La Catedral de Sevilla
Sep 30 , 2011
La Catedral de Sevilla is one of the most popular and impressive sights in the city of Seville. This architectural treasure is hundreds of years old, dating back to the 1500s, and it still welcomes awe-struck visitors into its halls and tower today. You can even see Christopher Columbus's final resting spot.
La Catedral de Sevilla is a massive landmark cathedral completed in 1506. Its construction began more than a century earlier, with this mandate: "Let it be a church so beautiful and so great that those who see it built will think we were mad." Today it is the world's largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church.
The cathedral's dome was problematic, collapsing in 1511 and 1888. The second collapse was caused by an earthquake, and it destroyed many interior items, with repair work continuing through the early 1900s.
Notables interred at La Catedral de Sevilla include famed explorer Christopher Columbus, whose remain were moved there in 1898 after temporary interments in another part of Spain, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba.
Visiting the Cathedral
La Catedral de Sevilla is large and amazingly detailed, so leave enough time to tour the entire space. Most tourists spend at least two hours browsing through the cathedral. There is an admission fee, and it's best to arrive at or before opening time because longer lines for entrance form later in the day.
The altarpieces are stunning, and there are priceless silver and gold pieces to admire throughout the cathedral. This attraction is a must-do for anyone who loves to see authentic Old World craftsmanship.
Be sure to climb to the top of Giralda Tower, which is nearly 40 stories tall. At the top, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view. Go to the tour first, while other visitors are still walking through the cathedral, to avoid crowds and get great photos. Enjoy the bells that toll every quarter-hour; their tune is especially impressive at noon.
The cathedral has a gift shop, so bring some extra money for a memento of your visit and a cold, refreshing bottle of water after all the walking it takes to see this massive building.
Although you can visit La Catedral de Sevilla on your own, a guided tour is an easy way to see it and to learn its rich history from a knowledgeable guide. You can book tours online or when you arrive in Seville.
Some tours include only the cathedral, while others visit it as part of an overall tour of the city's most popular sites. Book a cathedral-only tour if you want to see it in detail, as a thorough tour lasts three to four hours. If you are visiting on your own, arrive within half an hour of opening time as the tour groups tend to arrive after that, greatly expanding the crowd.
Your admission price for the cathedral should also include admission to the nearby Iglesia del Salvador. This church was originally built in the 9th century, and then rebuilt during the 17th century, with gorgeous altarpieces and work by Cayetano de Acosta and Jose Maestre. This church is well worth a visit, and be sure to go out onto the Arab patio to see what remains of the 9th Century version. Relax among the orange trees and admire the columns and fountains.
Be sure to visit the other amazing sights in Seville.