The Buen Pastor Cathedral is one of the icons of the city. It was built by architect Manuel de Echave, who finished construction works in the year 1897. In spite of the fact that they came to a halt and were not restarted until a couple of years later due to the lack of resources, they only needed a total of 9 years to complete it. Its construction began in 1888, on some plots of land provided by the local government for that purpose, and with the aim of offering service to that part of the city which was expanding and, owing to that, was known by the “Ensanche (Spanish for expansion) de Amara”. The members of the Royal Family, who used to spend the summer in the city, were invited to the foundation stone laying event.
The cathedral was built using sandstone brought from Igueldo Mount itself, and it has a latin cross rectangular and symmetric plant with three naves. We are talking about a neo-gothic building that fascinates each and every one of its visitors.
Buen Pastor has undergone two big remodellings over the course of its history. The first one was due to its designation as headquarters of the local diocese, which gave way to 4 years of works and improvements in order to make the temple suitable for its new diocesan function. The second remodelling took place in 1972, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the cathedral. A large part of the church was restored on this occasion: the ceiling and stained-glass windows were changed and the wooden floor was replaced by the current marble one, much more elegant and up-to-date. The interior lighting and furniture were some of the other changes made inside the cathedral.
The Cathedral takes up a total area of 1915 square metres, and one of its towers rises to 75 metres high. The church has a maximum capacity of 4000 people.
The organ of the cathedral
The organ is one of the most treasured elements in the cathedral. Its making took place in the year 1954 and, according to what is said, it was one of the largest ever made in Europe and, most certainly, the largest in Spain. The organ has 5 manual keyboards and one pedal board. It also has 9535 pipes, one of which is 10 metres high. These features turn the organ of Buen Pastor Cathedral into something unique and worth mentioning.