It is difficult to capture the vertical element inside the Catedral de Santa Maria of León, Spain. It is perhaps the most splendid Gothic structure preserved to this day. Because it was built in a hurry (unlike other cathedrals which took centuries to come together), this structure is true to the spirit of the 13th century.

What separates the gothic style from earlier forms comes down to mass. The discovery of rib vaulting and other engineering features allowed the builders of this new style to use lighter materials and reach ever higher into the sky. The worshiper cannot help but lift his or her head upwards.

Another feature of the  León cathedral is the use of glass. Darker (and cooler) panes on one side depict Old Testament figures and scenes while lighter (and warmer) panes illuminate New Testament figures and scenes. Whereas most churches and cathedrals I have seen in Spain seek to keep out the light, this one welcomes it.

Buen caminó!


Join Mark and Vicki for a Mediterranean experience in October, 2018. We'll be cruising aboard the luxurious Celebrity Reflection. See the link here for details. Onboard lectures will provide focus as we visit the ports of Malta, Rhodes, Santorini, and Athens among others. An optional add-on visit to Rome is possible on either end of the trip.