Santander Cathedral, also called Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, is a beautiful temple that is surprising due to its apparent austerity on the outside, but which houses two superimposed churches inside that are worth visiting.
The Santander Cathedral began to be built in the 12th century when the charters were granted to the city, later being a collegiate church, abbey and finally a cathedral in the 18th century.
Unfortunately, a fire destroyed it in 1941, although the reconstruction was faithful to its style and added very interesting elements.
What to see in the Cathedral of Santander. the high church
The High Church dates from the 13th century and was built in the Gothic style.
Unfortunately, a large part of the treasures it housed were lost in the famous Santander fire in 1941, which destroyed a large part of the city, although some were recovered and others restored.
After the fire it was reopened in 1953 with twice the capacity after the reform of the transept, the apse, the ambulatory and the dome, although for this at least the original Gothic style was respected.
From the outside, its access doors should be highlighted, with a great decoration and where you can admire the royal shields of lions and castles of Spain. You also have to admire the statues of the 4 evangelists that decorate the dome.
Inside there is not much decoration and the altarpieces come from other churches in the city, since the existing ones, except one, were destroyed.
In one of its beautiful chapels we find the tomb of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo.
As a curiosity, in the tomb of the eurydtus, which rests on a pillow of books, you can read the inscription “What a pity to have to die when I have so much left to read!”.
And finally, don’t forget to visit the Cloister, also in the Gothic style and which was built in the 14th century to serve as the city’s cemetery.
Visit the Iglesia del Cristo, the lower church
The Church of Christ, or Crypt, is the lower part of the Cathedral and is made up of 3 naves that are 31 meters long and 18 meters wide.
The church is Romanesque in style with a transition to Gothic and is surprising for the strong pilasters that support the church that is above it.
The decoration of the vaults and the capitals are very interesting and Roman remains have been discovered in a subsoil, which can be seen thanks to a glazed floor.
The heads of the martyrs San Celedonio and San Emeterio were kept there during the Middle Ages, and are currently housed in silver reliquaries.
You can find more information on the official page of the Cathedral of Santander.