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Cathedral of San Salvador
Oviedo (Central Asturias)
Contact Address
Pza. de Alfonso II, el Casto. 33003 Oviedo
985 219 642


Built in




Further information:

  • November to February
    Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-2:00pm and 4:00pm-6:00pm

    March, April, May and October
    Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-2:00pm and 4:00pm-7:00pm

    Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-2:00pm and 4:00pm-8:00pm

    July and August
    Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-8:00pm

    Monday to Saturday: 10:00am-7:00pm and from 14th to 21st, 10:00am-5:00pm

    It will remain closed to visitors on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and on Saturdays from 6:00pm.

    Whenever liturgical celebrations are being held, there are only "partial" visits (Holy Chamber, Museum and Cloister)

    Mass timetables on Sunday and holidays: 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm and 6:30pm


    General entry to the Cathedral

    • - Individuals (including audio guide), 13-65 year olds - €7.00
    • - Pensioners (including audio guide) and groups of over 15 people - €6.00
    • - Schoolchildren from 12-18 years of age accompanied by a teacher, university students - €5,00
    • - Accredited pilgrims, large families and the unemployed - €4.00

    Partial tour*(Holy Chamber, Museum, Cloister)
    Whenever liturgical celebrations are being held in the Central Nave.

    • General public - €5.00
    • - Accredited pilgrims, large families and the unemployed - €3.00

    Group rates, accompanied by accredited guides:

    • - Full Visit - €5.00
    • - Partial Visit - €4.00 (Only when religious celebrations are being held in the Central Nave)

    These prices will be temporarily reduced by €1 while the Church Museum remains closed.

  • Ecclesiastical
The cultural, artistic and religious emblem of the capital of the Principality.

Oviedo Cathedral has its origins in the basilica built by King Alfonso II The Chaste (791-842) dedicated to San Salvador (the Holy Saviour). It was built on the ruins of an earlier church ordered built by his father, Fruela I, in 765 and destroyed thirty years later by the Moors. This king also had the Church of Santa María and the royal palace built to the north and south, respectively, of the original basilica of San Salvador.

Construction of the Gothic cathedral began in the 14th century, demolishing the previous Romanesque and Pre-Romanesque basilica. Building work received a definitive impetus during the Bishopric of Gutierre de Toledo (1377-1389). The construction was completed in the mid-16th century, with the crowning of the tower in a late Gothic style. That is to say, the building of the cathedral lasted nearly three centuries. And it was still necessary to work for another hundred years to build the chapels and tombs that can be seen today adjoining the aisles. Therefore, the construction of the present cathedral took about four hundred years, with particular intensity during the 15th century, a period during which the predominant style was that known as ornate or Flamboyant Gothic, a style within which this cathedral may be included.

The building is divided into three naves, the larger central nave and the side naves with chapels between the buttresses, preceded by a portico. The outstanding transept brings a Latin cross layout to the ground plan, topped by a polygonal apse containing the ambulatory. The verticality of the walls, achieved via pointed arches separating the naves, a blind triforium and a clerestory with decorative windows. The entire cathedral (naves and chapels) is covered with groin vaulting, outstanding among which is the octagonal vaulting of the central nave.

Successive enlargements of the cathedral eventually absorbed both constructions, integrating the old palatine chapel, the Holy Chamber, into the new building.


In the second half of the 9th century, Alfonso III The Great considerably enriched the cathedral treasures through the donation of the Victory Cross, although he did not order any enlargements of the Basilica of San Salvador.

After the Court moved to León in the 10th century, successive monarchs continued enriching the basilica with their donations. It gained great prestige in the Middle Ages, earning the epithet of Santa Ovetensis, being an obligatory visit for pilgrims and devotees. The figures of the Apostles in the Holy Chamber and the Old Tower, both Romanesque, belong to this period.

The so-called Old Tower must be seen from the outside. Built in the early 12th century in the Romanesque style, it was the bell tower of San Salvador Cathedral until the Gothic tower was built. It is a sober, compact tower, built in rough ashlar at the bottom and regular blocks of ashlar at the top, where there are semi-circular arch windows flanked by columns topped with magnificent capitals.

