iMATUS, CITMAGA, and CITEEC collaborate on a project to protect Santiago Cathedral

A team of researchers led by Jorge Mira (iMATUS), Alberto Otero Cacho, and Alberto Pérez Muñuzurri (CITMAGA), with the collaboration of Luis Hernández Ibáñez’s group (CITEEC-UDC), will work to preserve one of the most important architectural treasures in our society, Santiago Cathedral.

Funded by the General Directorate of Heritage of the Department of Culture of the Xunta, in collaboration with the Santiago Cathedral Foundation, the project aims to understand the circulation of air and humidity inside the monument. Until now, this phenomenon, vital for the preservation of the structure, has been an enigma for experts. The cathedral, an intricate network of naves, vaults, chapels, and passageways, has endured centuries of extreme weather conditions, especially strong winds and rains from the Atlantic Ocean.

“The cathedral is oriented towards the west, almost in a straight line with the Ría de Noia, so it faces the wind directly with the Portico of Glory. We know that the air enters through there, but we do not know how it moves inside and where it deposits the humidity,” explains Jorge Mira.

This ambitious project, undertaken by scientists from iMATUS, CITMAGA, and CITEEC, involves creating a complex mathematical model using photogrammetry techniques. These tools will allow understanding the air flows and moisture condensation inside the cathedral, with the aim of improving its protection and preserving its invaluable heritage. “It’s a tough and ambitious job, but we hope that the results will not only benefit Santiago Cathedral but also other historical buildings in the future,” says Jorge Mira.

This project not only represents a milestone in the preservation of Galicia and Spain’s cultural heritage but also demonstrates the capacity of science and technology to protect and better understand our historical and architectural legacy. Thanks to the dedication and innovation of the scientists involved, a new chapter is being written in the history of Santiago Cathedral and its protection for future generations.