The León Cathedral, dedicated to Santa María de la Regla, was declared of Cultural Interest in 1844. It is known as the Pulchra Leonina and is a masterpiece of the Gothic style dominating the mid-13th century, by master architect Enrique. By the late 16th century it was virtually completed.
The main façade has two towers. The southern tower is known as the ‘clock tower’. The interior represents a combination of architecture, painting, sculpture and other arts. The Renaissance retrochoir contains alabaster sculptures and the choir was built by three great artists: Jusquin, Copin of Holland and Juan de Malinas. Particularly noteworthy is the Plateresque screen in the wall behind the sepulchre of King Ordoño.
It has three portals decorated with sculptures situated in the pointed arches between the two towers. The central section has a large rose window. Particularly outstanding is the image of the Virgin Blanca and the Locus Appellatione, where justice was imparted.
Its almost 1,800 square meters of stained glass windows are one of the main touristic attractions of the cathedral. The great majority of them are original, which is a rarity, and date from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. They are among the world’s finest stained glass works.
In the Main Chapel, there is an altarpiece by Nicolás Francés (15th century) and a silver urn containing the relics of San Froilán, the town’s Saint patron, made by Enrique de Arfe. The 13th- to 15th-century cloister contains singular sculpted details in the capitals, friezes and ledges.
The Cathedral Museum houses a large collection of sacred art. There are almost 1,500 pieces, including 50 Romanesque sculptures of the Virgin, dating from pre-historic times to the 18th century (Neoclassicism) with works by Juan de Juni, Gregorio Fernández, Mateo Cerezo, a triptych of the School of Antwerp, a Mozarabic bible and numerous codices.
The Cathedral is also one of the three most important Cathedrals on The Way of Saint James (El Camino de Santiago). Along with The Burgos Cathedral and the Cathedral in Santiago De Compostela, it is visited a lot and it is a holy worshipping place, and very sacred to the people of its city. It is one of the things that makes Leon so famous, and one of the main stops on the camino.