"Open for restoration works": Vitoria Cathedral reveals its secrets
You may well have seen many Gothic cathedrals in your time, but never like this. Come and enjoy a new, completely different experience: see how a 13th century building is restored - live! This is the unusual programme of guided tours of Santa María Cathedral in Vitoria, where the public can see the restoration works as they progress. Come on in: the Cathedral is open for restoration works.
"The best restoration project for a historic building currently underway in Europe." This is how cultural institutions, prestigious architects and international archaeologists refer to the restoration plan for Santa María Cathedral, the largest Gothic church in Vitoria. Situated in the province of Álava, in northern Spain, the restoration works on this monument have also received the Europa Nostra Prize, awarded by the European Union for conservation and improvements to cultural heritage.
Why is this project receiving such prizes and praise? Because it is an innovative, original initiative. Thanks to its programme of guided tours, the general public can take part in a pioneering idea: to be direct witnesses of the reconstruction of a 13th century cathedral. An unusual idea that lets you see "on site" how restorers, archaeologists, stone masons and architects work to return a monument to its former glory. Its motto "Open for restoration works", says it all.
First you must, of course, put on a helmet. Then you will begin your tour, where you will see the progress of restoration works. Your guide will explain architectural problems and their solutions, and will tell you about the city's history through archaeological discoveries that have been made in the cathedral. From a raised platform you can see the huge arches, columns and the unique decoration from up close. To finish things off, don't miss the stunning views from the 16 metre-high scaffolding in place on the portico.
Tickets to visit the works must be reserved in advance, indicating your preferred time and language for the tour. Tickets can be booked at the Vitoria Cathedral Foundation website, or by telephone on +34 945255135. Tours are available all year round and monies obtained go back into the church restoration fund.
Further information and bookings:
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