The Cathedral of the Savior, popularly known as La Seo de Zaragoza, has been chosen by Lonely Planet’s Instagram followers (@lonelyplanet_es) as the most beautiful in Spain. The Lonely Planet account has more than 110,000 followers and almost 96,000 users participated in the vote. La Seo has snatched the first place to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela while in third position has been the cathedral of Burgos, followed by Leon.
The selection was made from a long list of cathedrals from all over Spain, including the cathedrals of Granada, Seville, Oviedo, Zamora, Plasencia, Palma de Mallorca, Oviedo, Granada, Cordoba, Salamanca, Murcia, Seville, Toledo, Vitoria, Cuenca, Barcelona, Segovia, Palencia and Jaca.
If you come to Zaragoza, a visit to the Cathedral of the Savior is a must.
First Christian cathedral of the city
La Seo is one of the two metropolitan cathedrals of Zaragoza, together with the Cathedral Basilica del Pilar. Although it is not so well known, it was the first Christian cathedral in the city. In fact, it was built on the remains of the ancient Roman Forum of Caesaraugusta, on the Visigothic church and on the ancient Great Mosque of Saraqusta. The minaret of the mosque partially survives in the current tower.
The temple we know today somehow drinks from all its history and its style is also eclectic: from Romanesque to Neoclassical.
Mudejar UNESCO World Heritage Site
Attached to the Cathedral of El Salvador is the Parish Church of San Miguel Arcángel. Its wall is perhaps the most photographed in the city, because its beauty is incredible. It is considered one of the masterpieces of the Aragonese Mudejar style and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, as has the dome. The wall was built in 1374 and it is a great polychrome tapestry that combines waists, bricks, arches, ceramics and colorful decoration. The coat of arms of Lope Fernández de Luna, sponsor of the work, stands out.
The bust of Saint Valero and Pope Luna.
Don Pedro de Luna (Pope Benedict XIII) had more importance in the Cathedral than it seems. He was in charge of saving the dome thanks to his patronage and symbolically claimed to be Pope in the city of Zaragoza. The shape of the dome represents a triple crown, which was the shape of the papal tiara; thus, Don Pedro de Luna his ecclesiastical status.
Before the reform of the dome, Don Pedro de Luna already donated to the Cathedral of La Seo several works of art. The three busts of San Valero, San Vicente and San Lorenzo located in the main altarpiece and probably carved in Avignon are well known. According to studies carried out on the skull of Pope Benedict XIII, it has been demonstrated that the highest quality bust, that of St. Valerius, has the physiognomic features of Don Pedro de Luna.
A model altarpiece for Europe
La Seo has not only earned its title as the best cathedral in Spain for its exterior. Its interior is a marvel. The High Altarpiece is one of the most representative and successful works of European Gothic made in the fifteenth century and served as a model for several altarpieces such as the High Altarpiece of the Pilar. It is the jewel of the cathedral for its grandeur. The three main scenes were carved by the German master Hans of Swabia. They are naturalistic works of clear Germanic character. The most careful is the central one, dedicated to the Epiphany, invocation of the cathedral. The other scenes, dedicated to the Transfiguration and the Ascension, are almost symmetrical.
The world’s top-rated tapestry museum
Inside the Cathedral is one of the best collections of Flemish tapestries in the world. The Museum of Tapestries of the Seo of Zaragoza exhibits the collection of the Metropolitan Chapter, which conserves 63 Flemish tapestries from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries that kings, bishops and archbishops donated to the Seo of Zaragoza. The exhibition includes important pieces of gold work, sacred ornaments, paintings, sculptures and reliquaries, among which are the bust of the patron saint of Zaragoza, San Valero; the skull of San Dominguito del Val or the arms of several saints.
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