Its official name is Catedral de Santa Maria de Regla de León. One of its nicknames is Pulchra Leonina. Another is House of Light. But almost everybody just calls it Catedral de León — the Cathedral of León. It sits proudly on a little hill overlooking the city’s Old Town and I can’t imagine anyone visiting León without wanting to view this magnificent structure that was built more than 700 years ago.
Tourists wander around the plaza while workmen prepare for a religious event that will take place later on this day.
Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.
Most of the church was built during the second half of the 13th century in the French Gothic tradition and its design is similar to the cathedral in Reims and the basilica of Saint-Denis. The walls contain 125 large stained glass windows, more than any other church in Spain.
An example of the cathedral’s stained glass windows. I’ll have more windows photos in a future posting.
Let’s take a walk around the church.
The main entrance to the cathedral is this central portal of the western facade. The statue of La Virgen Blanca is a replica. The original is inside the church.
The cathedral is located in Plaza de Regla (the Square of the Rule) and there is a lot of space in front of both its western and southern sides. The main street of old town León, Calle Ancha, starts at the southwest corner of the plaza.
This monument on the northwest side of the plaza is a Tribute to the Builders of Cathedrals. It was completed in 1997 by the artist Juan Carlos Uriarte.
The other side of the monument. The silhouette on the right represents the figure of Nicolas Frances, a 15th century artist who created the cathedral’s altarpiece.
Diocesan Office buildings face the south side of the plaza.
View of three buildings on the south side of Plaza de Regla. I believe the two on the left are Diocesan Office buildings. I’m standing on the west side of the plaza in front of a souvenir shop which is next door to a tourist information office .
Cherubs play on the southwest corner of the fence that surrounds the cathedral.
I thought at first that this was a separate building but it is only a facade that goes back about two feet and is really part of the building to the left. It’s probably all that is left of an earlier building that once stood on this spot.
An archeological project that began in the 1980s uncovered structures including Roman Baths that were built by the Seventh Legion close to 1900 years ago.
After examining some of the archeological displays I walked around the south side of the Cathedral.
A portion of the cathedral’s southern facade.
The southeast corner of the cathedral, showing the clock tower, the south transept with its rose window, and a portion of the apse.
A portion of the eastern facade.
The cathedral’s cloister takes up the north side of the church. We used the cloister entrance to attend the Sunday evening Mass. I’ll have more pictures of this portion of the cathedral in my next posting.