Catedral de Sevilla

Sevilla Travel Blog

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Catedral de Sevilla

The Catedral de Sevilla is a totally unbelievable Gigantic, Colossal & Massive expression in stone of Gargantuan post-Reconquest confidence, wealth & over the top “My Church is Bigger & Better than Your Church Bravado”.  Catedral de Sevilla is the third largest church in Europe and the largest Gothic building in all of Europe and home to the largest altarpiece in the world.
Built over the site of the Almohad Mosque, the cathedral was built to demonstrate Seville's power and wealth after the Reconquista. During the planning of the cathedral's construction, a member of the chapter was heard to say "we shall have a church of such a kind that those who see it built will think we were mad.

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Inspired by this goal, the canons of Sevilla renounced all but a subsistence level of their incomes to fund the construction. The cathedral was completed in just over a century (1402-1506), quite an achievement given its size and Gothic details.  There is still an ongoing debate as to who designed Catedral de Sevilla many think it was designed by the French master architect of the Rouen Cathedral.
The cathedral was built on the large rectangular base-plan of the mosque it replaced, but the Christian architects added the extra dimension of height. The nave- the central, open space of a church rises to 42 meters, 137.
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779527 feet and even the side chapels seem large enough to contain a normal ordinary sized church’s exterior.
Total area covers 11,520 square meters or 24,001.28 square feet for the metrically challenged or 2.846653995 acres. Who ever heard of a church being able to be measured in acres?  If measured by area, Catedral de Sevilla is the third largest in Europe after St. Paul's in London and St. Peter's in Rome, but if measured by volume, it surpasses them both. Its nave is the longest in Spain.
Two main parts of the original mosque were thankfully preserved in the cathedral: the Moorish entrance court (Patio de los Naranjos); and the Giralda, originally a minaret, converted into a bell tower.
Entrance to the cathedral is via the Puerta de San Cristóbal on the south side is a short 5 minute walk from Tuga Towers.
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Near the doorway dedicated to the saint he was named after is the tomb of Christopher Columbus-Cristóbal Colón in Spanish. Columbus was originally buried in the cathedral of Havana, on the island he had discovered on his first voyage in 1492. But during the upheavals surrounding the Cuban revolution in 1902, Spain transferred the remains to Seville.
A monumental tomb was sculpted by Arturo Melida for the occasion. It was designed in the Late Romantic style and is held aloft by four huge Allegorial figures representing the kingdoms of León, Castile, Aragón and Navarra. There have long been doubts about the authenticity of the remains in Columbus' tomb.  The huge interior of the cathedral, with a central nave and four side aisles, is lavishly decorated. Gold is everywhere. But at the same time, there is a sense of overall simplicity and restraint in decoration, for the grand monuments are confined to the side aisles and the huge nave is left mostly open.
In the center is the great box-like structure of the coro-choir which contains elaborate 15th-century choir stalls.
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The Coro opens onto the Capilla Mayor, which is dominated by an incredible Gothic retablo-reredos or altarpiece. The supreme masterpiece of the cathedral was the life's work of a single craftsman, Fleming Pieter Dancart. Composed of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, it is carved in wood and covered with staggering amounts of gold. It is the largest and richest altarpiece in the entire world.
Other notable works of art in the cathedral include 15th-century stained-glass windows and the iron screens-rejas closing off the chapels. During Corpus Christi and Immaculate Conception observances, altar boys with castanets dance in front of the high altar.
The grandiose Sacristia Mayor, designed in the Plateresque style-comes from a Spanish word platero, meaning silversmith, and relates to the style because of the delicate execution of its ornaments.
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 Among the displays are silver reliquaries and monstrances, artworks by Goya, Murillo, and Zurbarán, the famous crucifix by Montanes, and a collection of skulls.  Keys presented to Fernando by the Jewish and Moorish communities on the surrender of the city sculpted into the metal in Arabic script are the words, "May Allah render eternal the dominion of Islam in this city."
The northeast corner contains the domed Capilla Real-Royal Chapel.  Built on the site of the original royal burial chapel, it shelters the body of Fernando III (El Santo) in a rich, silver shrine. The tombs on either side belong to Fernando's wife, Beatrice of Swabia, and his son, Alfonso the Wise. To the left of the Capilla Real is the entrance to the wonderful Moorish tower, La Giralda, which is well worth the climb to see the upper buttresses, pinnacles & the magnificent panoramic view of Sevilla.
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I was totally overwhelmed by not only the vastness of but also the fine detail seen in every aspect of Catedral de Sevilla.  I was there for 4 & ½ hours it was not enough time so I guess I will just have to go back & spend more time, if you decided to go let me know maybe we can meet-up because I AN GOING BACK TO SEVILLA!!!!

strangemystic says:
I've already been in this cathedral, but that was sooo long ago! What I mainly remember of Sevilla are the people dancing sevillana, just like that
Posted on: May 25, 2009
Petra2111 says:
I mean Sevilla ofcourse :s
Posted on: May 14, 2009
Petra2111 says:
I can imagine you want to go back! After seeing your beautiful pictures I want to see it too! Sivilla was on my to go to list but now more than ever! Thanks Bill, another dream destination!!I haven't enough already;-)
Posted on: May 14, 2009
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SunBathing in Sevilla as seen from…
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photo by: JP-NED