The Cathedral is built on a hill, in the place where the Abbey of San Emeterio and San Celedonio once stood and around which the city of Santander was born (then called Portus Victoriae liliobrigensium). In the lower part of the Cathedral is the Church of El Cristo, the oldest monument in the city. In fact, Roman remains of a hot spring resort were found in the subsoil thereof. This small church with three naves divided by thick pillars is characterized by its sober style, although there are some pieces of great value.
The Cathedral is a temple whose solidity and sturdy tower give it a fortress appearance. Its construction began in the 13th century and it was declared Property of Cultural Interest in 1931, although it had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1941.
Inside we can admire a valuable altarpiece in the Churrigueresque style and the sepulchre of Santander scholar Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, whose recumbent statue rests on a pillow of books and has the inscription “What a shame to have to die when there is still so much to read!”. Another curiosity of the Cathedral is the chapel of San Matías, which receives each year a visit from the Municipal Corporation to renew the vow taken for the first time in 1503 to pray for the removal of the plague that was ravaging the city. Inside, the monumental organ of Santísima Trinidad (Holy Trinity) stands out. Composed of three bodies, it has been designed by Norbert Itrich and it has more than 6,000 pipes and 100 registers, five of them never achieved before. The Cathedral should not be left without first visiting the beautiful gothic cloister.