The Chapel of San Miguel (the Holy Chamber), was remodelled in the 12th century, replacing the old ceiling with a barrel vault supported by transversal ribs resting on double columns. The sculptural work that unfolds in this chapel has been regarded as some of the finest Romanesque work in this field. In the west wall, above the doorway, there is a Calvary with the Virgin Mary and St John, in which only the heads were carved, the rest of the images being painted. The figures of the Apostles are carved in the long walls. The Twelve Apostles, along with their symbols, are carved on the monolithic shafts of six pairs of columns richly decorated with animal and plant motifs, as well as themes and allusions to medieval legends decorating the capitals and below their bases.

The Saviour is a Romanesque carving, probably made to preside over the high altar of the cathedral, before the altarpiece was made. This polychrome figure, with quite archaic features and a hieratic posture, represents the Saviour standing, holding the orb in his left hand, while imparting blessings with his right hand. It was greatly venerated by pilgrims, who attributed many miracles to it.


The Chapter House (late 13th century) is square in shape and is covered by a dome on pendentives. A large rose window, to the exterior, and another small window, above the door to the cloister, illuminate the room. The beautiful Gothic stalls from the old choir, the work of Flemish artists, can be seen in this chapter house. They were ordered built by Bishop Juan Arias del Villar around 1498. The Altarpiece of Lamentations, stonework dating from the 15th century, is also on display in this room.

The Gothic cloister (14th and 15th centuries) replaced an earlier one (Romanesque, 12th century). The corbels and capitals are worth highlighting, with a rich and varied iconography covering profane and religious themes, medieval legends and even specifically Asturian motifs, such as Favila's fight with the bear. Gothic arches support a row of balconies, which fit in well with the ensemble. These date from the early 18th century and are the work of architect Francisco de la Riva. Built at the end of the same century, the Alms Door is located in the south wall of the cloister.

The Apse (1382-1412) is pentagonal, preceded by straight section. It has a triforium, above which there are five large pointed windows, with a stone tracery design on the inside. It is covered with ribbed vaulting, reinforced on the outside by five large buttresses capped with pinnacles. Building of the transept did not commence until 1444, in the north wing of which the Flemish portico of the "Chaste King" was opened, including a latticework tympanum with undulating Flamboyant tracery. The mouldings of the archivolts descend uninterrupted to the base, accommodating seated apostles, prophets and kings sheltered by canopies. The jambs feature the standing figures of St James the Greater, St Peter, St Paul and St Andrew. In the tympanum, the figure of the Saviour, and on the central pillar, that of the Nursing Madonna. Beside this portal stands the so-called Chapel of the Hydria, which, according to tradition, safeguards a hydria (large water jar) from the Wedding at Cana, one of the miraculous relics visited by pilgrims. The southern wing of the transept is the work of Juan de Candamo. The portal on this side is structured similarly to the opposing one.

The Porch is formed by three arches, of different sizes, which correspond to the naves inside the cathedral. The wall and archivolts, as well as the central mullion, are decorated with niches or pedestals to place sculptures that were never actually made. Groin vault and pointed arches tending towards a semi-circle. All in the purest florid Gothic style. Above the main door are the six figures of the Transfiguration, dating from the 17th century. Dating from the same century, though somewhat later, the doors are the work of the Asturian sculptor José Bernardo de la Meana. They contain carved reliefs of the Saviour and St Eulalia. The Gothic tower (1508-mid-16th century) is structured in successively decreasing volumes, the walls being lightened by Flamboyant tracery openings, which, together with the buttresses crowned with pinnacles, give it that characteristic slenderness and sense of ascension. It is crowned by the openwork stone steeple in true Flamboyant style. It stands sixty metres high in all.

