Bilbao Cathedral of St. James

Catedral de Santiago de Bilbao, Bilbao, Španija

Website of the Sanctuary

+34 944 153 627

Weekdays 11.00 to 13.00 and 17.00 to 19.30

The Bilbao Cathedral with 26 Altars

The Bilbao Cathedral is dedicated to St James the Apostle, the patron saint of Bilbao since 1643. Built in the fifteenth century, in a Gothic style, although its tower and façade are neo-Gothic. It has been renovated several times, the last time in 2000, when it reopened its doors again after a decade of extensive restoration.

Of particular interest are the small Gothic cloister, the Door of the Angel (also known as the Door of the Pilgrims and an example of Late Gothic) and its tower, which, as stated in the municipal archives, “shows the good taste of the cultured population of Bilbao”. Bilbao Cathedral has 26 altars and is a place of pilgrimage. See also the Basilica de Begoña Bilbao.

Bilbao Cathedral

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The Bilbao Cathedral – UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Bilbao Cathedral of St. James  was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Ways of Santiago de Compostela. “The expanded cultural property has a rich architectural heritage of great historical importance, consisting of buildings to meet the material and spiritual needs of pilgrims. Bridges, shelters, hospitals, churches and cathedrals”.

Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain [an extension of the “Routes of Santiago de Compostela”] – A network of four Christian pilgrimage routes in northern Spain, the site is an extension of the Route of Santiago de Compostela, a serial site inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993.

Bilbao Cathedral

Bilbao Cathedral

Appearing suddenly and dramatically as we turn into one of the seven most historic streets in the Old Town, Bilbao Cathedral was built in the Gothic style in the late 14th century and is dedicated to the official patron saint of Bilbao.

It was a common resting point for pilgrims, and even the Virgin of Begoña sought shelter within its walls when her church was damaged during the Carlist Wars. This is why one of the cathedrals chapels is dedicated to her.

It is built on the site of an ancient burial ground and has an interesting mix of styles. In 1887 Severino de Achúcarro finished the work on the façade and the Neo-Gothic style bell tower. It achieved the status of cathedral in 1949.

Bilbao Cathedral

Its bell tower, composed of three sections, is 64 metres high. In the first section is the clock. In the second section, made of white ashlars from Mount Oiz, is its belfry and its eleven bells. To complete the set is a tower carved from French white stone and topped with an openwork spire.

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Bilbao Cathedral of St. James  was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Ways of Santiago de Compostela. “The expanded cultural property has a rich architectural heritage of great historical importance, consisting of buildings to meet the material and spiritual needs of pilgrims. Bridges, shelters, hospitals, churches and cathedrals”.

Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain [an extension of the “Routes of Santiago de Compostela”] – A network of four Christian pilgrimage routes in northern Spain, the site is an extension of the Route of Santiago de Compostela, a serial site inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993.

The extension represents a network of almost 1,500 km: coastal, interior of the Basque Country–La Rioja, Liébana and primitive routes. It includes a built heritage of historical importance created to meet the needs of pilgrims, including cathedrals, churches, hospitals, hostels and even bridges. The extension encompasses some of the earliest pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, following the discovery in the 9th century of a tomb believed to be that of St. James the Greater.

Bilbao Cathedral

Appearing suddenly and dramatically as we turn into one of the seven most historic streets in the Old Town, Bilbao Cathedral was built in the Gothic style in the late 14th century and is dedicated to the official patron saint of Bilbao. It was a common resting point for pilgrims, and even the Virgin of Begoña sought shelter within its walls when her church was damaged during the Carlist Wars. This is why one of the cathedrals chapels is dedicated to her.

It is built on the site of an ancient burial ground and has an interesting mix of styles. In 1887 Severino de Achúcarro finished the work on the façade and the Neo-Gothic style bell tower. It achieved the status of cathedral in 1949.

Its bell tower, composed of three sections, is 64 metres high. In the first section is the clock. In the second section, made of white ashlars from Mount Oiz, is its belfry and its eleven bells. To complete the set is a tower carved from French white stone and topped with an openwork spire.

Despite its large size, covering 1,100 metres squared, it is still small for a cathedral since it was designed as a parish church. The cloister is, along with the one in San Francisco Convent in Bermeo, the only one in the Gothic style preserved in the province. Its three naves have some beautiful Neo-Gothic style windows.

The main chapel is a trapezoidal shape and its crypt still houses part of the original wall of the first church, from before the birth of the town. One must-do for visitors is a walk around its 15 chapels located between the buttresses, with their extensive collection of Catholic figures. The church can be visited every day. With a commanding presence, it stands as an indisputable witness to some of the most important historical events that have taken place in this noble city.

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