point, you are moving into the domains of the Knights Templar, e.g., Ponferrada, home to an imposing castle constructed for the protection of the Pilgrims Way, and close by, the Ancares and Las Mdulas areas, scenic spots that defy description. Once in Astorga, the capital of the Maragatera district (Maragatos; a people who settled these parts in bygone times), visit the Cathedral, which brings together a number of styles, ranging from the Gothic apse to the Baroque towers. Standing across the way is the Episcopal Palace, a work of genius by Gaud. Carry on to Villaverde de Sandoval to see its lovely church portal, depicting monks hidden behind acanthus leavesand end the trip in Sahagn, generator of the Mudejar school, as will be borne out by a visit to the Church of the Peregrina (Pilgrim), where arabesques cover the walls.

Salamanca Cathedral

Romanesque and Gothic structures as if they were a single building. The Gothic section, which affected the original to an almost negligible degree, was begun in 1513 under the supervision of Gil de Hontan. In the interior, ribbed vaults span the nave, aisles, chevet and crossing. The exterior is a positive feast of decoration, with features of note being the Cock Tower (Torre del Gallo) and Door of Pardon, bearing 17th-century reliefs. Stroll through the city at the end of the day and see how the setting sun lends a golden hue to the Villamayor stone of its buildings. To begin your tour of the area, one of the most grandiose ogival churches in the Province of Salamanca is to be found in Santiago de la Puebla. En route to Bjar, where you will see Flemish paintings and have a chance to wander through El Bosque, a lovely Italianate garden, you simply must make a stop in Guijuelo, where the ruins of St. Marys defy the elements. Nearby is Candelario, with a

Palencia Cathedral

Among its sights, this World Heritage Site and university city par excellence contains vestiges from different periods, including the landmark Plaza Mayor (Main Square). The visit will start at the Cathedral, which is unique inasmuch as it combines

Dueas church (Palencia)

Cuidad Rodrigo Cathedral (Salamanca)

surprising rose window. Passing through glorious scenery and typical villages and hamlets, you come to Ciudad Rodrigo. Its monumental ensemble includes the Castle of Enrique de Trastmara and the Cathedral, with choir stalls by Rodrigo Alemn that depict burlesque scenes from monastic life. Finally, another carved altar piece, this time from the chisels and gouges of Lucas Mitata, can be seen in Fuenteguinaldo. Also worth visiting are Perea, along the upper reaches of the River Duero (Arribes del Duero), and Aldehuela de La Bveda, with delightful ruins standing in open countryside.

Its ground plan consists of a nave, two aisles, niche chapels, crossing, chancel and ambulatory roofed in all cases with tierceron vaulting, except for the crossing which is domed. The cloister, by Guas, which dates from the old Cathedral that was destroyed in the Castilian War of the Communities (Guerra de las Comunidades) and stood across from the Alczar, is notable for its stunning openwork-tracery arches. Situated outside the city walls is St. Anthonys Monastery, originally a pleasure palace for Henry IV and the site of a magnificent Mudejar coffered ceiling. In an equally beautiful setting is El Parral, an excellent monastic example dating from the time of the Catholic Monarchs and roofed over with ribbed vaults of various designs. To end your visit, take in one of the citys most interesting portals at the Convent of Santa Cruz la Real, where the well-known proverb is written up for all to
Segovia Cathedral

Coca Castle. Segovia

read tanto monta, monta tanto (loosely meaning, It makes no difference, a reference to the equal footing enjoyed by Ferdinand and Isabella). The route through the outlying province first heads in the direction of Cullar. Pre-eminent among the towns religious and civil buildings is a palace-fortress with elaborate machicolations. The next port of call, Aylln, at the foot of the Somosierra Range, retains a flanking tower, La Martina, and an emblazoned gate on the far side of which is a mansion-house, attributed to Simon of Cologne. More castles are to be found in Turgano and Coca, a grandiose brick construction, with walls that slant up from a moat of incredible
Burgo de Osma Cathedral (Soria)

dimensions. The following goal is the Church of Santa Mara la Real de Nieva. Features of note include the faade at the crossing, with an interesting iconographic repertoire, and the cloister, where the capitals combine divine and playfully profane themes: note the farming calendar. In La Losa, near the Palaces of Riofro and La Granja, the parish church houses a stone retable. The tour ends in Villacastn, where the monumental church is topped by a cornice with gargoyles.

Unlike the province which abounds in examples, this city, immortalised in the poetry of Antonio Machado, has no

Segovia, a World Heritage Site, greets the visitor with its magnificent Roman aqueduct. Rising from within its walls is the Lady of Cathedrals, the last Gothic example to be built in Spain. Designed by Gil de Hontan, it was started in 1525 and finished in the 18th century.

outstanding Gothic monuments to offer. Beginning in greda, a focal point for Sorian Gothic painting, visit St. Michaels, with its splendid stellar vault, St. Johns with its pentagonal chancel, and the Church of Nuestra Seora de los Milagros (Our Lady of Miracles), with its sumptuous interior. Drive on to Morn de Almazn to see a beautiful 16th-century architectural ensemble. However, to see Sorian Gothic at its most elegant and harmonious, continue onwards to Medinaceli and its Collegiate Church of Santa Mara. Another collegiate church, this time in Berlanga de Duero, is singular for its chancel, which was conceived as a church apart. A special note on which to finish is the Cathedral in Burgo de Osma, commenced in 1232 on Cistercian lines. Inside, all is grandeur and stylistic unity: outside, there is a fusion between sculpture and architecture as a varied iconographic programme takes shape and develops. The cloister is one of the most elegant Spanish Gothic examples of its kind, and the Chapter House contains an exceptional work of funerary art, in the form of the tomb of San Pedro de Osma.

