Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia (2014)

As long as we’re on the subject of religious buildings, let’s take a look at the Church of the Vera Cruz in Segovia, Spain.

Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

The building was dedicated in 1208, more than 800 years ago. Inside, you’ll find an elevated chamber within the main structure.

Inside the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

Inside the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

A staircase leads up to this inner sanctum.

Staircase inside the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

Staircase inside the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

There’s an altar within that chamber that you see in the next photo:

Altar inside the inner chamber at the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

Altar inside the inner chamber at the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

From up there you have a view down to the side chapels, such as this one:

View to one of the chapels in the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

View to one of the chapels in the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

You’ll also find this reliquary in a separate place:

Reliquary at the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

Reliquary at the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

The exterior also bears a number of carved columns that are worth investigating.

Exterior carvings at the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

Exterior carvings at the Church of the Vera Cruz, Segovia, Spain.

This is the third time I’ve visited this building. However, it was only the first time that I was able to go inside. Be sure to check the hours of operation prior to arrival.

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Salamanca’s Cathedral

Salamanca, Spain, is blessed with a number of remarkable buildings, including the Catedral Nueva which is actually built adjacent to the older one.

Catedral Nueva, Salamanca, Spain.

Catedral Nueva, Salamanca, Spain.

Even my widest angle lens had trouble capturing the entire exterior in a single frame. Inside, the sweeping columns rise to amazing heights.

Inside Salamanca's Catedral Nueva.

Inside Salamanca’s Catedral Nueva.

Quite a large amount of light falls into this building, compared to the Romanesque style cathedrals you’ll find in other cities. Heading to the “old” cathedral through a door, you’ll find a number of paintings such as these:

Interior paintings, Salamanca's "Old" Cathedral.

Interior paintings, Salamanca’s “Old” Cathedral.

As well as some interesting tombs:

Tomb and wall paintings at Salamanca's Cathedral.

Tomb and wall paintings at Salamanca’s Cathedral.

Back inside the “new” cathedral, you’ll find this pipe organ.

Detail from inside Salamanca's Catedral Nueva.

Detail from inside Salamanca’s Catedral Nueva.

I found this bit of rope and tackle intriguing.

Equipment used to build the cathedral or hoist the bells? Maybe.

Equipment used to build the cathedral or hoist the bells? Maybe.

Of course, there is so much more to see during a visit to this sacred place. Take your time and plenty of photos. The cool air inside invites you to linger and ponder.

 

Cathedral of Sanitago de Compostela, Spain

The Road to Santiago is a pilgrimage made famous in the middle ages, and it continues to this day. You’ll see pilgrims and tourists walking, riding bicycles, or driving the route from one beginning or another. They all end at the Cathedral of Sanitago de Compostela.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, June 2014.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, June 2014.

During my visit, there was considerable restoration work going on including what you see above on the facade. However, this did not detract from the experience. Inside, you’ll find magnificent sights including the many chapels such as this one:

Chapel within the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Chapel within the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

As well as this one to show just a couple examples:

Chapel in Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Chapel in Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

In these chapels you often find services held in individual languages. Remember this is a destination for people from all over the world. You can also pass by the many reliquaries.

Reliquary at Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Reliquary at Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

And I highly recommend staying for mass and watching the swinging of the botafumiero, which is something you won’t see in many cathedrals.

The botafumiero at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The botafumiero at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The music as part of the service is wonderful and very uplifting, much of it played on the pipe organ you see in the next photo.

Pipe organ at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Pipe organ at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

While the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela may not be the largest, it is among the most important and worth your time to visit in this part of Spain. As always, be respectful while touring such places of worship.

Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain

For many years, I looked at photos of Santa María del Naranco, the church that stands on a hill a few miles outside of Oviedo, Spain. It’s not the grandest of buildings but it does represent a significant example of pre-Romanesque architecture.

Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

It was build in the 800′s, and to have remained standing all these years is testament to the ingenuity of it’s masons. The detailed carving is quite impressive as well:

Detail of entrance to Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

Detail of entrance to Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

When you visit this site, wear sturdy shoes and bring a bottle of water. The climb from the parking lot to the church is a steep grade over a paved path. The view from this hill can be astounding on a clear day as you see from the panoramic photo below. Click on it for full size:

View from Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

View from Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

I was glad to have finally seen this place in person. It was a bit of exercise, but worth the effort. While traveling, sometimes its not the most popular or largest of site, but rather the smaller more poignant ones that make the biggest impression.

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