A walk through the ancient gothic cathedral Seu Vella in Lleida

Old cathedral Seu Vella of Lleida

I had long been interested in visit the cathedral of Lleida, which he had seen from a distance on the many trips made between Madrid and Barcelona.

Both from the highway and on the route of the bird what happens near Lleida said majestic building can be distinguished very clearly culminating the hill that rises above this city from inside Catalonia.

Now I have recently had the opportunity to travel to Lleida Y visit the Seu Vella, which is what the old cathedral of the city is called.

Door of the Apostles in the Seu Vella of Lleida

And the first thing I've discovered (I didn't know) is that it is a building that ceased to be a cathedral no less than three centuries ago.

This huge building is located in the known as Seu Vella Hill (Turó de la Seu Vella in Catalan), where you can see the remains of a monumental complex that, in addition to the old cathedral, included a Royal palace and walls.

History of Seu Vella

We must remember that at the time of the Iberians and the Romans, the enclave where the city of the current city of Lleida is located was already populated.

It was also a Muslim city for 400 years with the denomination of Larida, and it was in 1203 when the cathedral began to be built in the place thought to be occupied by the Great Mosque.

Gothic cloister in the Seu Vella de Lleida

The works extended until the fourteenth century when the imposing central cloister was finished, and when the work on the bell tower began, which did not end until 1431.

During that time this hill was the seat of the most noble population of the city because, as I said, there was also known as King's castle (or The Suda).

But a defining moment in the history of the enclave was when in 1749, during a war the building ceased to fulfill the function of a cathedral to move to house a military barracks.

Since then the Seu Vella Hill, since it is a strategic place in that area that was a land of borders, it suffered numerous attacks, so the building of the old cathedral suffered much deterioration.

It wasn't until 1948, already after the Civil war, when the Seu Vella He stopped serving as a military barracks.

Since then, a long recovery process has been carried out in the building, which is still being carried out.

Gothic cloister in the Seu Vella de Lleida

What to see in the visit of the Seu Vella

When you climb the hill to visit the old cathedral You will find a large parking lot where you can leave your car without problem.

Before entering the interior of the building, it is worth taking a full turn to it during which you can enjoy the best panoramic views of Lleida.

On the east facade of the building you will see five of its seven doors, starting with the one known as Gate of the Godsons wave Door of the Annunciation, all of them are built in the late Romanesque style of the so-called Lleida School.

On the west facade you can see the monumentalGate of the Apostles that gives to the great cloister of the cathedral, of gothic style and finished in the XV century, where it located the sculpture of the Virgin of the Blau.

Central nave of the Seu Vella de Lleida

Now for the visit you will access the stay of the old Canonicalwhere was the Pious of Almoina, a charitable institution that fed the poor and the pilgrims.

The paintings that decorated its walls can be seen in the Lleida museum.

The church has a plant of Latin cross with three ships, and is currently completely empty.

This allows us to see the anchors of the two-story building that had been inside for centuries to house the different rooms of the military barracks.

With structure of Gothic style and with some corners that preserve the Romanesque style, in a vacuum interior of the Seu Vella It should be noted a corner where a canvas of wall paintings, sample of those that covered the whole church in the fourteenth century.

Wall paintings in the Seu Vella de Lleida

To also point out a sepulcher of the fifteenth century.

Undoubtedly the most prominent corner of the Seu Vella is your imposing cloister, it seems that the highest Gothic style that is preserved in Europe.

Rectangular, the cloister has large windows that open to the central courtyard and to the outside.

How to climb the tower of the Seu Vella

From the cloister you can climb the bell tower of the Seu Vella.

Bell tower of the Seu Vella of Lleida

I anticipate that it is not an easy promotion, and not at all suitable for all audiences.

60 meters high, its 238 steps have an unusual height between them, and also the last stretch of the ascent is really narrow, so climbing implies a very demanding physical effort.

In this last section you will pass by the big Silvestra bell, which keeps ringing to tell the city of Lleida the time.

From the 15th century, this imposing campaign has a weight of 4,600 kilos.

At the end of ascent to the tower of the Seu Vella on the upper roof you will have the prize of enjoying spectacular panoramic views of Lleida.

Views from the bell tower of the Seu Vella de Lleida

In short, a visit that is very worthwhile.

Timetables Seu Vella de Lleida

The visiting hours of the Seu Vella de Lleida they are, from May to September, from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., and on Sundays and holidays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In winter, from October to April, from Tuesday to Friday, from 10 am to 1.30 pm and from 3 pm to 5.50 pm; on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and on Sundays, from 10 to 15 hours.

The Ticket prices to visit the Seu Vella They are, generally, 6 euros, and you can access both the Seu Vella and the enclosure of the King's Castle.

The reduced ticket price is 5 euros, from which the +65 seniors, pensioners and young people from 7 to 18 years benefit, with free admission for children under 7 years, disabled and unemployed, among other groups.

We can all visit the Seu Vella for free the first Tuesday of each month. as well as at local parties.