this activity are the sights that we see today. Take your time as there is a lot to see. Start your tour at the Church of Santa Mara de la Antigua, where a haughty tower and portico tell of its Romanesque origins. The exterior is marked by buttresses and pinnacles, complemented by flying buttresses and gargoyles. The harmony of the different parts make it a magnificent instance of Castilian Gothic. Now head for the Main Square to visit the Church of St. James, where the most significant feature is the chevet, which is narrower than the nave. The retable, in Florentine terracotta, is attributed to Della Robbia. Without straying too far, you will come across the imposing faade of St. Benedicts (San Benito), looking more like a fortress than a church. Its ample interior reveals the final stages of Late Gothic, and a choir rising above the tracery vaulting.
St. Pauls. Valladolid

To see the paradigm of 15th-century Gothic, a fusion of the Burgos and Toledo schools, make for the Church of St. Pauls. Its majestic faade, by Simon of Cologne and Diego de Silo, is simply intoxicating. A basket arch leads through to a cruciform ground plan, deep chancel and chapels. The 16th-century vestry merits detailed attention. To finish off, visit the Sculpture Museum, at St. Gregorys College (San Gregorio), where Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolom de las Casas taught. The chapel, by Juan Guas, reflects the sumptuousness of the Hispano-Flemish style. The cloister, Late Gothic in style, is profusely decorated, and the heraldic-type faade, attributed to Gil de Silo, is a rich sculptural repertoire. Although the catalogue is immense, the tour through this province will be limited to just three towns. In Medina del Campo castle, situated atop a mound (or motte), Csar Borgia and Pizarro were incarcerated. Your visit should include St. Antholians, a stone and brick structure of a kind that is commonplace in these parts, designed by Gil de Hontan and his son. As a matter of curiosity, Isabella the Catholic died in a house on the town square. More history awaits in Tordesillas. It was here that the treaty between Portugual and Castile dividing the ocean was signed;

Medina del Campo Castle (Valladolid)

and it was here too that Juana la Loca (Queen Joan the Mad) found seclusion and death. Its main sight of note is St. Clares, a combination of Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance elements. The Mudejar Courtyard and Golden Chapel are of interest. The last point on this tour is a magnificent example of military architecture, i.e., Peafiel castle. Perched on an outcrop that imposed its long narrow structure, this fort relies on a double line of walls to defend its keep. Its silhouette, encircled by the Rivers Duero and Duratn, dominates the countryside.

On the banks of the Duero, the city that the Romans once called Ocellum and Moors Samurah rises from behind its walls, those same ramparts that witnessed the fratricidal infighting between Doa Urraca and Sancho II of Castile, killed here at the hands of Bellido Dolfos. The citys history is reflected in the names of its monuments: the Treason Gate (Portillo de la Traicin), Doa Urraca Arch, Olivares Gate, El Cids

This city, a Royal villa (the words use in this sense being equivalent to the French ville) since 1208, was favoured by an assiduous royal presence that served to foster urban progress. Evidence of

Momos House. Zamora

House, etc. Our goal is the Romanesque-style Cathedral, which houses Gothic grilles and pulpits within its walls, along with choir stalls carved by Rodrigo Alemn (note the misericords) and a collection of 15th-century tapestries. The Momos and Conde de Alba Houses are examples of civil Gothic. Our tour through these historic lands will centre on two towns, Toro and Benavente. Many an unsuspected gem is to be found in the surrounding areas. Toro, birthplace and residence of kings, seat of the Royal Court situated on the banks of the Duero, opens its gates to display its treasures to visitors. These take the form of palaces, churches, bridges and, needless to say, the Collegiate Church, built at the time when Late Romanesque was giving way to incipient Gothic; indeed, dating from this latter period is its portal, a compendium that words are powerless to describe. Inside the church is the exceptional painting

of the Virgen de la Mosca. Follow this with a visit to the Hispano-Flemish panels in Arcenillas and, before reaching Benavente, stop in Villamayor de Campos to see the Flamboyant parapet of the choir of St. Marys, the only one of its kind in the Province of Zamora. Awaiting in Benavente is the Church of Santa Mara del Azogue (take a close look at the sculptures on the pedestals in the main arch), the Church of San Juan del Mercado (St. John of the Market) and the Caracol or Snail Tower. Before casting your net wider, make a stop in Villalobos, to take in the curious frieze of tritons (a sea monster, half man, half fish) that runs along the nave in the Church of St. Felix. To see one of the most interesting and beautiful provincial Gothic churches, on which both Juan de Hontan and his son worked, make for Villamayor de los Escuderos. The list could go on and on, yet this is an area best left open to the curious.
Toro Collegiate Church (Zamora)


Gothic Quarter. Barcelona

Influenced by the Romanesque tradition, master masons arriving from Europe provided solutions that were more superficial than structural. It is perhaps for this reason that Catalonian Gothic impresses one as being uninterrupted space in the interior accompanied by a well-defined volume on the exterior, moderately rather than steeply raked roofs, unadorned arrises, pillars and walls shorn of decoration, and pointed arches that are somewhat understated.

