Cathedral of San Salvador

The Cathedral of San Salvador is a Gothic church started in 1348 and finished at the end of the 15th century. It is one of the principal stations for the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. It has the third most important altar in Spain (after the ones in the Cathedrals of Seville and Toledo). Beside the main altar is a statue of Christ the Savior, which is a much revered Romanesque statue of Christ. All the pilgrims pray to this statue. The style of the Cathedral is Flamboyant Gothic, but it also has Baroque elements. It has only one tower, that reaches 200 ft in height. The Cathedral has huge wooden doors with intricate carvings. Inside one can see many stained glass windows.


What most calls attention in the Cathedral is the main altarpiece. It measures 12 x 12 m and was completed between 1511 and 1529 by Giralte of Brussels and Juan de Valmaseda. The altarpiece has many sets of sculptures in panels decorated with gold. In the middle are three panels, one on top of each other. On each side are panels in columns of 2 x 5. All of them show the life of Christ. One can read the panels on the side from left to right, starting from the first floor and going up the floors. Then one reads the panels in the middle from the top to the bottom. This altarpiece is a masterpiece of art.


At the side of the Cathedral are big Gothic cloisters with many statues, many in a state of decay. There is also the Camara Santa, which is an architectural jewel of Pre-Romanesque art, thought to date from the 9th century. It contains many Christian relics and works of art. There is also the Sudarium, a piece of plain cloth measuring 84 by 53 cm, marked with stains. It is said to have been the cloth that was used to cover and clean the face of Christ after the crucifixion. It has a very long history that has been documented on how it reached Oviedo from Jerusalem, passing through northern Africa. Scientific studies have compared it to the Shroud of Turin. The blood stains on both are from the AB type. 


Other treasures are the Cross of Victory. This is a large gold cross embedded with jewels that contains the wooden cross that Don Pelayo used in Covadonga. There is also a Romanesque golden cross in the form of the Greek cross, that is embedded with jewels, and is called the Cross of the Angels. On its display are the two small gold figures of angels. One of the kings had it made and the story is that two men passing the town said that they were goldsmiths. The king turned over to them a lot of gold and jewels for the cross and the next morning they had gone, but had left the cross with the jewels. Everyone thought that they were angels because the cross was extremely beautiful and could have been made only by angels.


There is also the Christ of Nicodemus, which is a small crucifix with the figure of Christ in ivory. The Gundislavo Diptych is another piece of art. Also there is the Box of Agates, which is a big and elaborate golden box with agate stones.