Seville Cathedral. Church in Spain, Europe

Seville Cathedral

Church in Spain, Europe

Seville Cathedral Photo © spainCenter.org

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Seville Cathedral

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Seville Cathedral is the Catholic cathedral in the city of Seville, Spain. Known as the Catedral de Sevilla, or “Catedral de Santa María de la Sede” in Spanish, this impressive monument is the largest cathedral in the entire world. Due to its immense scale and the fascinating artifacts that it contains, it is one of Seville’s truly must-see attractions.

History

In 1401, construction began on what was to become the world’s largest cathedral. It was built in order to demonstrate the immense wealth that Seville had gained as an important trading center since the Christian Reconquista (Wikipedia Article) of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors (Wikipedia Article). According to legend, members of the cathedral chapter suggested that the church should be so grand and beautiful that those who saw it finished would think that they were crazy. When the Gothic cathedral was finally completed in 1528, it surely achieved the desired effect, and remains an architectural wonder to this day.

Things to See

There are dozens of fascinating monuments and features within Seville Cathedral. These are just a few of the things you should stop and admire during your visit.

The Nave

The nave (Wikipedia Article), or body of the church, is the longest of any Spanish cathedral. Its most famous features are its large choir loft, its beautiful organs, and the breathtaking Gothic retablo (Wikipedia Article). The one-of-a-kind golden altarpiece depicts hand-carved scenes from Christ’s life.

La Giralda

La Giralda is the cathedral’s 343-foot tall tower, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Originally, the tower was a minaret that was used during the Moorish rule of Spain. After the Reconquista, the tower’s highest section was added so that it could be used as a bell tower. Visitors are welcome to climb the seemingly endless ramps to the top of the Giralda to enjoy its spectacular views of the city. It’s quite a bit of exercise, but the views are definitely worth it once you reach the top.

The Tomb of Christopher Columbus

One of the cathedral’s most popular attractions is the tomb of Christopher Columbus, the famous explorer who was sent by the Spanish Catholic Monarchs to explore the New World in the late 1400s. For decades there were disputes as to whether or not the remains in the tomb actually belonged to Columbus or not, but recent DNA analysis has finally put the matter to rest, confirming that it truly is him.

Capilla Real

The Capilla Real, or Royal Chapel, contains the remains of several Castilian kings. One of the most famous kings is Alfonso X of Castile (Wikipedia Article), who was known as “Alfonso the Wise” due to his focus on intellectual development during his reign, as well as for his encouragement of the use of Spanish language. Other royalty entombed in the Capilla Real include Peter the Cruel and Ferdinand III of Castile.

Another popular feature of the Capilla Real is the Virgen de los Reyes, a depiction of Mary that is the patron saint of the city. This beautiful religious icon was created in France as a gift from King Louis IX (Wikipedia Article) of France to his cousin, Ferdinand III of Castile. Each year in August, it is removed from the church for a day of processions and celebrations.

Patio de los Naranjos

The Patio de los Naranjos is a beautiful courtyard filled with sweet-smelling orange trees that was originally part of the mosque that once resided on the site. You won’t want to miss your chance to wander through this beautiful courtyard and take photos of La Giralda through the orange trees.

Trivia

In addition to being the world’s largest cathedral, Seville Cathedral is also the third-largest church in the world. The top spot goes to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, followed by the Basilica of the National Shrine of our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil. Prior to its completion in the early 16th century, the largest cathedral in the world was the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
The Cathedral has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. It was recognized with two nearby monuments: the Alcázar of Seville and the General Archive of the Indies.

Practical Information

Here’s everything you need to know in order to plan your visit to Seville Cathedral.

How to Get There

Address: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Seville, Spain

The easiest way to get to Seville Cathedral is on foot, since the historic city center surrounding the building is completely pedestrianized.

Hours

The Cathedral is open daily from 11:00AM until 17:00PM, excluding Sundays when hours are reduced to 14:30AM to 18:00PM due to the celebration of masses. However, it is advisable to check their official website before visiting as hours often change due to religious celebrations.

Prices

Admission to the cathedral for cultural visits costs approximately €9 per person, with discounted prices for students and seniors. Children 14 and under accompanied by an adult receive free admission.

Similar Landmarks

Spain is home to many impressive Gothic cathedrals, including Toledo Cathedral, Ávila Cathedral, Burgos Cathedral, and León Cathedral.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Mar 05, 2015

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