La Seo Cathedral. Church in Zaragoza, Spain

La Seo Cathedral

Church in Zaragoza, Spain

La Seo Cathedral Photo © Jason Morrow

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La Seo Cathedral

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CS 03032012 #121108 #73271.jpg - La Seo Cathedral
CS 03032012 #121108 #73271.jpg - La Seo Cathedral. Photo by FRANCIS RAHER
La Seo Cathedral, also known as Catedral del Salvador in Spanish, is one of two adjacent Catholic cathedrals in the heart of Zaragoza, Spain. This beautiful 12th-century Romanesque cathedral is known for its unique combination of architectural styles, including fascinating Mudéjar features which led to its inclusion in the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon (Wikipedia Article) UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

History

La Seo Cathedral is located on the site of the ancient Roman forum of Caesar Augustus (Wikipedia Article), the founder of the Roman Empire, which was the religious, commercial, and civic center of the Roman city of Caesaraugusta. In the early 8th century, construction of Saraqusta al Baida, one of the oldest mosques in Al-Andalus, began on the site. When King Alfonso I of Aragon gained control of the area in the early 12th century, he decided to renovate the mosque and transform it into a cathedral instead of destroying the building.

Over the years, the cathedral was expanded various times, which led to its distinctive mix of architectural styles, including its prominent Romanesque apse, Baroque tower, stunning Gothic altarpiece, and Neoclassical door. For three centuries, the cathedral was also used for the coronation of the kings of Aragon, as well as to perform important functions such as royal weddings and burials.

Zaragoza Cathedral / La
	Seo, Zaragoza - La Seo Cathedral
Zaragoza Cathedral / La Seo, Zaragoza - La Seo Cathedral. Photo by Trevor Huxham

Things to See

There are plenty of things to see in La Seo, as it is popularly called in Zaragoza, if you’re interested in architecture, art, and religious history.

The Altarpiece

One of the first things you see when you enter the cathedral is its impressive altarpiece, or retablo, which was expertly carved during the 15th century. It is considered to be one of the finest works of European Gothic art in the world, and is one of the most beloved aspects of the cathedral. It depicts various religious scenes related to the lives of saints from the region.

Chapel of St. Pedro Arbués

La Seo contains over a dozen chapels which display fascinating architectural features and religious artwork. One of the most interesting chapels is that of St. Pedro Arbués, an official of the Spanish Inquisition (Wikipedia Article) who was assassinated in the cathedral in 1485. It contains several paintings depicting his life and death, as well as a sculpture of him. Other distinctive features include its Solomonic columns made from black marble and its 18th-century Baroque doorway.

Chapel of St. Bernard

This chapel is considered to be one of the finest architectural works of the Aragonese Renaissance period. It is known for its distinctive alabaster altarpiece and the striking tomb of Archbishop Hernando de Aragón.

The Organ

The cathedral’s organ is unique because it preserves the remains of the 15th-century Gothic organ, and contains pipes that date back to the 15th through 18th centuries.

The Tower

La Seo’s 90m bell tower was a later addition to the Romanesque cathedral which was completed in the early 18th century. The striking Baroque tower replaced the building’s original Mudéjar tower, and was designed by notable Italian architect, Giovanni Battista Contini.

Museo de Tapices

La Seo is also the home of an impressive tapestry collection known as the Museo de Tapices de la Seo. This museum contains approximately 60 tapestries from the 15th to 18th centuries which are considered to be one of the finest representations of tapestry art in the world. The majority of these works of art depict scenes from the Bible, such as the Passion and the story of Moses. However, some of the tapestries also focus on important historical areas such as Troy and figures such as Constantine, as well as things like the Zodiac signs. The museum also contains paintings, sculptures, and holy objects.

Practical Information

Zaragoza is a great city for pedestrians, so it’s quite easy to reach La Seo on foot. If you prefer to use public transportation, it also offers an urban bus system that is cheap and easy to use which has stops near the cathedral. It is also possible to reach the cathedral using one of the city’s taxis, which are generally driven by honest drivers who will charge a reasonable fare.

Address: Plaza de la Seo, 4, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain

Hours: La Seo is open daily from 10:00 until 18:30 in the winter and 21:00 in the summer. However, tourist visits are not allowed during the hours of daily mass or special religious celebrations. Mass times vary depending on the day of the week, so be sure to check the cathedral’s schedule before visiting.

Price: Admission to both the cathedral and the Museo de Tapices costs approximately €4 ($4.60) for adults, €3 ($3.45) for children 10 to 18 and seniors, and is free for children under the age of 10.

Similar Attractions

Once you’ve visited La Seo, head next door to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, which is Zaragoza’s other cathedral. Spain is also home to numerous other cathedrals known for their architecture and history, including Seville Cathedral, Burgos Cathedral; Segovia Cathedral, Granada Cathedral; Toledo Cathedral, León Cathedral; and Ávila Cathedral.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Jun 02, 2015

Pictures of La Seo Cathedral

26042009 114152 ZGZ 6607 - La Seo Cathedral
26042009 114152 ZGZ 6607 - La Seo Cathedral. Photo by Turol Jones, un artista de...

Zaragoza Cathedral / La Seo, Zaragoza - La Seo Cathedral
Zaragoza Cathedral / La Seo, Zaragoza - La Seo Cathedral. Photo by Trevor Huxham

La SEO - La Seo Cathedral
La SEO - La Seo Cathedral. Photo by Juanedc

Plaza de La Seo - La Seo Cathedral
Plaza de La Seo - La Seo Cathedral. Photo by LC_24

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