The Cathedral of Santa María and San Julián of Cuenca is the main temple of the city and the diocesan seat of the diocese of Cuenca, in the ecclesiastical province of Toledo.It highlights the fact that this cathedral is the first in gothic style in Castilla along with Avila. Its construction began in 1196 and concluded in 1257, but has undergone several changes over the centuries, incorporating elements from different artistic periods.The space for the exhibition includes the entrance, the north nave, cloister and chapter house. However, during the exhibition route has been encouraged intend to travel around the cathedral and, thanks this way, place the visitor in situation.
Although it appears that the origins of the city are Roman, will the Muslims who built a fortress which they called Conca. On September 21, 1177, after the conquest of the city by Alfonso VIII to the Christian arms, it is constituted as bishopric in the year 1183.
Mr. King Alfonso, set and ordered that the muslims had built, send the bishops who consecrate it ... and put by the hand of Santa María that he will conserve it, and finally moved the bishops of Valencia and Arcas.
Alfonso VIII's wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Plantagenet, was the daughter of the king of England and sister of Richard the Lionheart, also the countess of Gascogne. With her will come the Norman knights who exercise their influence over the factory of the cathedral, hence its Nordic air that draws attention away from the typical gothic medieval Castile.
At the time it is started to build the cathedral, the prevailing style in the Christian kingdoms was still the Romanesque, so we should not wonder that they were aliens from the court of King Alfonso VIII who introduced the Gothic air in our cathedral, and that this was the new prevailing order in Europe beyond the Pyrenees.
The cathedral was consecrated by St. Julian, second bishop of Cuenca, in the year 1196 when it was still in its infancy.
Started by Gauls stonemasons between the years 1182 and 1189, continuing the works throughout the thirteenth century, surely, it was built on the ancient Arab mosque of the city.It is considered the first Gothic cathedral made in Castile, being finally consecrated under the title of Santa Maria in 1208 by Bishop Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada.
However, its construction began in the late Romanesque, so it is natural that we find Romanic resistance against the new Gothic of the moment.The initial plant consisted of three ships; at the height of the cruise was transformed into five and five apses still forming, following the traces of the prevailing Romanesque.
In the fifteenth century, the five apses were replaced by a double ambulatory to take advantage of the development of the five ships available to the cathedral. Its new plant would be formed by a Latin cross, three ships, a deep double ambulatory and chancel. The cruise is covered by a large central dome of Anglo-Norman influence.
The chapels of the aisles were built mostly in the XVI century in Gothic style.
Its exterior was renovated almost entirely in the sixteenth century and in the seventeenth century Sagrario chapel was built. During the eighteenth century it was reformed both the façade and towers, giving the building a baroque look. This reform affected the main facade that was order to build by King Ferdinand III and had two twin Gothic towers. The towers of the facade along with two other towers that had the cathedral, disappeared during a fire, which gave rise to new reform, which was born in the year 1720 by Juan Perez and newly reconstructed in 1723 under the direction of Luis de Arteaga.
In the twentieth century as a result of damage to the facade, produced because the sink of the bell tower in 1902 by a lightning strike, it proceeded to its reconstruction in 1910, in what is its current appearance, Neo-Gothic facade work of Vicente Lampérez. Its present appearance confirms without any doubt that it was unfinished.
At the top we find an image of San Julián that is curiously the only one in the entire facade.
For more information, you can search this web page of the Cathedral:
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