monumental sights is the eye-catching Cathedral. Started in 1298, the work progressed slowly until the 14th century when the most artistic part was added by Fabre. The attractive faade (inspired by a 15th-century drawing) and lantern are both 19th-century neo-Gothic. The bell towers positioned at the arms of the crossing, along with a third tower rising above the main entrance and nave, evoke the nails of the Cross of Christ.
Manresa (Barcelona)

The citys Gothic Quarter is one of the most famous and most popular with tourists coming to Spain -narrow alleys leading to secluded squares, palaces and churches that are sure to leave you with indelible memories. In the midst of all these

Pause a while to examine the cloister, templete (small pavilion or folly) and fountain. As you stroll through the streets you will come across a number of palaces, the best known of which is the landmark Palace of the Generalitat (Regional Authority), with its stunning stairway, Flamboyant tracery and St. Georges Chapel. The churches, distinguished by having a single aisle, are typified by Santa Mara de Pedralbes and Santa Mara del Pino, the most grandiose of all. Nevertheless, the most admirable example is the Church of St. Mary of the Sea (Santa Mara del Mar), which has a nave, two aisles, an ambulatory but no crossing. The slender pillars make for a space that is at once transparent and appealing. Barcelona Province too has exceptional monuments to offer. Manresa Cathedral has an original ground plan: taking the pillars and arches as reference, one gets the impression that there is a nave and two aisles, yet taking the vaults as reference, one gets a totally different impression, i.e., that there is only a nave and side chapels. Vic Cathedral, which combines Romanesque, Renaissance and Gothic elements, possesses a surprising and unforgettable cloister. Although Cardona is home to a Gothic church, the single most memorable building here is the Parador, one of the areas best mediaeval fortifications. Equally

One cannot fail to be impressed by the silhouette of the Old Cathedral dominating the city skyline, the artistic work of Pere de Coma in the 13th century. The main items of note here are the portals of the apostles, cloister and slender bell tower. In addition, there is the Zuda dating from Moorish times and transformed under James I, and the Church of St. Lawrence, important because it became a cathedral under the reign of Philip V.

Girona Cathedral

Pals Church (Girona)

famous sights include Balsareny castle, the walls of Centelles and many more.

This is a city redolent with mediaeval atmosphere that offers a Cathedral born in the shadow of an earlier Romanesque construction, of which only the cloister and famous Charlemagne Tower remain. One is filled with an indescribable feeling when, after climbing the stairs and entering through its Baroque faade, one emerges into a grandiose Gothic nave, the most colossal of its type dating from the Middle Ages. Wandering about the city, you will come upon buildings such as the Coll, Pa Almoina or Carles Palaces, with mullioned windows, richly embellished courtyards and elegant stairways, and churches such as St. Dominics, with a fine rose window and a notable cloister graced by beautiful arches.

The outlying province boasts outstanding mediaeval ensembles. In the Pyrenees there are the towns of Besal, where the arcades of drop (or depressed) arches and the exceptional fortified fountain take one back to the Middle Ages, and San Juan de las Abadesas, with an arcaded square and cloister that complement the beauty of the Romanesque Monastery. Down on the coast there are: Castell dEmpries, with a lovely palace and two guild halls, one that is the present-day porch of the Town Hall, and the other, the portico of the magnificent church; and Torroella de Montgr, with a church, splendid main square, palace of the Kings of Aragon, convent and a magnificent panoramic view from the castle. Finally one comes to Pals, a small, entirely Gothic, fairy-tale town of intricate lanes and alleyways, watched over by the Tower of the Hours (Horas) and local church.

Old Cathedral. Lleida

Monastery of Bellpuig (Lleida)

Lleidas provincial area has a number of surprises in store. Cervera is home to the Church of St. Mary, an ambitious 14th-century project, with an extraordinary collection of sepulchres. The Monastery of Bellpuig de les Avellanes, linked to the House of the Counts of Urgell, is the site of an austere cloister. Then there is Solsona Cathedral, a mix of Romanesque and Gothic, and museums replete with works of art; and lastly, Balaguer, with St. Marys and St. Dominics, the latter featuring a large-sized cloister.

The Roman ruins dictated the siting of the Cathedral, which explains why it does not face east and why the cloister is on the northern side. The church was consecrated in 1331 by Archbishop Juan of Aragon, whose tomb chest lies in the chancel. Other sights of note are the retables in St. Marys Chapel and the high altar, made of alabaster. A monumental faade with multiple mouldings and statues of great quality decorates the exterior, while yet more extraordinary statuary is to be found in the Cistercian-style cloister. A visit to the province starts in Tortosa, where, behind a remarkable Baroque faade, is a splendid Gothic Cathedral, the chevet of which exemplifies the achievements and techniques of the great Catalonian buildings. The Episcopal Palace, reflected in the River Ebro, possesses Romanesque and Gothic details of great value. Montblanc, the capital of the Conca, has a fine set of buildings, including an exceptional Franciscan church situated outside the walls, and the Magdalena Hospital. Similarly interesting are the murals in Arboc del Peneds, the Church of St. Columba (Santa Coloma) in Queralt, and St. Peters Church in Reus. Not to be overlooked are the areas Romanesque monasteries, endowed with valuable Gothic elements.

Famed for its beaches, orchards and market gardens, this region hardly developed any religious architecture due to its being a relatively uninhabited frontier area. However, the geopolitical conditions favoured the re-use and construction of a number of imposing castles, some extremely old, such as those of Lorca and Aledo, and other more modern, but no less attractive, examples, such as Caravaca, Jumilla and Mula castles.

