In Plasencia, the beautiful city of Extremadura, there are actually two cathedrals, the Old Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Mary and built between the 13th and 15th centuries, and the New Cathedral, built during the 16th century.
The most famous and beautiful is the New Cathedral, although the Old Cathedral is also interesting and also houses the Cathedral Museum.
Because both cathedrals, attached, were built at different times, we can find various architectural styles that converge in the building.
The New Cathedral of Plasencia, the gothic cathedral
The New Cathedral of Plasencia began to be built at the end of the 15th century, finishing its construction in 1578, remaining unfinished.
Although later there were attempts to continue the works, they did not advance and it remained as we know it today, although it does not appear to have been finished.
Among the highlights of the New Cathedral of Plasencia we can highlight its facades, the main facade being actually a side one.
This main façade is in the Plateresque Renaissance style and stands out for its pinnacles, windows and medallions, and above all because it lacks the statues that were initially planned to be installed and that were never built.
The interior of the New Cathedral of Plasencia
The interior of the New Cathedral of Plasencia does not present the majesty in size that other Spanish cathedrals have, but a visit is still essential.
It is made up of 3 naves of the same height, exactly 26 meters, and its columns stand out. But the most interesting are the main altarpiece and the choir.
Undoubtedly one of the great jewels of the Cathedral is the High Altarpiece, the work of Gregorio Fernández. It is neoclassical in style and has paintings by Francisco de Ricci. Next to it is the tomb of Ponce de León, who was bishop of Plasencia and also of Ciudad Rodrigo.
The choir is located behind a huge plateresque-style wrought iron grille. It is not golden also due to lack of budget when it was built. The choir stalls stand out, which used to be in the Old Cathedral.
Also noteworthy is the organ, in a Plateresque style with a transition to Gothic.
Visit the Old Cathedral of Plasencia
The Old Cathedral of Plasencia was built between the 13th and 15th centuries and is Romanesque in style with a transition to Gothic, although both styles coexist in it.
Like the New Cathedral, it consists of 3 naves separated by pillars that form Gothic pointed arches, this being the greatest example of coexistence of styles.
But inside we can also admire the Gothic-Mudejar style since its construction was completed by Mudejar workers.
From the outside we can highlight the façade, in Romanesque style with a semicircular arch and two sculptures of the Virgin of the Annunciation and the Archangel Gabriel, crowned with a huge rose window.
And also the Torre del Melón, which is the Chapter House, also called the Chapel of San Pablo. It is possibly one of the best-known images of the Cathedral of Plasencia.
It has a rectangular floor plan but the interior room ends up becoming an octagon. Its exterior is impressive and the dome is crowned by a fluted ball that resembles a melon and which has given it its nickname.
The most important part of the interior is the Cloister, the link between the two cathedrals and where the transition from Romanesque (columns and capitals) to Gothic (arches and vaults) is best observed.
It has an irregular floor plan and in it we can see the Chapel of the Virgen de la Blanca and the Chapter House, known as the Torre del Melón due to the completion of its dome. In the center of the cloister there is a beautiful fountain from the 15th century.
The Old Cathedral is not dedicated to worship and houses the Cathedral Museum where all kinds of pieces of religious art, sculptures and liturgical vestments are exhibited that you can see while admiring the naves and rooms of the cathedral.
You can find more information on the official page of the Cathedrals of Plasencia.