Catedral De Santa Maria De Regla De Leon: The Leon Cathedral
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Catedral De Santa Maria De Regla De Leon: The Leon Cathedral

León Cathedral (Catedral de Santa María de Regla de León) is a monument of faith. Its architecture is a visible French-style Gothic cathedral built in the 13th century over the ruins of ancient Roman baths.


Leon city is located in the north-west of Spain, between Madrid and Asturias. The city of Leon is the jewel of Spain and houses Leon cathedral, one of the magnificent Gothic cathedrals of Spain. It is also called the “House of Lights” (Pulchra Leonina) where there is more lights than stone and features more stained-glass than walls.

León Cathedral (Catedral de Santa María de Regla de León) is a monument of faith. Its architecture is a visible French-style Gothic cathedral built in the 13th century over the ruins of ancient Roman baths. The elaborately carved portals, splendid rose windows, one of the oldest choirs in the country, and beautiful sculptures such as the Virgen de la Esperanza are just a few of the cathedral's many impressive and notable features.

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A early Christian community is first recorded in Leon in about 254, but no bishop is reported in that Visigoth times. The bishopric of Leon was established in about 860, after King Ordono conquered the city from the Moors. It was under to the diocese of Toledo until 1105.

In about 1255, over the ruins of 2nd century Roman baths, the present building was funded by King Alfonso the Wise and was consecrated by Bishop Martin Fernandez. The first master builder recorded was one Simon, from about 1261 and soon after by Enrique in 1277, the same master builder of Burgos Cathedral.

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Leon cathedral was considered the finest Gothic building in Spain. The structure mostly dates from the 13th century but not finished until the 19th century when it was extensively restored. It is due to consistent structural integrity and financial problems. The cathedral was closely patterned on the flamboyant Gothic royal cathedrals of France – Reims Cathedral and St. Denis Basilica.

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Last Judgment Portal - Photo by Mossaiq

The broad west façade made of yellow stone is flanked by two towers and penetrated with three exquisitely carved Gothic portals and a large rose window. The same as the south transept also has three portals and a rose window.

The north transept adjoins to the 13th- and 14th-century cloister, which has carved capitals, Romanesque and Gothic tombs, and some faded frescoes.

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Stained Glass Window - Photo by Mossaiq

The interior has various medieval stained glass windows illuminate a harmonious French Gothic interior with three aisles, a transept, a five bay choir and an ambulatory with striking chapels. The name “House of Lights” was derived from the effect of the pale yellow stone combined with the dazzling rays of sunlight filtering through the windows.

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Choir Stalls

The pride of León Cathedral is the choir stalls, among the oldest in Spain, were carved of walnut by Flemish artists in the 15th century. A much-revered statue of the Virgen de la Esperanza, describing the Virgin Mary when she was pregnant with Jesus, dates from the 13th or 14th century and is displayed in a side chapel off the choir.

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Its almost 1,800 square meters of stained glass windows dating from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century are among the world's finest stained glass.

The Mai Chapel contains an altarpiece by Nicolás Francés dating 15th century and a silver reliquary containing the relics of San Froilán, patron saint of Leon.

The Cathedral Museum (Museo Catedralicio Diocesano de León) houses nearly 1,500 works of art from prehistoric times to the 18th century, including as many as fifty sculptures of the Virgin, a triptych by the School of Antwerp, a 10th-century Mozarabic Bible and numerous manuscripts.


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Comments (13)

This church looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

Supberb discussion, Ron. I agree, the building is very French in style.

Thanks JD. Thanks Michael, appreciated..

Another great tour of one of Europe's great cathedrals. Wish I can visit Spain, to see this structure myself.

Thanks for sharing this excellent article. Voted up.

Great information

Amazing article with matching images. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks everyone.

Such beauty in this Leon Cathedral. You have described it so well too.

Thanks Roberta.

Beautifully presented, as always.

Another excellent work, FB liked :)

Thanks a lot Beth and Phoenix.