León Cathedral: History and curiosities

Catedral de leon

The Cathedral of León, also known as the Basilica Catedral de Santa María de Regla is an impressive monument, in Gothic style, located in the centre of the city of León. It is one of the city’s most prominent buildings and a popular tourist destination for both national and international visitors.

History of the Cathedral of Santa María de Regla de León

The construction of León Cathedral began in the 13th century. The first stone was laid in 1205 and completed in 1302. It is also located in an ancient Roman baths, which became a royal palace during the Christian reconquest.

Known as the “Pulchra Leonina”, this cathedral is one of the largest and most magnificent in Spain, and houses some of the finest examples of Gothic art.

In the 19th century, a major restoration was carried out in which the current neo-Gothic façade was added.

León Cathedral is famous for its impressive collection of stained glass windows and its façade, which are among the best in Europe.

Cathedral of Leon

Western façade of León Cathedral

The western façade of León Cathedral is the main façade. The façade includes three large doors and is adorned with numerous sculptures and decorative details such as sculptures of saints and apostles… It also has a central rose window that dates back to stained glass windows from the end of the 13th century.

Gate of Judgement

The main gate is known as the Gate of Judgement and is decorated with sculptures of saints and prophets as well as scenes from the Last Judgement.

St. John’s Gate

The door on the left is called the Gate of St. John. This door is decorated with sculptures of saints and apostles, as well as scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist.

Gate of San Francisco

The door on the right, called San Francisco, is dedicated to the Virgin.

Central rose window in León Cathedral

The central rose window of León Cathedral is an iconic element due to its beauty and artistic value. It is a large circular window located on the western façade of the Cathedral. The rose window has a geometric and floral ornamentation, which creates a very striking effect of light and colour.

Leon Cathedral views

Interior of the Cathedral of León

The interior of León Cathedral is a real treasure trove of art and architecture. Inside the cathedral, visitors can admire the numerous chapels and altars, as well as the impressive central nave, which is 30 metres high and 90 metres long in total.

It has high Gothic arches, side chapels and numerous sculptures and objets d’art. One of the most outstanding features of the interior is the carved wooden choir dating from the 15th century.

High Altar

The main altarpiece of León Cathedral is an impressive work of art dating from the 15th century. The altarpiece is a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic art and depicts scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. The altarpiece has been restored several times over the centuries and remains one of the highlights.

The stained-glass windows of León Cathedral

One of the highlights of León Cathedral is its impressive stained glass windows. The stained glass windows are considered some of the best in the world and depict biblical scenes and allegories.

These stained glass windows, which cover an area of more than 1,800 square metres, were made between the 13th and 18th centuries and depict scenes from the Bible and the lives of the saints.

Cathedral Cloister

León Cathedral has a beautiful Gothic cloister dating from the 14th century. The cloister is one of the most peaceful and serene spaces, with a central garden surrounded by galleries with semicircular arches.

Floor plan of the Cathedral of León

León Cathedral has a rectangular floor plan, with a central nave and two side naves. The central nave is the largest and tallest, and is covered by a Gothic ribbed vault. There is a transept that crosses the central nave, forming a Latin cross. At the head of the Cathedral there are several chapels and an ambulatory.

Diocesan Cathedral Museum of León

Inside the Cathedral is an interesting museum which houses a collection of religious objects and art. The collection includes sculptures, paintings, liturgical objects, tapestries and manuscripts.

Curiosities of the Cathedral of León

León Cathedral is a monument full of interesting curiosities. Discover some of the most interesting ones:

Number of windows

The Cathedral is said to have 125 stained glass windows, one for each chapter of the Bible.

Legend of the Mole

On the door of San Juan there is a kind of fur that is attributed to a mole. During the construction of the Cathedral, the mole was a cursed animal as it mined the subsoil. It is said that when it was hunted, its remains were left on the façade.

What is “Pulchra”?

From Latin, it means beautiful or beautiful because of its perfect lines.

Visit León Cathedral

Buy tickets

Tickets for La Catedral de León can be purchased at the Cathedral’s ticket office or online. Ticket prices vary depending on whether you want to visit only the Cathedral or if you also want to visit the museum.

Timetable of the Cathedral

The opening hours of La Catedral de León vary according to the season of the year. In the link above you can see the different timetables available depending on the month and day.

Church timetable

  • Monday to Saturday: 9:00, 12:00 and 18:00
  • Sundays and public holidays: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 and 18:00.

León Cathedral is one of the most visited monuments in the city and receives thousands of tourists every year. Visitors who have had the opportunity to visit it have left numerous positive comments, highlighting the beauty of the architecture and the impressive collection of art and religious objects.

Photos of the Cathedral of León

There are many stunning photographs of La Catedral de León available. These photos show the impressive architecture as well as the decorative details and stained glass windows.

Hotel in León near La Catedral

León has a very attractive historic centre, which is why thousands of tourists come every year. At My Palace León we offer you a 4-star hotel in the centre of León, which gives you the opportunity to enjoy the central atmosphere, the gastronomy and the most important monuments of the city, with the comfort of modern accommodation.

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