This “astronaut” carving on an old Spanish cathedral isn’t what people think it is

Andrew Pourciaux
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If you’ve ever watched the television show Ancient Aliens, you’ve glimpsed the flashy pictures, the narration, and the “proof” of extraterrestrials in art.

Of course, such a show is met with skepticism and humor by the general public, but sometimes there are things in history that very well might point to the evidence of aliens, at least on first glance.

One famous piece of evidence is a photograph of an “astronaut” carved into a 16th-century Spanish cathedral in Salamanca. This cathedral, known as Catedral Nueva, has a strangely modern figure of what looks like a helmet-wearing astronaut on the façade of the entrance.

Astronaut in Salamanca cathedral

This space-suit, complete with tubes and boots, shows an accurate depiction of what a man in space would be equipped with. The picture, circulating the internet, could easily cause someone to pause and even rethink their position on the validity of ancient aliens.

The construction of the Catedral Nueva began in 1513 and continued until 1733.

Beautiful view of Cathedral of Salamanca, Castilla y Leon region, Spain

If the creators of this cathedral were able to accurately predict what an astronaut would look like, is it possible that they were in some kind of contact with extraterrestrials?

If we found evidence of alien crafts or science fiction concepts in art from hundreds of years ago, would it mean that we were indeed visited by aliens long ago?

That is what Erich von Daniken posited in 1968 with his book Chariots of the Gods. This book championed the concept of the ancient astronaut theory and quickly became a best-seller, bringing the idea of art depicting extraterrestrials into the public consciousness.

With the picture of the astronaut on an old cathedral, it might be tempting to believe that Erich von Daniken and the wild-haired guy were right all along.

Under relief ‘The astronaut’. Salamanca cathedral, Castilla y León (Spain)

However, as with most pictures that circulate the internet making weird claims, there is a deeper story behind the carving on Catedral Nueva and it doesn’t involve aliens at all.

Secrets of the Medieval Castle.

While it is true that Catedral Nueva’s construction began in 1513, under the order of King Ferdinand, married to the famous Queen Isabella, there was no such carving at the time of the project’s completion.

Astronaut carved on the facade of the cathedral of Salamanca in Spain.

Over the centuries, the cathedral incurred levels of damage that would eventually require a restoration project to be initiated.

In 1992, the restoration project led to the renovations and repairs to the entrance of Catedral Nueva.

Under relief “The astronaut”. Salamanca cathedral (Spain). Situated in one of the facades.

One of the artists, Jeronimo Garcia, who was responsible for working on the project, decided that he would add a personal touch to the work and decided to include two sculptures that were modern in creation.

The explanation for why an astronaut was selected was because it was a symbol of the 20th century when one of the greatest accomplishments of mankind was achieving space flight and landing on the Moon.

Salamanca, Spain – 25 May 2015: The famous astronaut carved in stone in the Salamanca Cathedral Facade. The sculpture was added during renovations in 1992.

The first sculpture was the astronaut and the second sculpture depicted a faun eating ice-cream from a cone.

These two modern additions were placed in 1992, which essentially debunks the concept that they were created in the 1500s.

Under relief “The astronaut”. Salamanca cathedral (Spain). Situated in one of the facades.

While the photograph might circulate with the claim that this astronaut is proof that aliens influenced creators of the past, the truth is far more mundane.

Related story from us: An explanation emerges for how the 12th century Paisley Abbey in Scotland could feature a gargoyle out of the film “Alien”

Yes, it can be fun to look into concepts like the ancient astronauts theory, but most of the time, there are far more plausible explanations than the idea that aliens once roamed the Earth, inspiring people to carve statues of them into cathedrals.


Andrew Pourciaux is a novelist hailing from sunny Sarasota, Florida, where he spends the majority of his time writing and podcasting.