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Fodor's Spain 2014
Begun in 1525 and completed 65 years later, Segovia's cathedral was built to replace an earlier one destroyed during the revolt of the Comuneros against Carlos V. It's one of the country's last great examples of the Gothic style. The designs were drawn up by the leading late-Gothicist Juan Gil de Hontañón but executed by his son Rodrigo, in whose work you can see a transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance style. The interior, illuminated by 16th-century Flemish windows, is light and uncluttered, the one distracting detail being the wooden, neoclassical choir. Enter through the north transept, which is marked "Museo"; turn right, and the first chapel on your right has a lamentation group carved in wood by the baroque sculptor Gregorio Fernández. Across from the entrance, on the southern transept, is a door opening into the late-Gothic cloister—both the cloister and the elaborate door leading into it were transported from the old cathedral and are the work of architect Juan Guas. Under the pavement immediately inside the cloister are the tombs of Juan and Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón; that these two lie in a space designed by Guas is appropriate, as the three men together dominated the last phase of the Gothic style in Spain. Off the cloister, a small museum of religious art, installed partly in the 1st-floor chapter house, has a white-and-gold 17th-century ceiling, a late example of Mudejar artesonado work. At night the cathedral is lit up with lovely amber lights, casting a glow on the nearby (and usually crowded) Plaza Mayor. Be on your guard as you enter: there are usually at least half a dozen beggars at the door of the church.
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