Growing up Catholic, anytime I traveled with my family we would always go to the cathedral. Usually they are beautiful historical sites to see and are also tourist destinations, but we would also go to mass if there was one available.
When we went to Spain the famous cathedrals were on my list. Primarily the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona for obvious reasons, but a lot of people raved about the cathedral in Seville, so we went there as well.
I must say, if you are going to Spain and you have control over when you go where — go to the Seville Cathedral first, then on the the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We visited them the other way around and once you see the Sagrada Familia, it’s really just the most spectacular Basílica that makes all other cathedrals seem not as impressive. Or at least to me anyway.
I so much respect Gaudi’s modern take on architecture that then going to a more traditional one was bit of a let down. That sounds terrible, but I just prefer the Sagrada Familia to the Seville Cathedral, I think had I seen the Seville Cathedral first I would have appreciated it more.
Even though it didn’t come close to the Sagrada Familia, really they are just completely different, the cathedral in Seville — the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (or in Spanish — Catedral de Santa María de la Sede) was still an amazing and beautiful place to see.
This is the Plaza del Triunfo in front of the south side of the cathedral taken from the entrance of the Alcazar (which is fabulous and a must if you go to Seville).
This is the Door of Saint Cristopher or De la Lonja. It is where we entered to tour the cathedral although I believe there are multiple entrances. The line can get long, but it moved fast for us. We didn’t take a guided tour, and I think if you are interested in the history it would probably be worth it. Otherwise you are just wandering around not really sure what you are looking at unless you do some research before you go.
A few things to know about the Seville Cathedral — it was built to demonstrate the city’s wealth.
Construction began on the cathedral in 1402 and finished in 1506 until the dome collapsed in 1511 and they had to resume construction. It collapsed again in 1888 due to an earthquake. The fact that this cathedral was started in 1402 makes it even more impressive.
The cathedral was built in the gothic style and has 80 chapels, most of which I didn’t see but I’m sure they are all beautiful and interesting. It is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus.
It’s the largest cathedral in the world, and the third-largest church in the world, and was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
Pierre Dancart’s Retablo Mayor altarpiece was definitely the main attraction once you got inside. Dancart worked for 44 years on the reliefs, starting in 1482 and after his death the worked finished with help from other artists in 1564. It is made of gilded relief panels depicting scenes from the old testament and the lives of saints.
If you aren’t super interested in the Cathedral, you can do it pretty quickly. I don’t think we were in there longer than 30 minutes, so you can let the visit be as long or short as you want. If you are choosing between the Alcazar and the cathedral, DEFINITELY do the Alcazar.
We were only in Seville for two days, so we didn’t get to really explore the city, but we did eat at La Brunilda and it was fabulous. Worth the wait.
Have you been to Seville? Tell me what you did and what you loved about it!
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Photos by Meg Biram