Seville Cathedral – A Brief History of Seville Cathedral

History of the Cathedral of Seville

Seville Cathedral summary about his story

Dominating the centre of Seville like a fortress, the enormous Gothic Cathedral of Seville invite to you discover Seville.

It is the ONE MOST BIGGEST temple OF THE WORLD after St. Peter’s Basilica inside the Vatican in Rome, and St. Paul’s in London.

“Let us build a church so beautiful and grand that those who see it finished will take us for mad” – According to tradition, this is what was said by the members of the cathedral chapter upon the beginning stages of construction.

Renowned as the largest Gothic church in the world and third-largest church in the world, the size and grandeur may arguably stand as the most striking aspect of this extraordinary monument, rich in history and culture.

Seville experienced many developments and had become an important trading centre in the years following the 1248 Reconquista, in which King Ferdinand III conquered the Moorish city of Seville.

Build to demonstrate the cities wealth and the triumph of the Catholic faith, The Cathedral growing over and replacing the original Almohad mosque built in the late 12th Century.

The Cathedral’s construction lasted for over a Century from 1401 to 1506 with many architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers and so on contributing.

Although construction completed in 1506, the Cathedral only enjoyed a relatively short time until work had to recommence. Five years following its completion in 1511, the cimborrio (the crossing lantern) collapsed, and work on the Cathedral was again picked up.

Later in 1888, a colossal earthquake greatly impacted the city leading to another collapse in the cimborrio, with work on the dome continuing until at least 1903.

In the current day, however, the Cathedral remains one of the most prominent symbols of the city. The UNESCO recognizes it as a World Heritage Site un 1987 proclaimed a UNESCO Community Heritage Web site.

Its bell tower, sign in the town, is the Giralda, known as following the weather conditions vane or Giraldillo that crowns it.

This outstanding respect to Catholic domination erected on the website of what was once the city’s mosque.

When it finished in 1507, a relevant fact, it´s also to remember the reputation and Seville’s wealth. Additionally, to anchor in the mindset of all the overthrow of the Moorish kings by Christianity.

The Urban Authorities (the university of priests voted by the Apostolic See) has become the agent, in the course of seven generations of their abundant background and wants to continue being so using a more modern-day and careful interest and organization.

For this finish, it maintains the every day Liturgy as well as the festivity from the great activities of Corpus Christi as well as the Immaculate Conceiving, entirely attends towards the devotion for the Virgin in the Kings, and carries out a considerable sacramental pastoral job, like the very first chapel inside the Diocese of Seville.

Giralda Cathedral Of Seville Frpm Street

The Cathedral of Seville is a distinctive monument with five naves, handed out using a marked Muslim orientation, experiencing eastern.

Probably the most controversial component of it is that it does not have a head inside the usual Gothic perception employing an apse without a transform since its ground plan is a perfect rectangle that corresponds using that from the Alhama, that additionally, it inherited the unique set up of the doors.

Concerning the wall space, it must be said that they have little fullness.

On the other hand, the chapels are segregated by stirrups perpendicular to the central axis of the temple, finishing in 28 attached pillars that, with another 32 exempted, form just one item in the end. Sunlight is limited since the home windows are small and help stunning discolored glass windows.

The Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede is well known on the planet for GIRALDA.

Giralda, despite its self-reliance, may serve as the tower and bell tower in the Cathedral of Seville. Regarded a Planet History Web site because 1987, it is not only identified by its place and historical past but besides by its design characteristics, its work within the centuries as well as its relevance within the old town. Its square base is 7.12 meters above sea level, having an area of lower than 14 meters (exactly 13m61) as well as the size of 104.06 meters. It had been erected at its base in the image and likeness in the minaret of the Kutubia Mosque in Marrakech (Morocco). At the same time, the dome and the bell tower are of the European Renaissance beginning.

Its main nave. The imposing main nave properties two emblematic structures: the choir, guarded by significant organs, and the four-story Higher Chapel, which properties the main altarpiece. Among them are three annexed places: the nave of San Fernando Rey, the transept (whose vaults are the maximum within the whole region), and the Trascoro.

All these three locations correspond to the three hierarchies of the middle age city: the royal Cathedral or pantheon of kings, the ecclesiastical Cathedral or portion reserved for the Archbishop and also the Town Hall, and also the famous Cathedral, situated for the western.

