The Cathedral of Zamora1 dominates the western end of the original town, alongside the castle. It was declared a National Monument in 1889.
A brief history
The Cathedral of Zamora dates from 1151-74 and it is one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture in Spain. Like all these buildings there were additions over the years, including the square tower of the 13th century and the cloisters at the turn of the 17th century.
Exterior of the Cathedral of Zamora
The Cathedral site is vast and during our visit tents and people crowded round the building for the Cheese Festival. Other buildings and trees crowd the site too and it was difficult to photograph – but I tried my best.
Inside the cathedral
The choir is built of walnut wood and looks fascinating. But it was closed off – a pity. It dates from 1505.
Tombs in the Cathedral of Zamora
Burial in the cathedral was a honour and privilege which was only given to people of a certain status and class. If you could afford it you built a chapel in your name. If this was unaffordable you could excavate a hollow in the walls of the cathedral and be buried there.
Abott and Canon Alfonso Garcia died in 1409 and his tomb was covered up until c.2012. Bernard of Perigord was the first Bishop of Zamora from 1121-1149. He went to Spain as a young man and joined the church in Toledo. He oversaw and organised the construction of the new cathedral. Lope Rodriguez de Olivares died in 1402. He was a knight and the tomb was only fully uncovered in 2010. The carving in the niche is from the early 13th century so it was probably the tomb of someone else which was re-used.
The cloister was added at the turn of the 17th century because the original Romanesque cloister was destroyed by fire. Juan de Ribera Rada of Valladolid designed the new, classical cloisters.
The museum dates from 1926. There are the most sumptuous tapestries in the cathedral museum, made in Belgium in the 15th-17th centuries. They describe the Trojan War, the history of Hannibal, and the story of Tarquinius Priscus, a King of Rome.
The figure of St Mark was beautiful and the processional monstrance of 1515 by Pedro of Avila is startling…
The Cathedral of Zamora is indeed a remarkable building but strangely it seemed to lack a spiritual atmosphere and it didn’t feel like a religious place. Odd.