Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral

Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

State Party = ESP
Type = Cultural
Criteria = i, ii, iii, vi
ID = 383
Region = Europe and North America
Year = 1987
Session = 11th
Link =
The Cathedral of Seville, also known as "Catedral de Santa María de la Sede" (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See) is the Cathedral of the city of Seville in Andalusia. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the fourth largest Christian church in the world.


Construction of the cathedral began in 1402 and continued into the 16th century. It is the largest of all Roman Catholic cathedrals (Saint Peter's Basilica not being a cathedral) and also the largest Medieval Gothic religious building, in terms of both area and volume. It is 76 by 115 meters, and was built to cover the land previously occupied by the Almohad Mosque. Its central nave rises to a height of 42 metres and even the side chapels seem tall enough to contain an ordinary church. Its main altarpiece is considered the largest in the Christian world.

The interior, with the longest nave in Spain, is lavishly decorated, with a large quantity of gold evident. In the main body of the cathedral only the great boxlike structure of the choir stands out, filling the central portion of the nave. This opens onto the "Capilla Mayor", dominated by a vast Gothic retablo of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ. The lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart, this is the ultimate masterpiece of the cathedral - the largest and richest altarpiece in the world and one of the finest examples of Gothic woodcarving anywhere.

The Cathedral also has a large collection of religious jewelry items, paintings and sculptures, along with the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

The builders reused some columns and elements from the mosque, and most famously the Giralda, originally a minaret, was converted into a bell tower. It is topped with a statue representing Faith. The Giralda is the city's most famous symbol.

This cathedral was built to demonstrate Seville's wealth, as it had become a major trading center in the years after the Reconquista.

During the planning of the cathedral's construction, a member of the chapter was recorded to have commented "we shall have a church [so great and] of such a kind that those who see it built will think we were mad."


* 1184 - La Giralda begun (Harvey 260)
* 1198 - Completion of Almohad Mosque (Montiel 12) (Harvey 260)
* 1248 - Conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III, mosque Christianized (Montiel 14)
* 1376 - Earthquake destroys minaret, replaced by bell gable (Montiel 12)
* 1401 - (8 July- Harvey 230) Decision made to replace former mosque (Montiel 15)
* 1402 - Nave begun- SW corner (Harvey 260)
* 1432 - Nave completed, east end started (Harvey 260)
* 1466 - Demolition of Royal Chapel authorized by Juan II (Montiel 15)
* 1467 - East end completed, vaults begun. Anchors added. (Harvey 260)
* 1475 - Stalls begun (Harvey 260)
* 1478 - Stalls completed (Harvey 260)
* 1481 - Doorways in high altar completed (Montiel 16)
* 1482 - Retablo Mayor begun (ALTARPIECE) (Harvey 260)
* 1498 - Vaults completed, lantern begun (Harvey 260)*
* 1506 - Main dome (lantern) completed (Montiel 16) (Harvey 260)
* 1511 - Lantern collapses, rebuilding begins (Montiel 16) (Harvey 260)
* 1515 - New choir vaults completed (Montiel 16)*
* 1517 - New transept vaults completed (Montiel 16)*
* 1519 - Lantern rebuilding completed (Harvey 260)
* 1526 - Retablo Mayor completed (Harvey 260)
* 1551 - Capilla Real begun (Harvey 260)
* 1558 - Belfry replaces bell gable (Montiel 12)
* 1568 - Giralda, top stages (Harvey 260)
* 1575 - Capilla Real completed (Harvey 260)
* 1888 - Main dome and vaults collapse (Montiel 16)



* References are to John Harvey's "The Cathedrals of Spain" and Luis Martinez Montiel's "The Cathedral of Seville"

External links

* [ Interactive 360° panorama from Plaza del Triunfo with Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo General de Indias (Java, highres, 0,9 MB)]

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