Its Royal Chapel will be the brain of the Cathedral. It is an original framework because it is a kind of Renaissance apse located in the spot in which a sizeable ogival ambulatory, typical in the Gothic, was expected.

Within this chapel is found the pantheon of King San Fernando along with his child and Alfonso, along with the tombs of a few members of the royal family of the time. We also see in it the Gothic physique of Santa María de Los Reyes, patron saint in the archdiocese of Seville.

Its Outdoor Patio de Los Naranjos. It is part of the excellent mosque built from the Emir al Muminin Abu Yaqub in May 172, as well as its author was the Sevillian architect Ahmad b. Baso, who produced other essential buildings in Gibraltar, Cordoba, and Seville by itself. The job was disturbed several times and was not finished until 10 May 198, underneath the course from the architect Ali al Gomari.

From the original courtyard, two parallel naves remain on the eastern area which, together with the nave that remains in the north part, were built by the Castilians as funeral service chapels from November 1248, when the town passed within their fingers apart was soon destined for that local library, etc. the symmetrical component is entertained from the Sagrario parish. The existing business from the courtroom was created and constructed from the architect Felix Hernandez Gimenez within the third quarter of the 20th century.

His well known and most well-known ‘treasures.’ Additionally, it is well worth bringing up the treasures from the temple along with a significant amount of works of art by Murillo, such as the portraits of San Isidoro or San Leandro paintings, including Santa Teresa by Zurbarán and the sculpted brain of San Juan Bautista.

In the proper arm in the Cathedral’s transept will be the tomb of Christopher Columbus, a mausoleum that was the job of Arturo Mélida. Here sleep the stays in the famous discoverer of America.

Patio Naranjos Catedral De Sevilla


In the northeastern corner of the Cathedral stands the Giralda Bell Tower, reaching the impressive height of 104.1 metres and featuring 35 inclining ramps leading to a truly remarkable view of the city.

Originally constructed as a minaret of the Almohad Mosque of Seville, it was later converted to the bell tower that stands today following Ferdinand III’s conquest of the city.

This grand and decorative structure symbolises the triumph of the Catholic faith in Seville, existing as one of the three remaining minarets in the world.

The addition of a Renaissance-style top was subsequently added by the Catholics, and at the very top stands El Giraldillo – a 5 meter bronze statue of a female figure bearing the cross, symbolically expressing the Catholic faith.

This sensational sculpture also acts as a weather vane, and the name Giralda essentially means “she who turns”, deriving from the Spanish words “girar” and “giraldillo”.

The combination of Gothic and Baroque architecture styles add to its monumental beauty, and is widely renowned as one of the most significant symbols of the city.

Acting as a source of inspiration in its design, many churches within Seville, known as Giraldilla, reflect a striking resemblance to the grand Giralda.


Seville’s Cathedral has a grand total of 15 doors, each one featuring a unique and beautiful design or carving to relate back to the triumph of the Catholic faith.

Located towards the west facade and built in the 15th Century, The Door of Baptism is highly in tune with the Gothic style of the cathedral in using the architectural technique of tracery.

Created by the workshop of Lorenzo Mercadante of Britain, the door depicts a dramatic scene showing the baptism of Christ.

The Spanish sculptor Pedro Millán also contributed, with his carvings of angels and prophets further enriching the scene.

The Door of Assumption located in the centre of the west facade is another well preserved and impressive entrance serving as the main door.

Constructed between 1877 and 1898 by Ricardo Bellver, the artist deploys beautiful and intricate carvings to create an image of the assumption of Mary into heaven.

The Door of Saint Michael is another not to be missed, decorated with terracotta sculptures and used for the famous Holy Week processions.

On the north facade, there are many doors surrounding the Patio de los Naranjos (Court of the Oranges), all richly decorated and well preserved.

These include The Door of the Conception, The Door of the Lizard, and The Door of Forgiveness.

Located on the east, you will find such luxurious designs such as The Door of the Bells, creating an image of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. 

Along with the awe-inspiring sensation these grand designs provoke, they are also exquisite additions to the cathedral, deeply rich in history, religion, and culture.


