Cathedral of Palencia

Cathedral of Palencia

Cathedral of Palencia

It is the most important touristic ressource in the city of Palencia and also one of the least known internationally.

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The Cathedral of Palencia, the Unknown Beauty

The Cathedral of Palencia or San Antolin, also called the Unknown Beauty. Its interior of great beauty contrasts with the sobriety of its exterior.

The Gothic style Temple has a Latin cross plan with three naves and two cruisers. The primitive part corresponds to the Crypt with a barrel vault reinforced with transverse arches. This edifice was built in two periods, one Visigoth and the other, Romanesque. Its altarpiece of great proportions and of Renaissance style in the Main Chapel is surrounded by sculptures of Felipe Bigarny and paintings of Juan de Flandes.

It houses other important artistic pieces, such as a painting of San Sebastian by El Greco or a curious anamorphic portrait of Emperor Charles V of Cranach. The most important points of the visit are the Papamoscas, a curious automaton. It is connected to the bells of the temple, which allows us to keep track of time inside the Cathedral.

The Triforium

Firstly, the Triforium is currently the most important element of the guided tours. It is a narrow passageway in the shape of a cross on a higher floor of the Cathedral of Palencia. It was never designed for this purpose. However, it is of great interest and admiration for the visitor.

Looking up, you can see the dimensions and structure of this level of the Cathedral. From another point of view you can see the Stained Glass, the Nerves and the Vaults.

The Tower is fifty meters of height. The Crypt is the oldest point of the Cathedral of Palencia. Located in the most underground point of the whole building, it is a Visigothic remnant of the second half of the seventh century.

Originally, the Cathedral had two other floors as well. Only what we can observe today remains, and it is only partial. On the day of the city’s patron saint, San Antolín, September 2, the tradition is to drink the fountain’s water.

Other details.

The cathedral comprises some work of El Greco with the Martyrdom of San Sebastian and several other renowned artistic works. The Main Altarpiece stands out as the largest Renaissance altarpiece in all of Castile and León. The Cathedral underwent several changes and additions throughout history by artists of importance. Among them are the sculptor Felipe Bigarny, the painter Juan de Flandes, the sculptor Juan de Valmaseda. Also the sculptor Barroco Castellano Gregorio Fernández, the sculptors Alejo de Vahia and Juan de Tejerina.

The Chapels

The Chapel of the Magi: Chapel of the 14th century located at the head of the Cathedral of Palencia. The brothers Juan and Jerónimo Corral de Villalpando made this chapel.

The Chapel of the Tabernacle is often considered the best work of the Cathedral of Palencia. It has a large Renaissance altarpiece made by Juan Ortiz El Viejo and Juan de Valmaseda. At the center of the Chapel of the Tabernacle, The Gothic Virgin dates from the year 1300. Looking straight at the Virgin, you will have on your left and in a high place the sarcophagus of Urraca. She was Queen of Navarra, daughter of the Emperor Alfonso VII and wife of King of Navarra Garcia Ramirez. The Cathedral Museum is located in the anteroom. The Chapter Room in the northwest corner of the Cloister houses the diptych work The Passion of Pedro Berruguete.

It also has a wonderful bas-relief by Felipe Bigarny and a triple sculpture of the one settled in Becerril de Campos, by Alejo de Vahia.


The Sepulcher of Lady Inés de Osorio houses the famous ponytail that one has to pull, according the tradition. It allows one to make a wish, although it is wrong to say that it is Doña Urraca’s ponytail. It actually belongs to the servant of Doña Ines. She is the one who is represented there and to whom the ponytail of the legend truly corresponds.

The curious Gargoyles. We can highlight the famous image of the photographer, gargoyle that is possibly the most photographed image of the Cathedral of Palencia. It was made by the Architect Jerónimo Arroyo in homage to the photographer who made the photographs of all his works.

In the Door of the Kings, there is a reproduction of the Alien by Ridley Scott.

Rehabilitation of 1996 and Changes

These modern images within a construction like the Cathedral of Palencia were made during the rehabilitation of 1996. These images are rather frequent when the Architect does not know the original state of the piece to reform.

In order to communicate this circumstance to future generations and not wanting to “lie” about the originality of the sculpted image, an anachronistic image complete the missing parts. It is something that makes people know, years later, that the image is not original.

The use of these images usually respond to the hobby or preferences of the Architect. In the case of the Cathedral of Palencia, the liking for the cinema is clear. Specifically to the movies directed by Ridley Scott that began the saga Alien in the year 1979.


The curiosities of the Cathedral of Palencia are numerous and located both inside and outside. Also notable, inside the Museum there is an image of an Anamorphosis of Carlos V. It is a curious pictorial image, which, when seen from the front, shows us a shapeless stain. But when looking at the frame from its side, through a small hole made in its left side, it clearly shows the portrait of Charles V. Outside the Cathedral, one of the gargoyles is the image of a skeleton in homage to the Cathedral of Paris.

Hotel AC Palencia

Hotel AC Palencia