This huge Cathedral was built in the site of a mosque and is one of the largest in the world.
It is built in a combination of gothic and renaissance styles.
One of the main drawcards is the tomb of the great sailor, Christopher Columbus.
During the Moorish occupation, the Arabs built their main mosque on the grounds where a church was placed. After the reconquest made by Ferdinand III, the Christians built this cathedral on the mosque place, but respecting some parts of this building.
The Oranges Courtyard is one of this parts remaining from the Ben Basso's mosque. It was built in the 12th century by the Almohad. Like in all the mosques it was used as anteroom for the mandatory muslim ablutions before entering the praying room.
Currently we join the courtyard by the Gate of Forgiveness where there are some Catholic images. It is said that Saint Peter's one, on the right, has got three hands and if you find out all of them you'll get married!
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Built on the site of a former mosque, THE CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE simply was rebuilt by the people of Seville.
1184 to 1198 The main mosque was built including the minaret. Still visible today are the Patio de los Naranjos and the lower two-thirds of the minaret known today as the Giralda.
1248 to 1401 The mosque became a Christian Cathedral.
1434 to 1517 Gothic construction was carried out on the west side of the Cathedral, using stone.
1528 to 1601 Renaissance constructions included the Royal Chapel, the main Vestry and the Chapter Hall. Most noteworthy is the upper section of the Giralda Tower.
1618 to 1758 Baroque style construction were added including the Sanctuary Parish and two other chapels.
1825 to 1928 Last significant work on the Cathedral - three main portals and the southwest angle.
The Cathedral of Seville is gigantic. If you have been to Spain you are no stranger to seeing large Cathedrals with elaborate ornamentation. The Cathedral of Seville (Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede) is the largest Gothic church in the world and overall the third largest church in the world.
Before the Reconquista in 1248, what is now the Cathedral was the grand mosque. Today's belltower, the Giralda, was once the minaret for that mosque. The Cathedral itself was built in 1401 following a major earthquake that made the use of the existing structure too dangerous.
In some ways the Cathedral seems to have been snakebitten. Only a few years after completion of the structure, in 1506 the dome collapsed. Again it collapsed in 1888. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
All in all though, The Cathedral of Seville is an amazing place. The interiors are somewhat dark so your photos may not come out too well. You have to look up and see the ceiling and the designs, it really is quite amazing. Off to one side, you will see the remains of Christopher Columbus. What is imposing about this Cathedral is its architecture, its enormous. That being so you don't get the same play of the light on the stained glass windows that you would get in a smaller place (like St Vitus in Prague, for example). Still, you should bear in mind that from the very beginning, the intent was to build one of the largest churches in Christendom.
Definitely see it, it's superb!
This funeral monument keeps the remains of the discover Christopher Columbus. His grave is supported by four figures representing soldiers of the four former Spanish kingdoms (Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarre). It's placed at the left side of the High Altar and it will be the first sight you'll see if you enter for the tourist tour.
Some years ago the truthfulness of this fact has been proved by DNA exams. Finally we know that the real Columbus is in Seville and in the Dominican Republic too, so his body is in both continents!
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The most interesting of the Chapels are the GREAT CHAPEL and the ROYAL CHAPEL, where the image of the Virgin of the Monarchs is venerated. There are 25 other Chapels, among which is the CONCEPTION and the SAN HERMENEGILDO where we find the mortal remains of Cardinal Cervantes.
Inside the Cathedral there is also a Sarcophagus-Mausoleum, sculpted by Melida at the end of the XIX century, in which the "Ashes of Christopher Columbus" are conserved.
Among the many paintings we can find works by Murillo, Valdes Leal, Riviera, Herrera "The Elder", Juan B. de Nunez and many others.
At the right of the Main Altar you can see the Monstrance, where the Host is exposed to the faithful. It's a very big chapel depicting a giant Monstrance like the regular ones in any other Catholic church for adoration of the Host.
This main picture was taken after the Holy Thursday's Mass, while the Cardinal Amigo was about to put the Host there.