Inside of the Cathedral, you will find 80 beautifully designed and lavishly decorated chapels, each seemingly large and tall enough to contain any ordinary church.

The central nave of the cathedral rises to an impressive 42 metres, and holds the title of the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain.

Within these 80 chapels, it was reported that 500 masses were held daily in 1896.

As well as the main chapels, many of the cathedral’s side chapels contain an abundance of impressive artworks, beautiful attention to detail, and stunning altarpieces to be viewed.

Located towards the right of the Puerta Mayor, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s ‘Guardian

Angel’, a beautiful canvas painting dated back to around 1665 is displayed. Murillo was widely celebrated in Seville for his religious Baroque paintings, and his legacy carries on through the cathedral of Seville.

One of these is ‘The Baptism of Christ’, a detailed oil canvas painting dating back to 1655. The master of his brushwork, reticent colouring and delicate faces are some of the most notable elements of this famous artwork.

In the baptistery Chapel of Saint Anthony, two of Murillo’s most famous works can be found. ‘The Vision of St. Anthony of Padua’, a 1656 painting is displayed.

Many consider this sizeable painting to be Murillo’s masterpiece, gaining much fame and infamy since it’s commision.

In 1874, thieves cut out the figure of the kneeling Saint Anthony from the canvas, only for it to later turn up in a New York art gallery several months later.

The curator Then purchased it for the price of $250, and it was rapidly returned to Seville.


Located in the northeast corner of the cathedral is the extraordinary and lavish Capilla Real (Royal Chapel), built between 1551 and 1575 to house the royal tombs.

Designed by the architect Martín de Gainza, the Renaissance-style interior marks a clear contrast to the rest of the mostly Gothic cathedral, attributing the church to a unique fusion of styles.

The Royal Chapel has many stunning elements to it, expressing an impressive attention to detail as well as clear senses of grandeur and wealth.

An 18th Century grille surrounds the chapel, and the semicircular room features two alters: one displaying a silver shrine with the relics of Saint Ferdinand, and the other presenting a 13th Century figure of the Virgen de los Reyes, the Patron Saint of Seville. The tombs of Pedro the Cruel and his wife María de Padilla also reside here, located just beside the altar.

Vicente Menardo’s two stained glass windows greatly contribute to the remarkable lighting of the enclosure, although these have undergone numerous restorations since their creation in 1574.

Another compelling feature is the twelve carved figures representing the Kings of the Old Testament, crafted with expert detail and precision.


The magnificent Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel) can be located just beyond the choir area of the main transpet, featuring an enormous vaulted ceiling reaching to the towering height of 36 meters.

The main detail of this chapel is, however, the vast Gothic retablo (altar piece), comprised of 45 precisely carved scenes from the life of Christ and Santa Maria de la


This extraordinary masterpiece was the life’s work of a single craftsmen, Fleming Pieter Dancart.

Designed by Dancart, the altar was made between 1482 and 1564 by only the best sculptors of the time.

The wood is enriched with a truly astonishing amount of gold, making it not only the largest but also the richest altarpiece in the world.

Accessible through an antechamber leading to the Capilla Mayor is an extraordinary Plateresque-style sacrisity.

This acts as the treasury and holds an abundance of historic and sacred art among other treasures.

Montañés’ famous wood carving of Christ on the cross is displayed here, as well as celebrated paintings by Spanish artists such as Francisco de Goya, Luis de Morales, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and Francisco de Zurbarán.

The sacrisity also contains a smaller chamber filled with further religious art objects, including Pieter de Kempeneer’s crucifix and large candelabrum.

Notably, the 13th Century Key of Seville that was presented to Fernando by the Moorish and Jewish communities upon surrendering the city are on display here, as well as the stunning gem-adorned crown of the Virgen de los Reyes.


Designed as later additions during the sixteenth century, a series of Renaissance-style chapter rooms can be found inside of the Cathedral holding many of the church’s most precious artworks and treasures.

The Sacristía Mayor (Main Sacristy) is among these, located to the right of Columbus’ tomb upon entrance to the Cathedral. Diego de Riaño began design of these up until his death in 1534, at which point his disciple Martín de Gainza took over, completing the set in 1543.

The entrance to The Sacristía Mayor was constructed between 1547 and 1549, presenting a grand arch notable for its precise and intricate carvings of varied food and dishes.

