This is a room of great beauty; the interior of the Old Cathedral can be seen from above through its mullioned window, and a spyglass can be used to make out each of the 53 polychromed panels that make up the fine altarpiece.
It owes its name to the city governor, as he attended religious services from this room and also took refuge here in times of conflict.
It is devoted to the music which is a integral part of worship in the Cathedrals. Hymnbooks, lecterns, and shawms reflect the importance of music in the Salamanca Cathedrals, and establish the tempo of the liturgy, the rites, and the ceremonies, as well as the prominence of the Cathedrals in the daily life of the community.
In it we can contemplate one of the most outstanding collections of Renaissance wind instruments.
This room is situated at the base of the naves over the portico of the entrance and on the axis of the central nave of the Old Cathedral. Its location within the architectural ensemble and its mullioned window on the east flank of the room means that the interior of the Old Cathedral can be seen. The window, with a column in the centre and two round arches, gives this room an outstanding beauty. It is contemporary with the roof of the church naves of the late 12th century. The window looking onto the church had been bricked up since 1614, which was when an entrance to the outside of the Flat-topped Tower was opened up and made it independent from the remainder of the cathedral.
On the west flank of the Governor’s Room there is a corridor covered with a pointed barrel arch between the plane of the original Romanesque doorway and the outer plane of the baroque portico built in the 17th century.
The room is connected to the interior of the Cathedral by two stairways located at the thickest part of the north and south walls. The stairway of the gable end, which is the current access route, has only been partly cleared, as it was filled in as part of the reinforcement given to the Belfry Tower during the repairs of the 18th century, which were necessary after the Lisbon earthquake.
Before this room was restored it was part of the living space of the Cathedral staff. It contained a wood stove, which was the reason for the black soot that covered everything.
In the view of its interior the altarpiece of the Old Cathedral stands out; it is unique in Europe and fuses Gothic art with the humanism of the Italian Renaissance. Its 53 panels show biblical scenes of the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary; it was signed by the Delli brothers from Italy. Moreover, the interior of the naves can be contemplated from here, with their murals over the altarpiece that represent scenes from the Last Judgment and their positive organs.
The room owes its name to the Governor of the city, for whom it was reserved from the initiation of its construction as a privileged place from which he could take part in church services and where he could take refuge in times of conflict.
In the Salamanca cathedral the music chapel was an essential element in the life of the city and the chapter meeting took great pains to contract the best musicians. The history of this chapel and the part it has played in the life of the cathedral is reflected by some of the objects on view at the exhibition, at which the visitor can enjoy one of the most extraordinary collections of Renaissance wind instruments together with hymnbooks, scores, and polyphony books.