On the 29th June 1236, day of San Pedro and San Pablo (Saint Peter and Saint Paul), King Fernando III el Santo (the Saint) entered the city with his troops. A long procession crossed the bridge until the Mosque, where a Cross, symbol of Christianity, was put in the first place, and afterwards, the standard representing the kingdom of Castilla y León on the minaret. Later, the Bishop of Osma officiated a service consecrating the Islamic prayer hall, thus baptising the new Cathedral dedicated to Santa María, Madre Gloriosa de Jesucristo (Saint Mary, Jesus Christ’s Glorious Mother).
The first Main Chapel was located in the skylight right before Al-Hakam II’s extension of the old Mosque, and the three naves between the skylight and the western wall were used as choir. Next to this skylight, at the entrance, there was another one, quite possibly made in Almohad period, which was reserved, in the year 1371, by King Enrique II in order to use it as a tomb for his father and grandfather, Alfonso XI and Fernando IV, respectively; this was the Royal Chapel.
The fact that it was then a border city triggered a great political and social instability, which meant that major works were scarce until the beginning of the 16th century, when one of the most important families of architects appeared in the city: the Hernán Ruiz. The first of them, Hernán Ruiz I, nicknamed el Viejo (the Old), was a Senior Master of the Cathedral for almost half a century (1502-1549). His work in the building has been studied in three main stages: the remodelling of the exterior façades and courtyard (1505-1514), the remodelling of Almanzor’s naves (1514-1523) and the creation of the new Main Chapel and Choir, which he started in 1523, and did not leave until his death in 1549.
The works in the Main Chapel were extended until 1607, and they showed, along all those years, the different ways of interpreting architecture by the different masters who led the project, as was the case of Hernán Ruiz II, son and successor of the mentioned Hernán Ruiz el Viejo, Diego de Praves, or Juan de Ochoa, essential figure in the Mannerism of our city.
All along the 17th century, there was a period characterised by a clear political and social stability, which obviously affected the Cathedral directly. There were numerous medieval chapels which were restored at this time, and others even appeared, with a new layout, of which we can mention Capilla del Espíritu Santo (Chapel of the Holy Spirit), one of the last made by Hernán Ruiz II. The works carried out in the 16th century finished with the beginning of the remodelling works in the tower, which started with the belfry designed by Hernán Ruiz III, who is also the author of the Capilla del Sagrario (Tabernacle Chapel), located in the southest of the prayer hall.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, there is still a religious fervour, inherited from the past. Therefore, there would be big families willing to donate great amounts of money to keep the worship in the chapels built in the previous years. In the 18th century, we can highlight the creation of the Chapel of Saint Theresa, built with the objective of being used as Main Sacristy and as a tomb for Cardinal Salazar. However, we cannot forget one of the most fortunate choir stalls in the Spanish Baroque, the one carved by Pedro Duque Cornejo, to which we will dedicate a special section.
Next, as it is usual, we will take a brief look at the history of the Cathedral, highlighting those figures who had a major influence in it. On the other hand, we will address individually those spaces we consider essential to have a basic understanding of the monument, which is ultimately the aim of this website.