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Seville Cathedral Facts: Interesting Facts About A Gothic Mosque Turned Cathedral

Built on the site of the former Almohad Mosque, Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic church in the world. A unique Seville cathedral fact is that it took around a century to complete the cathedral. A tribute to the dominance of Catholics over the defeated Moorish kings, Cathedral de Seville is also the largest cathedral in the world. Famous for its fascinating history, the cathedral has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and it has served as a burial ground for many famous figures, including Christopher Columbus and Ferdinando III of Castile.

10 interesting Seville Cathedral facts

Seville Cathedral History & Facts

Former Almohad Mosque

The site at which the Seville Cathedral was built also served as the former Almohad Mosque. After the conversion of the mosque into a cathedral, several alterations were made in the structure while features like Giralda and Patio de Naranjas being included in the cathedral's architecture.

Seville Cathedral Facts

Girlada's Design Inspiration

La Giralda, the Seville Cathedral bell tower, is the crowning glory of this attraction. It originally served as the minaret of the Almohad Mosque. It has a height of 105 m (343 ft) and its square base is 7.0 m (23 ft). Interestingly, it was built with Morocco's Koutoubia Mosque in mind, which is why there are certain similarities.

Seville Cathedral Facts

Restoration of the Main Dome

Over the years, the main dome collapsed twice, once in 1511 and again in 1888, but both times it was restored to its former glory. The cathedral was subjected to several refurbishments and extensions in different architectural styles, including Renaissance, Neo-gothic, Baroque, and more, becoming a unique architectural wonder.

Seville Cathedral Facts

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Seville Cathedral was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Alcazar Seville and Archivo General de Indias in 1987. Along with being a former mosque that has been converted into a cathedral, it is an important landmark in the city and is also a burial site for several historic figures.

Seville Cathedral History & Facts

Largest Gothic Church

Upon its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral surpassed Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to become the largest cathedral in the world. It is also the largest Gothic church and the fourth-largest church in the world.

  • Total Area of Cathedral: 11,520 square meters
  • Length: 135 meters
  • Width: 76 meters
  • Maximum Height in Transept: 42 meters
  • Clock Tower Height: 104.5 meters

Chapels & Tombs

Seville Cathedral is home to 80 different chapels including Capilla Real, or the Royal Chapel. According to the official reports, a total of 500 masses were conducted daily in all the chapels in the 19th century. Many famous people have been buried in a few of the chapels including:

  • Fernando III of Castile
  • Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen
  • Alfonso X of Castile
  • Christopher Columbus & Ferdinand Columbus
  • María Díaz de Padilla
Seville Cathedral History & Facts

Gothic Mosque

One of the most interesting Seville cathedral facts is that the original building on the site was a mosque built by Moors in the 12th century. It was being built to replace the earlier mosque, as the congregation had grown and couldn’t accommodate everyone in its modest prayer halls. The construction of the mosque was complete by 1176, except for the minaret. In 1248, the mosque was converted into a Christian church, build a new cathedral alongside the converted mosque.

  • Commissioned: 1171
  • Completed: 1198
Seville Cathedral History & Facts

La Giralda

Seville Cathedral Bell Tower, La Giralda, is the best part of this cathedral. Another interesting tidbit is that this bell tower was originally built as a minaret of Almohad Mosque between 1184 and 1198. After Reconquista, it was converted into a bell tower with a Renaissance-style top. In the 16th century, the statue called El Giraldillo was added to represent faith in Christianity. The tower is 104.5 meters tall and is one of the most important symbols of Seville since medieval times.

  • Height & Length: 104.5 meters, 13 meters
  • Square base: 7 meters above sea level
Seville Cathedral History & Facts

Legends

According to local tradition, the cathedral members said ‘Hagamos una Iglesia tan hermosa y tan grandiosa que los que la vieren labrada nos tengan por locos’, which meant was to build a church that is so beautiful and majestic so that anyone who sees it after completion will think cathedral members to be mad. The original entry from 8th July 1401, also included ‘una tal y tan buena, que no haya otra su igual’ which translated to ‘a building so good that none can be its equal’.

Seville Cathedral History & Facts

Architecture

Seville Cathedral's architecture is both beautiful and grand. It has 4 huge façades that combine to form 15 majestic doors. Since the cathedral was built in a Gothic architectural style, all the doors are beautifully ornamented. The decorations displayed different scenes from the life of Jesus. The major doors are Door of Baptism, Assumption, Saint Michael, Saint Cristopher, Sticks, Bells, Conception, Lizard, Sanctuary, Forgiveness, Prince, Saint Miguel and Palos.




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Frequently asked questions about Seville Cathedral facts

When was Seville Cathedral built?

Seville Cathedral was built between 1401-1506 on the site of a former mosque. Check out the Seville Cathedral history page for more information.

What was originally there at the site of Seville Cathedral?

Originally, Almohad mosque was present at the site of Seville Cathedral.

How is Almohad mosque related to the history of Seville Cathedral?

According to Seville Cathedral's history, it was constructed on the site of Almohad Mosque. The mosque was built in the 12th century by the Moors who had conquered the Iberian peninsula. When the Catholic Kings of Spain reclaimed Seville, the mosque was destroyed in 1406 to build the famous Seville Cathedral.

Where is Seville Cathedral located?

Seville Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral located in Seville, Andalusia, Spain.

Why is Seville Cathedral so famous?

Seville Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world, built to showcase the power and wealth of the city. The cathedral was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Is Seville Cathedral worth visiting?

Yes, Seville Cathedral is the largest cathedral in the world and the 4th largest church, and the largest Gothic church in the world. It is also the burial ground for many prominent figures such as Christopher Columbus, Ferdinando III of Castile, and more.

Who is buried in the cathedral in Seville Spain?

Several figures are buried in the Cathedral de Seville including Christopher Columbus and his son Ferdinand Columbus, Fernando III of Castile, Maria Diaz de Padilla, Alfonso X of Castile, Pedro I of Castile, and more.

When was the construction of the Seville Cathedral completed?

It took almost a century for the completion of Seville Cathedral and it was inaugurated on 6th October 1506.

What is the bell tower of Seville Cathedral called?

The bell tower of Cathedral de Seville was originally the minaret of Almohad Mosque. After the construction of the cathedral, this bell tower was called 'Giralda'.

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

Of the Great Almohad Mosque, the Sevilla Cathedral features the minaret-converted-bell tower named Giralda which is one of the main attractions of the cathedral. Apart from that, the Patio de los Naranjos or the Patio of the Orange Trees, the Moorish gate, and Puerta del Pardon were also originally a part of the mosque.