Murcia Cathedral

Other buildings include the Church of St. James and the exuberant 16th-century cloister of the Royal Monastery of St. Clare, Isabeline Gothic with a touch of Mudejar, reminiscent of St. Gregorys in Valladolid. Travelling through the region will bring you to the castle and shrine of Caravaca de la Cruz, which make an attractive picture and are inextricably linked to the history of the Cross of Caravaca and its holy relic. The fortress, conquered by Ferdinand III, formed part of the Moratalla-Mula-Aledo-Lorca defensive axis. Further sights are to be found in Jumilla and Yecla.
Shrine of Caravaca de la Cruz

The citys main monumental building of note is the Cathedral which dates back to the 14th century, though the high tower and grandiose frontispiece on the main faade, designed by Jaime Bort in the 18th century, make it seem Baroque. The unitary ground plan and elevation suggest Catalonian and Castilian influences respectively. Inside, visitors are sure to be enchanted by the Vlez Chapel, a light-filled space with a fascinating tiered decoration, consisting of Lombard arches, gables, small canopies, pinnacles, coats of arms and the like typical of Isabeline Gothic. The cloister is simply charming.

Tarragona Cathedral

Tortosa Cathedral (Tarragona)

After conquering Valencia, James I was instrumental in spreading Gothic throughout the Levant region. The new style swiftly took root, albeit with notable differences as against the other mainland kingdoms. Here, flying buttresses and pinnacles -crucial in naves and aisles of different heights- are not common, since internal space is clearly perceived as an undivided whole. There is a predominance of rectangular and square forms, flat sparingly decorated surfaces, and uniformity of height.

Although the city of Castelln is devoid of Gothic, the style is to be found in some of the surrounding towns, such as Morella, a charming mediaeval villa at the foot of a rocky outcrop, surmounted by a formidable castle. The picture from the trefoil arcades of the 13th-century cloister of St. Francis is utterly unforgettable. The town is also the site of the Church of Santa Mara, a local landmark. San Mateo, a burgeoning urban centre, was the seat of the Grand Masters (Maestrazgo) of the Order of Montesa, something that is echoed in the arcades of the Market Square (Plaza del Mercado), the palace fortress of the Maestres and the church, the most outstanding building of all. Farther south, protruding into the sea and fringed by fine sandy beaches, is Pescola, the most representative cultural tourist icon along the Mediterranean seaboard. Its long history transcends the merely local and has come to occupy a place on the world stage. It was the Knights Templar in the closing years of the 13th century who gave the town its present appearance. The famous Pope Luna (Benedict XIII), made the town his seat during the Schism of the West, making alterations to the castle, e.g., the Gothic Hall and Basilica. A wander through the steep alleyways will leave you with vivid memories.

Morella Cathedral (Castelln)

Biar Castle (Alicante)

This land of light and flowers is home to an extremely comprehensive range of buildings and a visit will therefore demand time. Rather than being a defensive element, the Serranos Gate, with its imposing 14th century civil-military architecture, is a triumphal arch on which the principal thoroughfares converge. Through it entered the people from the hill country, dels Serrans, hence its name. An absolute must is the Guildhall, a prime example of mediaeval commercial development. Begun by Compte in 1483, all eyes will be drawn to the enormous trading hall, where the eight spiral columns bearing the dazzling ribbed vaulting, accentuate the buildings height and airinessallow your gaze to wander and let the space flow about and around you. The gargoyles are among the most imaginatively contrived in Europe. Nearby is the Cathedral, a Late Romanesque structure to which Gothic elements were added until they became dominant. You will

With the exception of the 14th-century Church of Santa Mara, the city of Alicante has no relevant examples to offer, but a tour through the neighbouring province will take one to Orihuela, ringed by fertile farms

and market gardens. Its Cathedral is the only one in the area having a nave and two aisles. Here, in the spiral ribs of the crossing, Pere Compte left his mark. The parish churches of St. James and Saints Justa and Rufina are further local attractions. Cocentaina, a few kilometres from Alcoy, preserves part of its Mediaeval Quarter intact, with remains of the wall, castle and counts palace dating from the 13th-14th centuries. Castles such as those of Biar, Denia and Villena, outlined imposingly against the sky, warrant special attention.

Villena Castle (Alicante)

(wedge stones), decorated windows, a squat tower at one side and a richly worked central courtyard. The best instances are the Generalitat (Regional Authority) and Casa del Almirante (Admirals House). A fundamental sight is the Kings (Reyes) Chapel, forming part of the primitive Church of St. Dominic and a key piece in Valencian Gothic, built to house Alfonso Vs tomb. The provincial towns are generously endowed with buildings: Xtiva, with a church, convent, castle and museum; Ganda, the city of the Borgias, with a church and ducal palace; the historic town of Sagunto; Requena, with two churches, one being St. Marys distinguished by its large portal; Montesa, seat of the Military Order of the same name, with a castle and sacro convento; and Portaceli, the third Carthusian monastery, constructed under the Crown of Aragon.

In this extreme region, continually laid waste by Moors and Christians until the 13th century, Gothic took root at a relatively late date. Following the Reconquest, the local economy was placed in the hands of the dioceses and military orders, which thus saw their assets prosper and grow under the Catholic Monarchs.