The Greek-cross plan shape of the room, the carved columns and the impressive dome – all designed in a plateresque style – collectively create a highly immersive and extraordinarily detailed setting.

With an architectural design deeply reflective of the sixteenth century, The Sacristía Mayor and the other chapter rooms emphasise clear characteristics of RENAISSANCES STYLES

One of the most notable features of The Sacristía Mayor is the overwhelming collection of art and sculptures. Pedro de Campaña’s 1547 El descendimiento (Descent from the Cross) is displayed above the central altar at the southern end of the room, depicting a dramatic scene built on religious realism.

Francisco de Zurbarán’s Santa Teresa, dated around 1650, can also be found to the right of Campaña’s masterpiece, together upheld has two of the cathedral’s most precious paintings.


Just inside of the Cathedral located to the right stands a grand monument and the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, the Sepulcro de Cristóbal Colón.

As the leading explorer and navigator in the discovery of America, Columbus left a significant mark on history and a highly famous legacy, with his tomb preserved right here in Seville.

Positioned in front of the Puerta del Príncipe (Door of the Prince), the tomb features four symbolic figures representing Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and Leon, the four kingdoms of Spain throughout Columbus’ life. The brilliance and grandeur of the Sepulcro de Cristóbal Colón is enriched with a precise attention to detail and several symbols to be studied and enjoyed.

The remains of Columbus were shipped around many times following his death, beginning in Valladolid Spain before travelling to Seville by orders of his brother, Diego.

Other destinations included Santo Domingo, in what is now known as the Dominican Republic, then to Havana, Cuba, before finally returning to Seville.

Although there is a level of controversy surrounding if the remains are in fact Columbus’, a 2006 DNA test strongly points towards the notion that he does indeed reside in the tomb presented here in the grand Cathedral of Seville.

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Located beside the entrance to The Courtyard of the Oranges, El Lagarto – the large, stuffed crocodile hanging from the ceilings is viewable.

This gives its name to ‘The Gate of the Lizard’, which despite its size and location, is a surprisingly easy site to miss unless looking out for it.

Although one of the more unusual sites the Cathedral has to offer, the wooden crocodile comes complete with an ancient tale on how exactly it ended up in Seville’s cathedral. It is said that around the years of 1260, the Sultan of Egypt gifted King Alfonso X of Spain with many exotic animals in the hopes to win his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Among these included a live crocodile, an elephant tusk of ivory white, and a domesticated giraffe, and although Alfonso had declined the betrothal, many of his exotic gifts remained in Seville.

One version of events states the crocodile lived for many years roaming the gardens of the Royal Alcázar, although another claims it rapidly languished in captivity and shortly died.

Following the animal’s death, it was stuffed and a wooden replica created by an unknown artist was sculpted to hang above the Patio de los Naranjos where it can still be viewed in present day, arousing great curiosity and wonder among visitors.

Some believe in a deeper meaning in the crocodile, linking the stuffed creature to the crocodile God of Ancient Egypt, Sobekh, and his great pharaonic power of of fertility, military prowess, and protection.

Some infer that the positioning of the crocodile over the entrance intends to keep a watchful eye over any evils, keeping such forces away and protecting the Holy cathedral.


The Patio de los Naranjos is an open and peaceful spot located in the cathedral precinct you will pass just before leaving, also accessible from Alemanes Street.

The landscaped courtyard is planted with 66 orange trees, and includes a small Visigothic fountain in the centre.

Moreover than providing shade from the hot summer days, this open space is steeped in history dating as far back to the twelfth century.

As part of the original Almohad mosque, worshippers would gather in the courtyard, using the fountains to wash their hands and feet beneath the orange trees before their five daily prayer sessions.

The grand entrance known as the Puerta del Perdón (Gate of Forgiveness) was the original point of access to the mosque, although from 1407 it became the entry for evildoers who accepted protection from the church once they had repented for their sins.

Figures such as the archangel Gabriel, Saint Peter, Saint Paul and the Annunciated Virgin are visible upon entry, and the door itself is constructed from two large sheets of cedar wood covered with bronze veneers that include inscriptions taken from the Quran, reflecting elements from both the Catholic and Muslim religions.

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