Seville Cathedral: World's Largest Gothic Church & UNESCO World Heritage Site

Explore the fusion of Moorish and Christian architecture at Seville Cathedral and Giralda, where the cathedral's sprawling nave and art-laden chapels meet the iconic Giralda bell tower, originally a minaret, offering a unique climb to breathtaking...

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Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral globally, boasts a unique square floor plan, adapted from the city's former mosque.

La Giralda, the cathedral's bell tower, features ramps, not steps, and has inspired replicas worldwide, including in Kansas City and L'Arboç del Penedés.

Seville Cathedral houses a renowned art gallery, featuring masterpieces by Murillo, Velázquez, Goya, and Zurbarán, including the largest altarpiece in Christendom.

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Seville Cathedral and Giralda Skip-the-Line Tickets
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Combo: Alcazar of Seville + Seville Cathedral and Giralda Skip-the-Line Tickets
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Alcazar of Seville and Seville Cathedral & Giralda Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
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Seville Cathedral and Giralda Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
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Why is Seville Cathedral famous?

Seville Cathedral is a complex and stunning religious structure that absolutely deserves all the attention it gets. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world, and also the fourth largest church, with its interiors boasting Spain's largest nave. The cathedral is a stunning blend of two distinct architectural styles, incorporating much of the original mosque's structure, including the iconic bell tower, La Giralda. Seville Cathedral now stands as a well-known symbol in the city and is a major attraction in Spain.

Who built Seville Cathedral?

About Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral was built by converting a mosque that was originally built on the site. The Almohad caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf ordered the construction of the Almohad mosque in 1172, after which it saw several additions and expansion works. With the conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III, the mosque was converted into a catholic church in 1248.

Later, in 1401, the gothic expansion of Seville Cathedral was set in motion, with the idea of "Hagamos una Iglesia tan hermosa y tan grandiosa que los que la vieren labrada nos tengan por locos", which loosely translates to "Let us build a church so beautiful and so grand that those who see it finished will take us for mad". Major architects associated with these constructions were Enrique de Egas (initial stages), Juan Gil de Hontañón (1517-1526) and Juan de Castillo (completed the main facade in 1564). Several architects and designers also contributed over centuries, adding chapels, decorations, and other elements.

What to see at Seville Cathedral

About Seville Cathedral

History of Seville Cathedral 

1248 - Seville was conquered by Fernando III of Castile and plans to build Seville Cathedral are made.

1356 - An earthquake severely damaged the mosque and influenced the cathedral's layout and construction.

1402 - 1506 - The cathedral was constructed where Almohad Mosque stood.

1511 - Seville Cathedral's dome collapsed but was quickly repaired.

1564 - Seville Cathedral's Capilla Mayor, or Main Chapel, was built and remains the largest altar worldwide. The main facade is also completed.

1987 - UNESCO declared Seville Cathedral a World Heritage Site, thanks to its history and invaluable architectural features.

Design & architecture of Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral is known for housing the longest nave among all the cathedrals of Spain. It has a vast interior extending over 135 meters in length, 100 meters in width, and a height of 40 meters, and a spire soaring up to 105 meters. Even with such an extensive structure, Seville Cathedral’s five-aisled interior, decorated with 75 stained-glass windows from the 16th to the 19th centuries, is considered an architectural wonder for its beauty and sense of harmony.

About Seville Cathedral

La Giralda

It previously served as the minaret of the original mosque that stood at the site, resembling the Koutoubia Mosque minaret of Morocco. Later, after the conversion of the mosque into the cathedral, the minaret was repurposed into a bell tower with a height of 105m.

About Seville Cathedral

Capilla Mayor

The main chapel showcases a wood carving, with 30-meter by 20-meter dimensions, incorporating elements of Gothic, Renaissance and Flemish art. It includes over 44 reliefs and 200 figures of saints. The structure is gilded with real gold, polychromy and precious stones and stands as testimony to the rich heritage of the cathedral.

About Seville Cathedral Tomb of Christopher Columbus

Tomb of Christopher Columbus

The tomb of Christopher Columbus was brought to the Seville Cathedral from the Cathedral of Havana in Cuba after the Spanish-American War. The tomb is held aloft by four figures representing the kingdoms of Castile, León, Aragon, and Navarre, which united during Columbus' lifetime to form the foundation of modern Spain.

Seville Cathedral myths & legends

  • The tomb of Christopher Columbus supposedly contains the remains of the famous explorer, but there is an ongoing debate if the bones are actually his. Although DNA testing was done in 2006, it wasn’t enough to end the debate because of a lack of proof and evidence.
  • There is a life-size alligator hung from the ceiling of Patio de los Naranjos or Orange Tree Patio in the Seville Cathedral. It is said that it is a wooden replica of the crocodile that was gifted by the Sultan of Egypt to Alfonso X of Castile. 
  • It is said that while the sculptor Francisco Ruiz de Gijón was working on a sculpture of Christ when he witnessed a gruesome act of murder. The incident had supposedly inspired him to capture the expression of pain and suffering in his sculpture. 

Frequently asked questions about Seville Cathedral

What is Seville Cathedral?

Once known as the Almohad mosque, Seville Cathedral was converted into a Roman Catholic church in 1248 when Ferdinand III of Castile captured Seville.

Why is the Seville Cathedral so famous?

Seville Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that happens to be the largest gothic cathedral and the fourth largest church in the world.

Where is Seville Cathedral located?

Seville Cathedral is located in the city of Seville, the southern Spanish province of Andalusia in Spain. 

Who built the Seville Cathedral?

Seville Cathedral was a mosque, built by the Almohad caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf, that was converted into a catholic church in 1248 with the conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III.

Why is Seville Cathedral important?

Apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest gothic cathedral, and the fourth largest church in the world, the Seville Cathedral is a complex structure that reflects on the turbulent history and the changes in political power on the land of Seville, Spain. 

Is Seville Cathedral worth visiting?

Yes, Seville Cathedral is worth visiting, with its beautiful architecture and rich historical and cultural connections. 

Who is buried in the cathedral in Seville Spain?

Several important figures like Christopher Columbus and his son, Fernando III of Castile, Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen, Alfonso X of Castile, Pedro I of Castile & María Díaz de Padilla are buried in Seville Cathedral.

What are the unique features of Seville Cathedral?

La Giralda, Capilla Mayor or the Great Chapel, Royal Capel, Chapter House, and the Tomb of Christopher Columbus are some of Seville Cathedral’s interesting and unique features that make it worth visiting.

When was Seville Cathedral built?

Seville Cathedral was built on a site where the Almohad mosque originally stood until it was converted into a cathedral in 1248. The construction of Seville Cathedral began in 1401. You can find more information on the history and facts page of Seville Cathedral.

Which elements from the mosque are still present in the Seville Cathedral?

Some of the original structures from the mosque were retained and preserved while building the cathedral, including the bell tower, La Giralda and Patio de los Naranjos.

What is known as Giralda in Seville Cathedral?

The bell tower of the Seville Cathedral, which previously served as the minaret to the former mosque is called La Giralda.

What is the other name of Seville Cathedral?

Seville Cathedral is also called the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See.

When was the construction of the Seville Cathedral completed?

Seville Cathedral was completed in the year 1528.

When was Seville Cathedral converted into a cathedral from a mosque?

In 1248, Seville Cathedral was converted into a cathedral from a mosque following the conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III.