St. Mary Magdalene. Olivenza (Badajoz)

Guildhall (Valencia)

be enthralled by the chapels, the masterfully crafted lantern that floods the interior with light, and the popular tower, known as the Miguelete. Lastly there is the Chapel of the Holy Chalice (Santo Cliz), a former Chapter House dating from the 15th century which, tradition has it, guards the genuine Holy Grail. In all cases, the many palaces conform to the selfsame pattern: solid walls, few bays or openings, sober decoration, simple portals featuring massive voussoirs
Ducal Palace, Ganda (Valencia)

Huddled under and around the Alcazaba, this city on the banks of the River Guadiana still exudes an air of its brilliant Moorish past. After being reconquered, work began on its Cathedral, which is more warlike than religious in design. Details of note are the churchs nave and its two, almost identical, aisles, and the windows in the tower. Highlights include the stellar vaulting of its chapels and the Flemish tapestries in the vestry and museum. To the north, Piedrabuena, Azagala, Mayorga, etc., form a line of castles, the best of which, by virtue of its beauty, is that of Alburquerque, a town with two Gothic churches. Montijo, birthplace of Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, also has a Gothic church. In Olivenza, you will be charmed by the Flamboyant53 Alburquerque Castle (Badajoz)

styled Cadaval Ducal Palace. The towns Portuguese past is engraved in the delicate Manueline style of the churches of St. Mary and Mary Magdalene. Points of interest in the Serena district are Medelln, Don Benito, Herrera del Duque... all with churches and castles. Moving south, pause to admire the Flamboyant Style door of the Parish Church of Our Lady of Consolation in Azuaga, the Conventual Santiaguista (or to give it its full name, the Conventual de los Caballeros de Santiago, a residence built for the Knights of the Order of St. James) in Calera de Len, and the Mudejar touches in St. Bartholomews (San Bartolom) in Campillo de Llerena. Finally,

Zafra, where St. Clares Convent, run by hardworking pastrymaking nuns, houses Cuemans masterpiece, the sepulchre of the Duke and Duchess of Feria. Other leading sights are the local Collegiate Church, the portal of Santiago Hospital and the castle-palace, today converted into a Parador.
St. Marys. Trujillo (Cceres)

Also of interest are Arroyo de la Luz, Garrovillas and Alcntara, with St. Benedicts Convent (the seat of the Order of Alcntara) and Topete House. Very close by is a colossal Roman bridge. Lastly, one gets to Valencia de Alcntara, home to a Gothic-style Jewish Quarter and the Church of the Incarnation, with a coupled portal. In Plasencia, the Cathedral, designed by Egas under commission from the Catholic Monarchs, reveals ribbing that soars upwards to complicated vaults, and choir stalls -a splendid compilation of moralistic misericords carved by Rodrigo Alemn- that simply enthral. Equally arresting are the windows of the Dens House, and St. Nicholas Church. Just outside the town of Cuacos de Yuste is the Monastery where King Charles I (the Emperor, Charles V) died, with the soothing quietude of its cloisters and ashlar walling; Jaraz, Jarandilla, Torrejoncillo, etc., are all similarly interesting.

Lower Palace of the Golfines

In 1229, the city was seized by Alfonso IX. On and around its important market place, there rose a series of palaces and residences, so shaping one of Europes best walled cities, today a World Heritage Site. As you stroll inside the city walls, a range of different styles come into view, Gothic among them. Examples include: the Cathedral Church, with interesting portals and a fascinating unpolychromed retable; the Mayoralgo Palace and Lower Palace of the Golfines; the Sun House (Casa del Sol); and the noble churches of St. Matthew (San Mateo) and St. John.

When in Trujillos harmonious monumental centre, be sure not to miss a masterpiece, namely, the Hispano-Flemish retable in St. Marys, attributed to Fernando Gallego. The golden triangle is completed by a visit to Guadalupe Monastery, the pinnacle of Extremaduran Gothic. The church, which discloses Mudejar touches, boasts lancet arches and tracery, and a magnificent stepped pavilion (templete) in the cloister.

Plasencia Cathedral (Cceres)

On the banks of the Alagn, Coria is the site of a Cathedral possessing purely Gothic ribbing, and of the Duke of Albas Palace, a former alczar reinterpreted in Late Gothic Style.

Yuste Monastery (Cceres)

Guadalupe Monastery

According to the clich, in Galicia anything that is not Romanesque is Baroque, but this is by no means true. The first influences arrived with the pilgrimages and mendicant orders (i.e., orders that took a vow of poverty and relied on charity). Thanks to the Bishopric of Tui, churches appeared that had a nave and three-chapel chevet, Romanesque cloisters with pointed arches that rested on double columns and, by way of a local peculiarity, the characteristically long, narrow shape of the sailors church.

St. Dominics. Santiago de Compostela St. Marys. Noia (Corunna)

A Corua (Corunna)
This elegant city of glassed-in balconies, lying on the isthmus leading to the Tower of Hercules, retains only one example of Gothic, the tympanum depicting the Epiphany, on the Church of

Santa Mara. Yet it is the infinite harmony of Santiago de Compostela, a World Heritage Site, that will occupy our attention. Apart from St. Dominics, a certain Gothic touch is already evident in the figures on the Portico of Glory and the vaulting in the crypt. Not to be missed are the tympana of the churches of St. Felix, St. Benedict and St. Mary, and the cloister of St. Francis, all dating from the 14th century, as well as the portals of the courtyards of the Royal Hospital.

