Postcard from Salamanca, Spain: Cathedrals dominate the city

Construction on Salamanca’s “Old Cathedral,” which ended up combining Romanesque and Gothic styles, began in the 12th century in honor of Santa Maria de la Sed.

But several centuries later, Ferdinand (1452-1516) and Isabella (1451-1504) had much to celebrate – expelling the Moors and opening the doors to the riches of the Americas among them.

A few years after her death, Ferdinand commissioned an even larger “New Cathedral” adjacent to the old. So as not to clash with its older neighbor, Late Gothic style was employed originally; however, after a century or two of construction, it proved impossible to resist adding a Baroque copula or two to top things off.

The siblings stand majestically side by side; both seemingly serviceable for several more centuries ahead.

The sculptural reminder that we all have to die, Memento Mori, is one of the most frightening images I’ve ever seen in church. But, at least it was placed up high in a side chapel…. Maybe if we keep traveling, it will encounter difficulties locating us?

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