The Main Altarpiece (1512-1531) is located in the apse of the cathedral, adapting to the polygonal shape of the layout. It ranges in style from Flamboyant Gothic to Renaissance. A monumental work in polychrome wood, it is divided into five separate panels by gilded filigree columns and canopies, each with four tiers, except for the centre panel which has three tiers. The central panel depicts the main scenes: the Crucifixion, the Assumption and the Coronation of the Virgin and the Saviour. It is the work of the sculptors Giralte of Brussels and Juan de Valmaseda and artists of the calibre of Alonso Berruguete. It is considered one of the best Spanish Gothic altarpieces alongside those of Seville and Toledo.


The building work at the cathedral continued throughout the Baroque centuries. The first extension undertaken was to change the layout of the apse, with the addition of the ambulatory. The work of Juan de Naveda, it was built in the mid-17th century. It is hexagonal in shape, forming small chapels with flat walls between the original buttresses that offer a group of Baroque altarpieces of markedly Italian influence. The altarpieces of St Paul and the Descent contain abundant Rococo elements. The subsequent chapels are devoted to St Peter, St Andrew and St Bartholomew. Above the buttresses separating the altars there are Baroque niches containing images of Mary Magdalene, St Anthony the Abbot, St Blaise, St Lucrecia, St Eulalia, St Leocadia, St Emeterius and St Jerome. The imagery in the ambulatory has generally been attributed to Meana, except for the image of St Eulalia, the work of the artist Carnicero, from Salamanca.

The New Sacristy was added in 1733, built by Francisco de la Riba Ladrón de Guevara, who also raised the top of the upper cloister and its façade towards the Corrada del Obispo (Bishop's Compound).


  • Chapel of St Barbara.
    Ordered built by Bishop Bernardo Caballero de Paredes in 1658, with the twofold purpose of housing the relics of the Holy Chamber and serving as his Tomb, the will of the bishop was not fulfilled in either case. The work was designed in two different volumes. The first, covered by a dome with eight panels and a bright lantern, and the second, by a barrel vault, whose abundant Baroque decoration, a style to which the chapel belongs, is related to the altarpiece. The top has a gallery, as in a theatre.
  • Velarde Chapel.
    This chapel was founded by the abbot from Tuñón, Andrés Vázquez de Prada, and entrusted to the House of Velarde, Count of Nava. It contains funerary inscriptions for Don Joaquín M.F. Velarde, Doña Ramona Velarde and her daughter, dating from the mid-19th century. The late Baroque altarpiece presents a unique image of Christ Crucified, of great beauty. The stylization and elongation of all its parts and the painstaking treatment of anatomy follow Mannerist canons. It is one of the best works by Alonso de Berruguete, which he carved on his return from Italy, between 1540 and 1550.
  • Covadonga Chapel.
    This was originally built to house the remains of Bishop Gutierre de Toledo and consecrated St Ildefonsus. It had to be destroyed to raise the ambulatory. Today, Our Lady of Covadonga is venerated here.
  • Chapel of the Chaste King.
    The entrance is through a beautiful, 15th-century Gothic portal. The chapel is divided into three naves, those on the sides being very narrow. In the transept, there is a large octagonal dome resting on pendentives decorated with effigies of Asturian monarchs. Gothic, classical and Baroque elements intermingle in this chapel. The outstanding element in the altarpiece of the chancel is the Assumption of the Virgin, situated in the attic of the altarpiece. The Pantheon of the Kings is located at the back of the chapel. This Baroque chamber became the royal pantheon of the Asturian monarchy after replacing an earlier one built by Alfonso II. The sarcophagus of Itacio is worthy of note, with late Roman and orientalized decorative elements.
  • Vigil Family Chapel.
    Commissioned in the 17th century by the Asturian Juan Vigil de Quiñónez, Bishop of Segovia. A very harmonic mix of classical and Baroque elements. There are faux windows and portals on the walls, in one of which is buried the founder, who is sculpted as if praying. It is the work of Carreño and Fernández de la Vega.
  • Chapel of St Eulalia.
    Built over a Greek cross ground plan with a large dome riddled, like the rest of the chapel, with Baroque decorative elements. The martyrdom of the saint is narrated on the pendentives supporting the dome. In the centre, a canopy bed designed to keep the urn containing the relics of St Eulalia, patron saint of Oviedo.
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Cathedral of San Salvador