Cathedral of Valladolid

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Assumption (Spanish: Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción), better known as Valladolid Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Valladolid, Spain. It was designed by Juan de Herrera.


The cathedral has its origins in a late Gothic collegiate church, which was started during the late 15th century: before temporarily becoming capital of a united Spain, Valladolid was not a bishopric, and thus it lacked the right or necessity to build a cathedral. However, soon enough the Gothic collegiate church became outmoded with the growth of Renaissance classicizing architecture, and thanks to the newly established episcopal episcopal see, the Town Council decided to build a cathedral that would put similar constructions in neighbouring capitals in the shade.

The project as initiated would have resulted in one of the biggest cathedrals in Spain. When the construction was started, Valladolid was the de facto capital of Spain, housing king Philip II and his court. However, due to strategic and geopolitical reasons, by the 1560s the capital was moved to Madrid and funds for architectural projects were largely cut. Thus the cathedral was not finished according to Herrera's design; it was further modified during the 17th and 18th centuries, such as the addition to the top of the main façade, a work by Churriguera.


Today it contains a rich musical archive housing 6000 works, and a 16th century altarpiece by Juan de Juni taken from the church of Santa María La Antigua, also in Valladolid, while the altarpiece by El Greco originally in the cathedral, has been moved elsewhere.

The building, declared of Cultural Interest in 1931, is dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Although designed by Juan de Herrera, its construction was directed mainly by his disciples in the first half of the 17th century. Diego de Praves was the main contributor, and he was succeeded by his son. The design plan was a rectangle with two towers in the corners of the main façade, and another two finishing in pyramids, in the chancel.

It had a transept with two great doors in the ends. The main chapel was separated from the reredos, so processions could pass round the back. There are chapels along the length of the two sides between buttresses.

The lower part of the main façade takes the form of triumphal arch in the Doric order Due to an error in construction the portal arch is rather pointed.

In the 18th century Alberto Churriguera erected the second part in imitation of the façade of the church of El Escorial. Capping the balustrade are statues of St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Gregory and St. Jerome. Then the tower on the side of the vestry was erected which, after suffering damage in consequence of the Lisbon earthquake (1753), finally fell down in 1841; it was re-erected next to the vestry and is crowned with a statue of the Corazón de Jesús. The cathedral remains unfinished.

There are four chapels on either side. In the first there is a Neoclassical liens of Cain and Abel and the second is property of Juan Velerde. The third has two late 17th century large liens, work of a follower of Lucas Jordan. The next is in dedication to San Fernando and the tomb of Count Ansúrez, whose statue dates from the 16th century, the same as the railing.

The main chapel has the altarpiece made by Juan de Juni was transferred to its present position in 1922. The plasterwork of the choir was the work of Francisco Velázquez and Melchor de Beya in 1617 and is from the convent of San Pablo. In the third chapel there is a Baroque altarpiece from the 18th century and a group of statues and funerary reliefs of the Venero family, work of a disciple of Pompeo Leoni. The second chapel has a Baroque altarpiece, with a sculpture of San Pedro, by Pedro de Ávila and 16th century railings.

In the vestry there are several holy liens: the Assumption, from the second quarter of the 17th century by Diego Valentín Díaz; San Jerónimo and San Jenaro by Lucas Jordan. Lastly the chapter room has several ceremonious chairs in the choir stalls of San Pablo.

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