In the other pictures I display the other Monstrance, mainly the most famous one. It's the one for procession of the Holy Host during Corpus Christie day, made by the famous sculptor Juan de Arfe. This procession is very popular in Seville and we're one of the few cities to keep it during its traditional day, on Thursday, while the rest of the cities moved the Corpus Christie celebrations to the next Sunday.
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Located next door to La Giralda is Sevilla's famous cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the 3rd largest church in Europe after St. Paul's in London and St. Peter's in Rome. It is so hemmed in by the streets of Sevilla that it is difficult to appreciate it's full size in a single glance, but even the parts of it we saw from the square were very impressive. These views show the back-end of the Cathedral (at the 'top end' of it's cross-like layout when viewed from above) with its main chapel, the Capilla Mayor, located inside close to this domed area.
In addition to being an important place of worship for this new Christian country, the grandeur of the cathedral was meant to be a statement to show the world how powerful and rich the country had become. Statements like this don't come easily, in this case it took 104 years (1402-1506) to complete the work which was done in Gothic-style. However, an earthquake in 1511 collapsed the central dome, resulting in a decision to have it reconstructed in Renaissance style. I also liked the looks of those exterior stone 'flying buttresses' that provide stability for the main portions of the cathedral, with a glimpse of one of them in the 2nd photo!
Because Sue's sister had the Real Alcazar (located next-door) as our main objective for this part of our trip, we did not tour the inside of the Cathedral - but it is reported to be a wonder of the world with its extensive decorations in gold and hand carved wooden scenes from the Bible.
Inside the cathedral we can see beautiful works of art. In the High Altar is the greater altarpiece, considered one of the largest in the world with 27 metres high 18 metres wide. The altar is protected by an impressive golden fence.
To be honest what I don't really like about this Cathedral is the small space for people that can be housed in the main altar. In spite of been the largest Cathedral after Saint Peter, the room for people to attend the Holy Mass is so tiny because the Main Altar and the Chorus are so close.
The H.M. the King Juan Carlos's elder daughter, Infanta Elena, got married here in 1995.
The Gothic central vault above this part has 37 meters high. You can see in the second picture the back side of the choir and one of the organs.
Sundays and holidays 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00
Link to the next tip: The Cathedral's Monstrance
One of the biggest Cathedrals in the world is THE CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE. Actually it's the third largest Christian Cathedral after St. Peter's in the Vatican and St. Paul's in London. It was HUGE. I was just blown away at how enormous it was. Its total building surface is 23,500 square metres.
Its construction, in the Gothic style, was begun in 1402 and took more than a hundred years to build.
In the Cathedral are many great paintings, beautiful chapels, the stunning Treasure Room and a monument to Christopher Columbus.
Since its construction, the Cathedral of Seville holds the title of Magna Hispalensis, not only for being one of the greatest Gothic building to ever exist, but also for being one of the most colossal of Christendom. It went declared a national monument in 1928 and granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1987. It also has the Guinness Record of the biggest Catholic Cathedral in the world (after Saint Peter in the Vatican)
You can't miss the visit to our main spot in town, full of history and art, but mainly of devotion. Keep in mind that Seville keeps to be a traditional city, attached to its roots and Catholic religion is very popular among the citizens. During the Holy Week (Easter) the Cofradías (Brotherhoods) with a figure of Jesus Christ and the Holy Virgin pass thru the Cathedral during its expiatory parade from its temple.
Mondays 11:00 - 15:30 (16:30 - 18:00, free visit with audioguide booking by mail one week in advance)
Tuesdays to Saturdays 11:00 - 17:00
Sundays 14:30 - 18:00
Summer time (July and August)
Mondays 9:30 - 14:30 (15:30 - 17:00, free visit with audioguide booking by mail one week in advance)
Tuesdays to Saturdays 9:30 - 16:00
Sundays 14:30 - 18:00
Students and retired: 3€
Sevillians, unemployed, children and disabled: Free
Link to the next tip: Virgen de los Reyes chapel in the Cathedral
One of the most important part of the Cathedral for the locals are the one not open for tourism, but just for worship. For sure, you're welcome to enter if you are Catholic and want to have a moment of pray inside, but please don't be too obvious taking pictures in front of everybody.
