It was declared National Monument in 1884.
The romanesque cloister is certainly one of the richest spaces in the Cathedral complex. The access is from the Museum of Tudela.
The building dates from XII century, was declared National Monument with the Cathedral in 1884, has a rectangular floor plan with twelve semicircular arches on the larger sides and nine in the smaller sides. Archeries are supported on double or triple columns, appearing in the galleries prisma- shaped pillars.
It was built between the years 1180 and 1204 to the south side of the temple to house a community of canonical monks who lived under the rule of san Agustín who cared and maintained the old collegiate church, the current Cathedral.
The sculptors started the work by the North gallery, they continued by the East gallery, the South and finally the West gallery.
Cloister North Gallery
© Museo de Tudela, 2020
Highlights particularly the whole of the capitals from the formal, stylistic and iconograhic point of view.
The North galleries depict scenes from the childhood and public life of Jesús. The resurrection of Lazarus is undoubtedly the most interesting one. The unusual expressiveness that the artist uses and the depth that he gives to the scene is what make it so special. The expressive and naturalistic detail of the disciples to cover their noses by the bad smell that gives off the body of Lazarus is fantastic. Remains of polychromy can be seen, testimony of the colour applied to stone in medieval times.
In the East gallery the interpretations of the capitals continues with the narrative of the life of Christ, passion, death and resurrection.
In the South gallery capitals tell the scene of the Virgin´s death and the life and martyrdom of different Saints, for example St. James apostle and St. John the Baptist.
Finally in the West gallery, we can find capitals decorated with religious and profane representations, capitals decorated with vegetal and animals and others of a symbolic character, such as that of the poor man´s parábola of “Poor Lázaro and rich Epulón”.
Restoration of the Cloister
The cloister was recently restored (2013-2015), due to its poor conditions, the stone was treated on its disease, it was consolidated and carried out a cleaning, returning the cloister its former splendor.
Restoration of capitals
© Museo de Tudela, 2020
Transit to Cathedral
Going through the galleries of the cloister we find different spaces, which once used the community of monks when they had a cloistered life. Today they are exhibition rooms.
At the end of the North gallery it is the transit, the part that communicates the cloister with the temple. It had a funerary use in medieval times. Nowadays different archeological pieces are exhibited, some of them from the Mosque of Tudela (IX and XI century) and some funerary trousseaus found in graves when archeological excavations were made during the last restoration (2002-2006).
Saint Denis Chapel
In the East gallery the door opened takes us to the Mudejar style. The chapel dates from XIII and XIV century. The walls are aggrieved in Sefkà of Almohad tradition and marvelous remains of polychrome in vaults, beams, railings and the choir. This chapel is dedicated to Saint Denis and his reliquary bust presides the Baroque altarpiece.
Jewish culture room
In the South gallery, there is a room dedicated to Jewish culture. In the Medieval times Tudela had one of the most important “aljamas” (Jewish quarter) in the kingdom of Navarra. Eminent personalities were born in this town; Benjamin de Tudela, Yehudá-ha-Leví, Abraham Ibn Ezra. In this room you can admire facsimile documents, books and sacred ornaments from the Hebrew liturgy and archeological pieces from the new Jewish quarter. We cannot forget the “Blanket of Tudela”. This tapestry takes as reference the document containing a full name or census, composed by the heads of the Jewish families baptized in 1498, that in 1510 agreed to pay a tax to the Crown in order to guarantee the immunity from the inquisitorial action.