San Pablo Cathedral

San Pablo is a Isabelline Gothic-Plateresque church in Valladolid, in western Spain, built by Cardinal Juan de Torquemada between 1445 and 1468. Kings Philip II and Philip IV of Spain were baptized in the church.


The church construction was commissioned by Cardinal Torquemada to replace a previous church, which had a timber ceiling and was annexed to a Dominican convent, founded in 1270. After Torquemada's death, bishop Alonso de Burgos funded the building of the cloister, refectory, and lower façade, as well as of the adjacent Colegio de San Gregorio with its funerary chapel. Artists who worked to the church in this period include the Spanish-Flemish Juan Guas and Simón de Colonia. Around 1550, Cardinal Juan Garcia Loaysa, confessor of Charles V, built the sacristy, covered with a dome decorated by stars, coat of arms of the order and figures of Dominican saints. The nave features rib vaults, supported by corbels in Renaissance style, added around 1540.

After the capital of the Kingdom of Spain was moved from Valladolid to Madrid, the church was under the patronage of the Duke of Lerma, who had its façade renovated and added numerous artworks in the interior. In 1613-1616 Juan de Nates, following a design by Francisco de Mora, executed the patronal tribune, and the Doric gate of the sacristy.


Typically for the late Gothic style dominant at the time, the church has a single nave, with side chapels opening between buttresses, with a raised choir and transept. At the ends of the transept are two stone portals from the workshop of Simón de Colonia, dating to c. 1490. The left one gives access to the Chapel of the Crucifix, while the right one led to the funerary chapel of Alonso de Burgos.

The façade, designed by Simón de Colonia, was finished in 1500. Two phases can be distinguished in it: the first one, including the section up to the top of the central rose window, features gargoyles and sided by two spires. The entrance portal is surrounded by a large arch with a wavy profile, in which is a relief with the Coronation of the Virgin in the presence of bishop Alonso de Burgos. The upper part of the façade features rectangular spaces up the summit tympanum. For its decoration were used some Gothic elements taken from other buildings and new ones, in the course of the renovation program funded by the Duke of Lerma, which also included the construction of the two side towers. The stars in the background refer to the coat of arms of the Sandoval y Rojas family, of which the Duke was a member; he is buried inside the church.

The interior has two absidal chapels, housing an image of St. Dominic of Guzmán, by Gregorio Fernández, and a Lying Christ by the same artist, who also executed works in the presbytery.

In the transept are two paintings by Bartolomé de Cárdenas: The Vocation of St. Peter and the Conversion of St. Paul

  • Vivar Cantero, Roberto (2006). Guía de Arquitectura Urbana de Valladolid. Ayuntamiento de Valladolid. 

Coordinates: 41°39′24″N 4°43′29″W / 41.65667°N 4.72472°W / 41.65667; -4.72472

Building Activity

  • Jose Luis Fuente Bruna
    Jose Luis Fuente Bruna commented
    I live in Valladolid, so I can correct a couple of mistakes. San Pablo is not a Cathedral. It's just a church. It wasn't built in 2006, it was just restored. In fact, it was built in the XVI th century. It's one of the most beautiful buildings of the city, and the most photographed one by the town tourists. It's next to the Instituto Zorrilla Zorrilla's Highschool built in the early 20 th century.
    about 6 years ago via Mobile