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Detailed History Of Seville Cathedral | Timeline, Events & More

Seville Cathedral's history is one of its main attractions. The church, the largest of its kind worldwide, was constructed over six centuries ago but has stood the test of time and continues to attract millions.

Seville Cathedral Timeline

1248 - The intention to build the Seville Cathedral was born after the city was conquered by Fernando III of Castile.

1402 - 1506 - The cathedral was constructed on the ground where Almohad Mosque stood until the earthquake in 1356. The project was funded by Seville's citizens.

1482 - 1564 - Seville Cathedral's Capilla Mayor, or Main Chapel, was built and remained the largest altar worldwide.

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

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




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Seville Cathedral History Explained

Giralda bell tower, Seville Cathedral

The idea is born

12th century

A great mosque stood where Seville Cathedral currently stands in the 12th century. It was completed in 1198 but lost its charm when King Ferdinand III took control of the city in the middle of the 13th century. The mosque was Christianised but later destroyed by an earthquake in 1356. Charles V elected to build a cathedral on top of where the great mosque stood, with Diego de Riaño ca. and Martín de Gainza designing the church. Fast forward to today, and the great mosque of Seville finds mention only in history books, except the famous Giralda bell tower, the Patio de Naranjas and the Puerta del Perdon.

Seville Cathedral Dome

Seville Cathedral takes shape

15th century

Seville Cathedral's plans were approved quickly, but the construction took over a century. Part of the reason was the committee's idea: they wanted a structure so "beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it will think we are mad". They succeeded, with Seville Cathedral, unlike Andalusia's other great Christian churches, like the cathedrals of Malaga and Granada, seeing the light of the day. The church's popularity increased with each decade and became especially known when the tomb of Christopher Columbus was added.

Construction of the Seville Cathedral

Locals and Spaniards derive pride in Seville Cathedral, and rightly so. The biggest Gothic church in the world, Seville Cathedral has the longest nave among cathedrals in Spain and has remarkable interior and exterior architecture. Its interior extends over 135 metres in length, 100 metres in width, and 40 metres in height. 75 decorated stained-glass windows from the 16th to the 19th centuries add to its charm, leaving visitors stunned at its beauty.

The La Giralda, part of the Seville Cathedral complex, is another attraction. Serving as the minaret of the original mosque that stood at the site, La Giralda is now a bell tower with a height of 105m. Capilla Mayor, the main chapel of Seville Cathedral, showcases the masterpiece of Gothic wood carving with 30-metre by 20-metre wood carving having over 44 reliefs and 200 figures of saints.

Seville Cathedral Today

Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral is a reminder of Seville's rich past and the remarkable architectural skills of our predecessors. The church's Gothic architecture is unheard of in the 21st century, with most modern buildings having more or less the same design. It took over a century to construct the cathedral, which is unbelievable in this day and age, where structures are built within a year or less.

Seville Cathedral - UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO gave Seville Cathedral the World Heritage Site status in 1987. It was given the honour alongside the adjoining Alcázar palace complex and the General Archive of the Indies, two popular Seville attractions. The church holds remarkable historical value as it houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus and is the largest Gothic church in the world.

However, whether the tomb of Christopher Columbus contains the remains of the famous explorer is unknown. DNA testing was done in 2006, but it wasn't conclusive enough to settle the debate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Seville Cathedral's History

What is the historical significance of Seville Cathedral?

Seville Cathedral is over six centuries old. It is the largest Gothic church in the world and houses several structures that provide insight into the city's heritage and culture.

How old is the Seville Cathedral?

Seville Cathedral is over six centuries old.

How many years did it take to build Seville Cathedral?

It took more than 100 years to build Seville Cathedral.

What is the historical context in which Seville Cathedral was created?

Seville Cathedral was created on the site of Almohad Mosque, an ancient mosque.

Who designed Seville Cathedral?

Seville Cathedral was built by Diego de Riaño ca. and later Martín de Gainza

What is the architectural style of Seville Cathedral?

Seville Cathedral is built in Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles.

What events or incidents have shaped the history of Seville Cathedral?

The fall of the Moorish empire in Seville shaped the history of Seville Cathedral.

Are there guided tours explaining the Seville Cathedral's history?

Yes. Guided tours explaining the Seville Cathedral's history are available.