The city of Castro Urdiales It has a very long history in its territory, starting with the founding of Flaviobriga, an ancient Roman settlement whose remains are buried under the old town of the Cantabrian town. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was part of the brotherhood of the Cuatro Villas de la Costa de la Mar, an administrative entity made up of the coastal towns of the Kingdom of Castile, that is, the current Cantabria.

Today, Castro Urdiales is a popular tourist destination in Spain, but it has not lost its essence as a fishing village. With a visit to the city we can enjoy its beaches, such as Ostend and Brazomar, as well as its historic center, where we will find jewels as special as the church of Santa María de la Asunciónnothing more and nothing less than the most important Gothic temple in all of Cantabria.

The origins of Santa María de la Asunción

The history of the church of Santa María de la Asunción is linked to the King Alfonso VIII. ANDIn the year 1208, andThis monarch promoted the construction of the building on a rock formation next to the sea, resulting in a temple with a basilica plan and “a style influenced by the french gothic of the Norman area and the cathedral of Burgos, which was built at the same time”, They explain from the Castro Urdiales City Council.

It is worth mentioning that after the expansion in 2015, the church became part of the good ‘Caminos de Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Caminos del Norte de España’, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993.

Church of Santa María de la Asunción (Castro Urdiales)
Church of Santa María de la Asunción (Castro Urdiales)

Access is via a staircase flanked by two tall towers. The main cover, on the north façade, is “framed by a large pointed arch flared by three archivolts and a dust cover,” they point out. On the other hand, the call Men’s Gatepresents a classicist style, since it was built later in the 18th century.

The interior of the temple

The beauty of the exterior of this church declared a National Monument also finds its place inside. The space is divided into three parallel ships to which is added a polygonal apse. In addition, the main nave has three floors, “the first with arcades, the second with a clerestory and blind arches, and the third with large windows“, they detail.

Image of the Virgin in the Church of Santa María de la Asunción (Castro Urdiales).
Image of the Virgin in the Church of Santa María de la Asunción (Castro Urdiales).

In the 15th century, it was added the chapel of Saint Catherinewhich has currently been transformed into the Parish Museum, and the 1537, the chapel renaissance of the Escalantes. Years later, in 1612, the chapel of Our Lady the White and, finally, in 1893 he built the chapel of Saint Joseph in neo-gothic style. Also notable is the altarpiece in the apse of the Bethlehem nave, “with one of the flamenco sculpture groups most important in Spain, dated to the mid-15th century,” explains Cantabria Tourism.


Tresviso town.


Discover one of the most isolated towns in Cantabria: a small town surrounded by mountains

On the other hand, it is essential to look at the rich decoration of the temple, with ornaments with plant motifs, baroque paintings, sculptures and two valuable polychrome figures life-size: a wooden Gothic Christ from the early 14th century and a stone Virgin from the late 13th or early 14th century. Nor can we forget the altarpiece of the Holy Christdesigned in a pre-Churrigueresque style and accompanied by a canvas by Zurbarán.

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