In Betanzos, climb the steep streets until you get to the Gothic Quarter, where time seems to have come to a stop. Here is a wall with Gothic gates, St. Francis, and the humble and refined churches of Santa Mara del Azougue and St. James, with a curious apse featuring a Star of David and Holy Door (Puerta Santa). There are churches with a seafaring air in Muros and Losa, and the austere St. Marys in Laxe. Leaving Moraime Monastery behind, continue down the coast to Muxa, etymologically the land of monks, Corcubin, Finisterre, where the church has a lovely 15th-century portal and a striking Crucifixion, tragic and starkly portrayed, and -by now in the Ras Bajas (Lower Estuaries) area- Noia.

Waiting to be discovered within its Roman walls lies Lugo, a World Heritage Site and distinguished city with lively squares, such as that on which the Cathedral is located: its ambulatory was modelled on that of Burgos Cathedral. A further attraction is the church and cloister of St. Francis.

St. Marys Monastery. Meira St. Francis. Betanzos (Corunna) 57

Oseira Monastery (Ourense)

St. Marys Basilica. Pontevedra

Mondoedo Cathedral (Lugo)

In Ribadeo, the Church of Santa Mara del Campo has two portals and an ogival vault. While here, you will enjoy visiting the playa de las Catedrales (literally, beach of the Cathedrals), a freak of nature. In Mondoedo, erstwhile capital of Lugo Province, the golden appearance of its cathedral provides an example of the oldest proto-Gothic in Galicia. Do not miss Pambre, Viveiro, with the 14th-century Church of St. James and a Gothic street (Calesa das Monxas) and Meira, with the awesome vaulting of St. Marys Monastery.

photogenic in the immediate environs of its Cathedral. The buildings treasure is its polychrome Portico of Paradise, akin to Santiago de Compostelas Portico of Glory. To the north-east lies the grandeur of the Romanesque-Gothic Monastery of Ribas de Sil, set in matchless surroundings.

When touring Ourense Province, take in Ribadavia church, neighbouring the Jewish Quarter, the choir stalls of San Salvador Monastery in Celanova, and, to the north, Oseira Monastery, the Galician Escorial, with its ribbed dome and Chapter House featuring twisted columns. Along the Ribera Sacra (Sacred Riverbank), visit St. Stephens in Ribas del Sil and St. Christinas in Parada del Sil. Just outside Vern, make a last stop to see the imposing castle-palace of Monterrey.

Tui Cathedral (Pontevedra)

Situated on an estuary is one of the most genuinely Galician Old Quarters. Here, cobbled streets, arcades and small squares lead to St. Dominics with its rib-vaulted chevet, and to the churches of St. Clare and St. Mary, with their excellent ribbed vaulting.

This city, which owes its very existence to the chance location of its hot springs, is at its most
58 Ourense Cathedral

On arriving in Tui, visit St. Dominics and the towns Fortress-Cathedral, the portal of which displays great iconographic unity and naturalistic figures. Both Armenteira Monastery and the castle-palace of Sotomayor will prove intriguing. Inland, the setting of Carboeiro Abbey in Silleda, an ogival Romanesque building, will come as an unexpected treat. Further sights not to be missed are the Church of St. Marina (Maria) in Cambados and St. Marys Monastery in Oia.

The Pilgrims Way to Santiago and the River Ebro endowed these lands, disputed by Castile and Navarre, with culture and progress. Being a pilgrimage route, its rich geography is dotted with monuments, a phenomenon not unconnected with the Gothic Style. Logroo, the hospitable Gronno of the mediaeval pilgrim, possesses a 14th-century edifice which will be our starting point. This is the Church of Santa Mara del Palacio, graced by a cloister and pyramidal vaulted lantern with original dormered gables. Also worth seeing is St. Bartholomews, with a pointed portal and Mudejar tower. Heading westwards one comes, in turn, to Fuenmayor and San Asensio. The following are musts: in the former, the

For the curious, the itinerary abounds in dinosaur tracks. Following the River Iregua, more attractions will be found in Torrecilla de Cameros, Nieva, Villoslada, etc.

Calahorra Cathedral

stellar vaults of St. Marys; and in the latter, the cloister of Nuestra Seora de la Estrella (Our Lady of the Star). Also to be borne in mind are Briones, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, balos, Casalarreina and Haro, with solemn ribbed vaulting in the chevet of St. Thomas, a church having a breathtaking Plateresque portal. Moving south from Calahorra, where the external appearance of the Cathedral fails to do justice to its pristine ogival interior, features of note include the vault of St. Thomas, an outstanding example of Riojan Gothic, in Arnedo, and the starred vaulting of the Church of San Servando y San Germn (St. Servandus and St. Cermanus) in Arnedillo. In addition, there is Cornago, with St. Peters and the Castle of lvaro de Luna.

In terms of the Flamboyant stonework and tracery in the cloister, which is accessible via the stunning Carlos I Door, the city of Njera has the best example of Riojan Gothic in the Monastery of St. Mary Royal (Santa Mara la Real). Another landmark is the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada (St. Dominic of the Causeway) which alternates chapels and window bays, and was a pioneer in the use of bead mouldings and double-columned pillars. No less important are the Bishops Palace (Palacio del Obispo) and Trastmara House. In the vicinity are Baares, San Milln de la Cogolla and Caas, where the abbey, dubbed the Clairvaux of La Rioja, is fitted with windows in the apse, which bathe it in a uniquely characteristic light.

