CATEDRAL DE SANTA MARIA DE TORTOSA
Portal de Palau, 543500 Tortosa, Tarragona, Catalunya
The Cathedral of Tortosa is undoubtedly the most outstanding architectural ensemble of the city. The present Gothic temple, begun in 1347, was designed according to the style of the 14th century and occupies the site of the old Romanic cathedral, of which only a few vestiges remain in walls and windows. The building has the shape of a basilica, with three naves and lateral chapels. The central nave, the cloister and the chapel of the Virgin Mary of the Ribbon are some of the most recommended places to visit, and the two altarpieces located in the apse area cannot go unnoticed. In the presbytery we find the Romanic altarpiece of the “Virgen de la Estrella”, which is built with golden and polychrome wood. The other, located in the central chapel, is the altarpiece of the Transfiguration, a work of the second half of the 15th century that has been attributed to the famous workshop of Jaume Huguet. The Gothic cloister is of trapezoidal plan with galleries formed by pointed arches. Its naves contain an important sample of tombstones. There is also access to the old dining room of the canons (currently prepared as an exhibition hall) and also one of the main entrances to the Temple. The chapel of Virgin Mary of the Ribbon is located at one end of the central nave. It was built between 1672 and 1725 and stands out for the altarpiece with the image of the Virgin of the Ribbon. The impressive wall paintings and copper marble coverings (from the outskirts of the city, the so called quarry of the Virgin of the Ribbon) make it a clear example of baroque architecture. Much of the Cathedral's treasure was lost during the Spanish Civil War. Despite this, a large number of codices are preserved, the medieval tapestry of the Holy Supper, an Arab wooden and ivory chest, and the silverware of the high altar.