Perched on a façade over the northern entrance of a 300-year-old cathedral in Salamanca, Spain, is a carved figure remarkably reminiscent of a modern astronaut. Construction of the cathedral was started in 1513 and completed in 1733.
Instantly, the mind questions what the eyes see. Theories of ancient aliens, time travel, or perhaps the sculptor had the supernormal power of foresight. And, although the world today still holds many mysteries, the mystery of the Salamanca Cathedral Astronaut has a much more down-to-earth explanation.
Salamanca, Spain, is home to two cathedrals. The “Old Cathedral,” simply known as “Catedral Vieja,” which was constructed in about the mid-12th century. As such, it may be one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe.
The other cathedral, known as the “Catedral Nueva” or “New Cathedral,” which is no longer new by today’s standards but was new when it was first called such.
It’s on the New Cathedral’s entrance that the astronaut appears, running laterally, parallel to the entrance. He sits perched on a stalk complete with boots, helmet, and what appears to be a breathing apparatus on his chest with tubes stretching to a pack on the rear of his suit. He is grasping with his right hand what appears to be a vine acting as a harness of sorts running across his waist. His left hand is grasping a nearby leaf for support. His face reflects a rather bewildered expression.
But, how could this be? Astronauts didn’t exist when the cathedral was constructed. It would appear that the carving is actually part of restoration that was done to the cathedral in 1992. At that time, the “Puerta de Ramos” (this is the name of the New Cathedral’s entrance) had seen significant damage over the past few centuries. The addition was purportedly added by stonemason Miguel Romero and possibly overseen by Jerónimo García de Quiñones, according to Ancient Code: Deciphering History Together. Following tradition, restoration on cathedrals often includes something from modern times, in this case, the restorers chose the figure of an astronaut.