Santa María del Prado Cathedral
Santa María del Prado Cathedral (known by the full Spanish name of La Santa Iglesia Prioral Basílica Catedral de las Órdenes Militares de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Prado) is the latest of Ciudad Real’s three Gothic churches. While its construction officially started in the 15th century, the last section of its vault – that of its choir – was not finished until 1514. Because of this, the building can be categorised within the last years of the Gothic period, with certain Renaissance touches.
The exterior of the church has three simple façades: the Puerta de Umbría [shadow door] to the north; the Puerta del Mediodía [noon door] to the south, with a Gothic appearance despite the presence of engraved tympana from the 19th century; and the third and most interesting door on the eastern façade, the Puerta del Perdón [door of pardon], which dates back to the 13th century and contains old-fashioned plant decorative elements.
The cathedral’s interior consists of a single yet immense nave measuring 34 metres high, 53 metres long and 18 metres wide. Following that of Gerona, it is the largest single-nave cathedral in Spain.
The most important piece in the cathedral is without a doubt its main altarpiece, a masterpiece by Giraldo de Merlo completed in 1616. While chronologically belonging to the Baroque period, it nonetheless exudes a serene classicism. It is dedicated to the Virgen del Prado, the patron saint of Ciudad Real, a modern work of art by Valencian sculptor Raussel y Llorels.
One interesting fact that few people know about is the cathedral’s close ties to the military orders since the time it was converted into their priory. This is the reason for the different references to Calatrava, Montesa, Santiago and Alcántara coat of arms both along the Paseo del Prado and in the building itself.
April – September
Monday to Sunday 08:30 – 13:00 and 18:30 – 21:30
October – March
Monday to Sunday 08:30 – 13.00 and 18.00 – 20.00 h
Exterior Virgin’s Chapel [camarín]: the Virgin’s image is turned around minutes before closing time in the evening