12/04/2017 - The most Breton cathedral of Galicia and the oldest of the peninsula


Seat of ancient bishoprics of the Galician Kingdom, in the old Britonia… San Martiño de Mondoñedo.


Catedral de San Martiño

The Cathedral of San Martiño de Mondoñedo (Photo: Guido Álvarez Parga)


The beach of As Catedrais today, the cathedral of San Martiño de Mondoñedo always … we can say without hesitation that we are talking about two of the great tourist hits of Galicia, and two of the symbols that most identify A Mariña Lucense on the international scene.

The famous beach of Ribadeo has lived a before and after since it was awarded – by Tripadvisor in 2013 – as the sixth most beautiful in the world and the second most beautiful in Europe. The Cathedral of San Martiño de Mondoñedo has been almost 1200 years old as a place of worship for Galicia and for the whole European continent. One of the oldest cathedrals in the world.


Catedral de San Martiño

Interior of the Cathedral of San Martiño de Mondoñedo (Photo: Guido Álvarez Parga)


It is located in the so-called “Breton Galicia”, that of the old bishop Maeloc, where migrations from various Atlantic peoples (mainly from the British Islands and from French Brittany) settled there in the fifth and sixth centuries.

This bishopric of Britonia, one of the oldests of the ancient Kingdom of Galicia, had its main headquarters in Santa María de Bretoña (A Pastoriza) and in the monastery of Máximo (in the location of the Cathedral of San Martiño). Its first official mention came in the documents of the Council of Braga (561) and in the documents of the Council of Braga (572). This bishopric was structured following the model of the Celtic churches of the British Isles and hence today we speak of this northern Galician as the most Celtic Galicia, the most Breton Galicia.


Catedral de San Martiño

West facade of the Cathedral of San Martiño de Mondoñedo (Photo: Guido Álvarez Parga)


The building has architectural elements from the X, XI and XII centuries, but nevertheless and as we have already said, the origins of San Martiño are remade to the sixth century and to that old monastery of Maximus. And its apogee? In the middle of the 9th century, when the Vikings destroyed Bretoña and the bishopric had to move to what would become a double episcopal seat.

San Martiño de Mondoñedo, a historical jewel that we love to show you with Galicia Infinita…


Guido Álvarez Parga (Lugo, 1985)

Official Tour Guide of Galicia, travel agent at Galicia Infinita and collaborator of the newspaper Galicia Confidencial