Santander Cathedral is a historic and monumental complex that was built between the late 12th to 14th century on the site of an ancient abbey, commissioned by the diocesan clergy.
The church was built on a hill surrounded by water, site of the old Roman settlement of Puerto de la Victoria, and originally served as an abbey. It comprises a lower and an upper floor and a cloister with annexed rooms. The lower, and older, floor, known as the ‘Church of the Christ’ (Iglesia del Cristo) or ‘the Crypt’, is formed of three naves and four bays. It is 31 metres long and 18 metres wide. The whole vaulted structure supports the weight of the upper floor, which explains the thickness and robustness of the construction. This floor is decorated with plant motifs. The upper part, called the ‘High Church’ (Iglesia Alta) is a building that dates back to the 13th century and maintains the same simple Gothic style that was used for the earlier Church of the Christ.
Santander Cathedral retains much of its original decoration, both in the arches, columns, entablature and doorways. The portal bears one of the very oldest depictions of the coat of arms of Castile and Leon, as the province of Santander formed part of Castilla la Vieja until 1983. The windows are decorated with beautiful stained glass that sheds subtle multicoloured light.
The cloister is particularly worthy of note, with its garden and fountain in the middle. It’s a wonderful place to drink in the tranquillity and fall into a reflective mood.
If you want to visit Santander city centre and you need parking, you’ll find our Saba public car park at Santander Train Station on Plaza de las Estaciones, just a few feet away from the cathedral.