This is the Royal Chapel, placed on the Cathedral's apse, housing the Virgen de los Reyes (Virgin of the Kings), a 13th century image and patroness of the city. The name of "Royal" come because there is also on this chapel the body of the King Ferdinand III in an urn of silverware. He was the conqueror of the city against the Arabs and its body is said to be incorrupt and he is Saint for the Catholic Church.
Weekdays 8:30, 10:00 (s), 12:00 (s), 12:30 (w), 17:00 (w)
Vespers 17:00 (w)
Sundays and holidays 8:30, 10:00 (s), 17:00 (w), 18:00 (w)
Link to the next tip: Main Altar in the Cathedral
In the museum THE CATHEDRAL'S TREASURES are exhibited, the most interesting of which are a tabernacle by ARFE, a Clemency Christ by MARTINEZ MONTANEZ, the sword of SAN FERNANDO, some ALFONSINA tablets, a reliquary altar, a carved wooden cross and an infinity of other priceless pieces.
The cathedral of Sevilla is the largest gothic building in the world. When entering the cathedral, you will definitely be impressed by the size of everything. Although, because of the fact that you cannot see everything in at a single glance, the building is even bigger than you expect. At the back you will find a closed garden with orange trees, which is a great place for a rest after your visit.
The great Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Sede de Sevilla is the largest gothic cathedral in Europe. The construction began in 1401 and ended in 1506. The Almohad mosque that had been used as a church since 1248 was demolished, but the Almohad tower, the Giralda, was preserved.
The cathedral is the third largest church in the Christian world, after Saint Peter in Rome and Saint Paul in London, thus the second largest of the Catholic churches. When it was built, it was the largest cathedral, supplanting Saint Sophia in Istanbul, which had held the title for more than ten centuries.
Its first architect could be Charles Galter of Rouen and the design is influenced by French models. The seven naves, its high altitude (44 meters on the nave) and its nearly 100 windows are impressive. It is a building stepped outwardly supported in many buttresses topped by pinnacles.
The choir occupies the central portion of the nave. In front of it, there is a vast Gothic altarpiece of carved scenes from the life of Christ.
The Iglesia del Sagrario (Tabernacle church) is a temple integrated in the cathedral, on the left side. The Chapterhouse, the Main Sacristy or the Sacristy of Chalices keep some pieces of art worth to be seen. There are paintings of Murillo and Zurbarán, as well as works of gold and silver religious objects, reliquaries, and a magnificent Monstrance by Juan de Arfe.
The Tablas Alfonsíes are also kept in the cathedral: a book which contains a series of astronomic tables that provided data for computing the position of the Sun, Moon and planets relative to the fixed stars. They were prepared in Toledo around 1252 to 1270, based on observations by Islamic astronomers and on earlier astronomical works preserved by Islamic scholars. Alfonso X the Wise, son of Fernando III, ordered the elaboration of these tables.
The Seville Cathedral is the burial site of Chistopher Columbus, the famous navigator who discovered America in 1492, sponsored by the Spanish Catholic Monarchs. His mausoleum is on the right side of the crossing. The mausoleum is made in bronze and it represents Columbus’ coffin borne by heralds of the four kingdoms that constituted Spain: Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarre.
The remains of King Fernando III de Castilla (1199-1252) are in the Royal Chapel, in a silver coffin at the foot of the image of Virgen de los Reyes. Seville was conquered under the rule of Fernando III in 1248. In 1671 and the king was canonized by Pope Clement X, known from then on as San Fernando or Fernando III el Santo.
The west façade there are three porticoes: Portada del Bautismo, Portada de la Asunción and Portada de San Miguel o del Nacimiento. On the south façade is the Puerta de San Cristóbal o del Príncipe. In the north façade, Puerta del Perdón (Portico of Forgiveness) gives access to the Patio de los Naranjos. Puerta de la Concepción (Portico of Conception) and Puerta del Lagarto connect this patio with the nave. There are two porticoes on the east façade: Puerta de Campanillas and Puerta de Palos.
The Patio de los Naranjos and Giralda are the only remains of the old Mosque.
Opening hours: daily from 11:00 to 17:00 hours.
Sundays from 14:30 to 18:00 hours.
Entrance fee: 7,50 €.