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Sta. María la Real. Pamplona Cathedral

  • catedral

The Pamplona Cathedral, in Gothic style, stands over an earlier Romanesque church which was demolished in 1391. Its construction began in 1394 and was not completed until 1501. Between the years 1783 and 1803 the original Romanesque façade was pulled down and rebuilt in the Neoclassical style. A new section was also added to the main building.This Gothic temple has an splendid Neoclassical portal, created in 1783 by Ventura Rodríguez. 


On its centre opens a portal with tetrastyle frontispiece of coupled colums surmounted by Corinthian capitels, and crowned with a pediment decorated with the shield of the chapter.The balconies on the centre and the towers at the sides form a majestic whole. The northern tower houses the María bell,with a weight of 12 tons, the Spanish biggest bell still in use. 

The Cathedral has a cross-shaped ground plan, with three naves along with two others containing chapels. The central nave is the biggest. There is also an ambulatory behind the chancel. The building reflects a unity of style, with ribbed vaulting only complicated with tercerons above the transept and apse.

Its interior is richly decorated. There is a jasper font from the 19 C, with a panel illustrating the baptism of Christ, from the 16 C. The Chapel of San Juan Bautista contains the crucifix by Ancheta (1577) a key piece in the Spanish Renaissance. The retable, from 1610, represents scenes in the life of saint Precursor. Santa Cristina´s Chapel displays a retable dated around 1500 with a Gothic carving of the Crucified and panels representing prophets from the Old Gospel. San Jose´s Chapel houses a Baroque retable, from 1685. The ancient Chapel of San Martín contains a Baroque retable, from 1642, with a smaller one on its centre. This Italian retable from the 16 C contains a multitude of relics.

The Cathedral houses the royal tombs of King Carlos III the Noble of Navarra and her queen, Leonor de Trastamara, as well as their reclining figures. These 15C sculpture masterpieces were created by Jehan Lome de Tournai between the years 1413 to 1419. The Gothic grille closing the presbytery and choir, one of the first in its style, was wrought in 1517 by Guillermo de Evernat.