Towers of the Main Front

he west side of Sigüenza cathedral has more the appearance of a castle than of church.

n the gable, divided by two great buttresses supporting the cathedral walls and giving the whole a fierce, warlike appearance, and which form three sections corresponding to the two aisles and the nave of the cathedral interior, are three doors, one in each. All of these doors are Romanesque in style, dating back to the 12th century. The archivolts of the central door, more recessed and higher, are unadorned. This is known as the Door of Los Perdones, as, according to tradition, on Saint Ildephonse’s day the faithful could win indulgences for themselves by entering the cathedral through it. The side doors, on the other hand, are magnificently decorated, with phytomorphic motifs in the form of geometric designs with something of a Mudéjar air and rhythm. These splendid doors, with their fine, beautiful ornamentation, were ordered installed by Bishop Cerebruno.

The main entrance in this front, where 12-century Romanesque combines with the Gothic and Baroque styles in a blend which does not quite come off, is crowned by a Baroque bas relief medallion depicting the Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Ildephonse and Her Imposition of the chasuble on him.

Over this medallion, in the central section, is a daring rose window which lights the nave. It is formed by 12 radii, symbolizing the Apostles.

Two Romanesque windows with semicircular arches open over the side doors. In the 12th century, Gothic arches were built over the high windows of the side sections and the rose window of the nave in order to reinforce the walls.

On either side of the main front are square towers built of strong sandstone. Each of these towers has four sections delimited by fine salient moldings. The upper section, crowned by spires topped by thick stone balls, contains the bells, with large crenels formed by semicircular arches. The lower sections feature few openings or windows. The left-hand tower was built by Bishop Bernardo. In the 16th century, Bishop Fadrique de Portugal added the belfry, which is by Francisco de Baeza, as is that of the right-hand tower, built in the 14th century by Cardinal Pedro Gómez Barroso (1348-1358). These spired towers flanking the main entrance to the cathedral, were originally more strong defensive elements than bell towers. They are communicated by a stone balustrade erected at the behest of Bishop Juan de Herrera (1722-1726).