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Buen Pastor Cathedral

Donostia - San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa

Buen Pastor Square punctuates San Martin Street, and rising imposingly from the square is Buen Pastor Cathedral. Where today we have a pedestrianised oasis, in the past there were traffic-filled streets and busy pavements. Nowadays it is quiet in the mornings and lively in the evenings, becoming a playground for children after school in the afternoons.

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Buen Pastor Square punctuates San Martin Street, and rising imposingly from the square is Buen Pastor Cathedral. Where today we have a pedestrianised oasis, in the past there were traffic-filled streets and busy pavements. Nowadays it is quiet in the mornings and lively in the evenings, becoming a playground for children after school in the afternoons.

King Alfonso XIII, at the tender age of two, signed his first official document during the laying of the foundation stone of this place of worship in 1888. It was consecrated ten years later, and in 1949 achieved the status of cathedral.

Built-in Neo-Gothic style of stone masonry and slate from the quarries of Mount Igeldo, it boasts many decorative elements. Stained glass windows, gargoyles and pinnacles adorn the 75-metre spire which rises above the portico, the highest structure in the Gipuzkoan capital which can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

An outstanding feature of the main façade is the Cross of Peace by Eduardo Chillida. Inside, the high altar, dedicated to the Good Shepherd, brings together the figures of Our Lady of Carmen, St. Theresa, St. Anthony and the Sacred Heart.

If we visit at nightfall, we can delight in the beautifully-lit building in all its architectural glory, bringing to mind similar Christian temples in France and Germany.

If, as well as visiting the cathedral, you wish to discover a charming relic of a former way of city life, find the doorway of number 16 in the Square, and admire its "non-automatic" doorbell. What's so special about that? It's one of the last examples of what was once a common feature of life in a tenement building. Each community had a caretaker, who would answer this bell. If he or she was absent, the flat dwellers would lean out over their balconies to see if the caller was for them. This bell has survived despite all the technological advances of recent decades and is surrounded by an exquisitely-chiselled marble embellisher. And if you're thinking wicked thoughts, forget it... the bell no longer rings.


Buen Pastor Cathedral

Calle Urdaneta, 12
20006 Donostia - San Sebastián
(+34) 943 46 45 16

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