Monastery of St. Mary Royal. Njera

Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Finally, in the Demanda Range, nestling among wooded slopes is Valvanera, a pilgrimage monastery with a rose-coloured stone church.

St. Marys. Logroo


To see Gothic works in Madrid is to visit the Prado Museum. Excellent paintings will give you an insight into the artistic wealth of the mediaeval city. The briefest of strolls brings you out at Los Jernimos, a monastery dating from reign of the Catholic Monarchs and the venue of swearing-in ceremonies for the Princes of Asturias since the days of Philip II. Other sights are the Bishops Chapel, consisting of a nave with a chamfered east end, and the Lujanes Tower, overlooking the tranquil Plaza de la Villa. The surrounding region offers magnificent examples, such as Alcal de Henares, the Roman Complutum. Cardinal Cisneros glorified this city, now officially declared a World Heritage Site. Start at the Cathedral, designed by Egas and known in Spanish as a Catedral Magistral, a title

Bishops Chapel. Madrid

Archbishops Palace. Alcal de Henares

Alcal de Henares Cathedral (La Magistral)

conferred upon collegiate churches whose canons were also university professors

or magister. The Flamboyant Gothic portal bearing the Cisneros coat of arms is pierced by a basket arch, adorned with the typical Franciscan cord that is the trademark of Cisnerian monuments. In the interior, there are grilles by Juan Francs and, in the Chapter Room, a museum. Magnificent doors are on show at the Archbishops Palace, and arabesque decoration that heralds Flamboyant forms can be seen in the Oidor Chapel. Lastly, the University Chapel of St. Ildephonsus mixes Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance styles. Next, make for Torrelaguna, the birthplace of Cisneros, who left his mark on the faade and tower of St. Marys. En route to the mountains is Colmenar Viejo, of whose church it was

said that it was the largest and most important in all the Kingdom of Toledo. Continue onwards to Manzanares El Real, where the castle, which houses a 13th-century hermitage chapel, calls for closer examination. Juan Guas enlarged it, adding the south-facing parapet walk, studded in diamond point, as a gallery or look-out, as well as the quadrangle and the decoration on the towers. At this point, it is necessary to travel on to Rascafra, to visit the Paular Monastery. Guas, Cologne and Silo all worked here, which is why it was labelled the meeting point of the Castilian art schools. The church follows the Carthusian pattern, with a single nave divided into three parts, viz., the faithful, separated by a grille, converts, and monks. The east end of the chapel is occupied by an alabaster retable, one of the most notable to come down to us from the 15th century. The cloister, by Guas, is the most important section, since it was here that he first introduced architectural and decorative forms which would subsequently be developed and, in time, become the model for late 15th-century Gothic.
Paular Monastery

Castle. Manzanares el Real


The bustling city of Pamplona is home to an interesting Cathedral. Behind Ventura Rodrguezs neoclassical faade lies a nave and two aisles that lead into an ambulatory without precedent in Spain. The radial apse chapels merge with sections of the ambulatory, creating an enviable spatial unity. In Victor Hugos opinion, the chancel, choir, vestry and cloister were spectacular, the last-mentioned having valuable sculptures on the portals and adjacent rooms. The tomb of Charles III the Noble and Leonor (sometimes rendered as, Eleonore) of Castile, are regarded as marking a highpoint in European Gothic funerary statuary. The Church of St. Firmin, dating from the 13th century, is also Gothic.

Cathedral cloister. Tudela

Pamplona Cathedral

The adjoining province reserves some surprises, such as Tudela, site of the most beautiful Cistercian-inspired Navarrian Cathedral. Of massive proportions, it combined sound techniques with decorative richness, not confined by St. Bernard to cathedrals, since these were not governed by contemplative monastic

Olite Castle

Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Estella

portal. Uju, a town of intricate alleys, passages and stairways, perched on a hilltop like an eagles eyrie, has a churchfortress whose main feature of note is the Portal of the Three Magi (magos). In addition, there are the historic towns and cities of the Pilgrims Way, which combine Romanesque and Gothic: Roncesvalles, the pilgrims gateway, home to a 13th-century collegiate church, unique in Spain for being an example of the first Parisian Gothic, and St. James Chapel, with the venerable Virgin of the Angels; and the inviting town of Viana, principality for the heirs to the Crown of Navarre since 1423, with sights such as St. Marys, a masterful 13th-century work having a square-shaped ambulatory. Words cannot do justice to Eunate, or Estellas two Gothic churches, San Pedro de la Ra (St. Peter of the way), with its lovely tower and cloister, and San Miguel and so many more.

seclusion. An unforgettable sight is that of the rose window framed between the narrow, winding lanes. Not far off is the magical castle of Olite, rising alongside the grandiose 14th-century Church of Santa Mara. On becoming a palace chapel, the church grew in importance, with the ensuing addition of the entrance arcades, rose window and
Church of San Pedro de la Ra. Estella 65

Collegiate Church. Roncesvalles

Gothic arrived in these verdant valleys from Navarre as early as the 13th century, but it was not until the 15th century that the style was developed, coinciding with the demographic growth of the towns and the reaction to feudal Romanesque.
Old Cathedral. Vitoria

Vitoria, the provincial capital, is Gothic par excellence. The layout through which the modern visitor ambles follows a detailed town plan that established the location of the most important buildings, including the slender form of the Old Cathedral, a key 14th-century piece, featuring a triple portal considered to be a sculptural jewel. Beside the town wall stands St. Peters, famous for its Prtico Viejo (Old Portico),

