The Old Cathedral in Salamanca

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The Old Cathedral in Salamanca is joined to the New Cathedral and you really need a lot of time, and several visits, to take it all in. I could easily return.

A brief history

The old cathedral1 is dedicated to Santa Maria de la Sede and Bishop Jerome of Perigord founded the cathedral in the 12th century. Romanesque in style, it took two centuries to completed. The earthquake of 1755 in Lisbon caused a lot of damage and much restoration and rebuilding was necessary.


The Torre del Gallo is the distinctive Romanesque roof of the Old Cathedral and so named because of the cock weathervane on top of the roof. It is in the middle of the photograph below and with a little imagination you can just make out a cock!

Roofs of the Old Cathedral in Salamanca
Roofs of the Old Cathedral in Salamanca

The two cathedrals as viewed from the bottom of the Plaza de los Leones. The Old Cathedral is on the left of the cedar tree.

Two Cathedrals of Salamanca
Two cathedrals of Salamanca

Parts of the cathedrals include the bleeding sandstone which was so prominent in Avila, and of course Salamanca and Avila are not far apart. The stone is quarried half way between the two towns, at La Collila.

Inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede

The altarpiece is by Nicolo Delli and dates from 1430 and he also painted the Last Judgement (1445) at the top. In this extraordinary creation he had the collaboration of his brothers Dello and Sanson.

Altarpiece in the Old Cathedral of Salamanca
Main altarpiece by Nicolo Delli

I have enlarged a few of the paintings even though they are grainy because they are so extraordinary. I think the camera and computer have done quite well considering how far away I was and the level of non-light.

The old cathedral in SAlamanca
Paintings on the altarpiece
Altarpiece in the Old Cathedral of Salamanca
Last Judgement by Nicolo Delli

The Chapel of St Martin

The Chapel of St Martin is also known as the Capilla del Aceite – the Chapel of Oil – because the oil for cathedral lamps were stored in the chapel. This Chapel stood under the Bell Tower which was damaged. The current Tower of the New Cathedral was built on top of the Chapel. There are several old tombs here and a lot of wall paintings dating from the 11th and 12th centuries.

Chapel of St Martin in the Old Cathedral of Salamanca
Inside the Chapel of St Martin
Old Cathedral of Salamanca
Carvings on one of the tombs

The murals

I noticed paintings all along the side wall of the cathedral but I can’t find any further information. I should have bought a book at the cathedral – note to self – don’t be mean next time!

Paintings in the Old Cathedral

Villamayor stone:


The earthquake of 1755 damaged the original cloister and today’s cloister is a later building.

Inside the Cloister
Chapel of the Anaya in the Old Cathedral of Salamanca
New Bell Tower of the Cathedral
The Anaya Chapel

The Old Cathedral in Salamanca is very beautiful and more atmospheric than its newer neighbour. But there is a lot to take in; it would be nice if the cathedral issued a ticked which allowed you to return, as in the cathedral and churches in Burgos.

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