The University of Santa Catalina in El Burgo de Osma (Soria) was founded by the bishop and benefactor Pedro Álvarez de Acosta (1539-1563) with the idea of setting up the first centre of learning in the province of Soria. Building work on what would eventually be the university started in 1550.




It is built on a square layout and the rooms or spaces are arranged around a two-storey courtyard with magnificent arcades: the arches on the lower floor are round and on the upper floor they are segmental. The building currently houses a hotel.


gárgolas qué son



And it’s precisely in the courtyard where you find the peculiar, fantastical gargoyles in this former university. They all evoke Renaissance grotesques, a wildly imaginative and extravagant type of decoration, showing figures packed with unique, fanciful features. These are gargoyles with small monsters or demons which, although they are all in the same sculptural style, have some really varied and imaginative details. Features we can make out include spiral or leaf-shaped wings, long snouts with enormous mouths, prominent eyebrows with hollow eyes giving them a ghostly look, crests, a snake’s tail, tongue, dorsal crests, fur, curved horns, collars, pointed ears, breasts, patterns scratched on their bodies, Indian headdresses, sunken trachea, various kinds of legs (spiral, leaf-shaped, insect), flaps of skin, protuberances and wrinkles; all of which give them huge artistic beauty, expressiveness and aesthetic value.

A unique and marvellous repertoire of gargoyles that’s certainly worth seeing if you happen to be visiting this lovely town.



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