Paintings in St. Marys. Gaceo (lava)

Church of Santa Mara de los Reyes. Laguardia (lava)

where the apostles and four-banded tympanum mark a peak in Spanish Gothic. Another church of interest is St. Vincents, Basque prototype in style with naves and aisles of equal height and an outstanding apse. Also worth visiting are Cordn House and the sumptuous Bendaa Palace. On the city outskirts is the Church of Our Lady of Lasarte. Further afield, in the province, special mention should be made of Laguardia, an extraordinary urban compendium, proud of its Church of Santa Mara de los Reyes, fronted by a 14th-century
Quejana Monastery (lava)

polychrome portal with the Apostles on the jambs and wall, and an exquisite Virgin Mary on the pier. Of comparable importance is St. John the Baptists (Juan Bautista). Salvatierra, in the Llanada district, has two churches to offer. Barria, Oyon, etc., are all fascinating, but do not miss St. Marys in Gaceo -Late Romanesque, with paintings discovered in 1967- and Quejana Monastery, founded by Fernando Prez de Ayala, who, guided by the idea of one lineage, one house, one pantheon, brought together a community of Dominican friars.


Guipzcoas main city, the seaside resort of Donostia-San Sebastin, has no Gothic to speak of, except in St. Vincents, the oldest church. However the provincial area will come as a delight. In Guetaria, the 13th-century Church of St. Saviour, with Romanesque remains, is exceedingly attractive, thanks to its triforium. In Deva, St. Marys, built at the same time as the town itself, is, with minor reservations, the best example of provincial Gothic

Luzea Tower. Zarauz

owing to its cloister, which is listed as a gem. The border town of Hondarribia is the site of Our Lady of Manzano, a church that, though Gothic in its inception, was Renaissance by the time it was concluded. Further examples are Bidaurreta Monastery, with its church and cloister, founded by one of the executors of Isabella the Catholics estate, the stunning Lil Palace in Cestona, and the Luzea Tower in the popular tourist resort town of Zarauz.

Bilbao Cathedral

Church of St. Saviour. Guetaria (Guipzcoa)

ambulatory. St. Anthonys, has an almost square ground plan, four sections without an apse, and side chapels. In the province, the following will be found: the Church of St. Severinus (San Severino) in Balmaseda, with a central nave, sexpartite vaults and keystone rib; St. Marys in Lequeitio, eyecatching, with a massy portal; St. Marys in Guees, with different vaults along each section of the nave, and the exquisite Portal of the Sun (Sol) featuring Isabeline decoration; Portugalete church, its low chapels crouching between the buttresses, and St. Francis

Biscay (Vizcaya)
Although Bilbao, the capital of Vizcaya, does not possess many monuments, it does have examples that attest to the arrival of Breton and Flemish influences as early as the 15th century. St. James Cathedral, one of the Basque Countrys landmark buildings, is remarkable for its spire-topped tower, portal, rose window and the attractive solution in the form of triangular and trapezoidal sections in the

Church of St. Severinus. Balmaseda (Biscay)

St. Marys. Deva (Guipzcoa)

cloister in Bermeo, currently put to civil use. Last of all, there is the Arteaga-Gabresi tower in Zamudio.


Ambulatory (girola) Semi-circular passageway skirting the chancel. Apse (bside). Semi-circular or polygonal, domed or vaulted section lying behind the altar at the east end (chevet) of a church. Archivolts. Moulding that decorates an arch across its entire length. Atrium. Colonnaded forecourt giving access to a building. Baquetn. Large bead moulding Bracket (mnsula) Moulding that serves as a support for any overhanging member. Conopial. Arch shaped like an inverted keel. Coupled. Window divided into two equal parts. Crest. Openwork (perforated) ornaments that crown a roof or building.

Crossing. Space in which two perpendicular naves meet. Dosel. Highly decorated vaulted hood or canopy. Flamboyant. Late, heavily ornamented Gothic (also called florido in Spanish) Flying buttress. Arches having their bases at different heights, used to support the lateral thrust of a faade. Also called abutment. Gable. Tapering right-angled moulding over an arcade. Gargoyle. Grotesque or fancifully-shaped ornament projecting from the roof and serving as a guttering spout. Keystone. Central and highest piece of an arch. Lacery. Geometrical ornamentation of interlacing lines. Lancet arch. Sharply pointed arch.

Lantern over the crossing (cimborrio). Structure that serves as the base for a dome. Mudejar. Moorish art that developed in Christian-held territory, using brick, plaster and ceramic. Ogive. Diagonal arch or groin that reinforces a vault. It is not pointed. Pinnacle. Point of a spire. Plateresque. Architectural style that is a fusion of Gothic, Moorish and early Renaissance elements, with ornamentation abundant in orles, medallions, and the like. Rib. Each of the arcs of a ribbed vault. Ribbed vault. Vault that uses individual curved members or ribs to reinforce the arris. Rose window (rosetn). Circular opening inserted above a portal.

Sexpartite. Vault whose ribbing divides it into six parts or stone webs. Spire. Tapering structure surmounting a steeple or tower. Squinch (trompa). Small semi-conical vault having its vertex in the angle between two walls. Stained glass window. Coloured glass assembled in a lead-came framework closing a window opening. Tierceron (tercelete). Bisecting ribs in stellar vaults. Tracery. Decoration of geometric openwork figures on the ogives. Triforium. Series of bays above the arches of the central nave forming a narrow passageway.



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