Justo Gallego’s Self Built Cathedral

Jul 16, 2016 2 comments

About 20 km from Madrid is the small town of Mejorada del Campo. There on a farmland inherited from his family, Justo Gallego Martínez, better known as Don Justo, is building an amazing cathedral covering more than 8,000 square meters. It has a huge dome inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, that is 40 meters high and 12 meters across. Everything from the walls, columns, staircases and floor are made out of either recycled materials or seconds donated by local building contractors. If you look carefully, you will notice the columns are old petrol drums.

The project began more than fifty years ago in 1961. Its initiator, Don Justo, is now ninety-one years old. Don Justo wanted to become a Roman Catholic monk, but his dream was shattered when he contracted tuberculosis and had to leave the monastery. He then decided that he would serve god in which own way, by building a cathedral.


Photo credit: Jose.Madrid/Flickr

Don Justo was neither an architect nor an engineer, and he had no construction experience. What he knew, he learned from books and by consulting photos of cathedrals and other famous buildings.

Don Justo worked mainly alone, but for the last thirty years or so he has been assisted by a local and his six nephews, and by occasional volunteers. Sometimes he would consult an expert at his own expense.

The cathedral gained fame when it was featured in a Spanish TV commercial, about a decade ago. Since then, it has been drawing a steady stream of visitors.

Don Justo says the cathedral is nearly three-fourth finished. The dome is still not complete, and there are a few floors and pews to be installed before religious services can be held here. He has already dedicated the cathedral to the Virgin Mary and has named it Nuestra Señora del Pilar.


Photo credit: John Philip/Panoramio


Photo credit: Jose.Madrid/Flickr


Photo credit: www.dimedondeir.com


Photo credit: Jesus Miguel Balleros/Panoramio


Photo credit: Getty Images/CNN


Photo credit: www.dimedondeir.com


Photo credit: www.dimedondeir.com


Photo credit: Cigoto/Panoramio


Justo Gallego Martínez. Photo credit: Getty Images/CNN

Sources: LA Times / Wikipedia


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