Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in Christendom, unmatched in its impressive scale and abundance of art treasures. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
, this incomparable monument was constructed between 1402 and 1506 on the site of the town's principal mosque. The Giralda Tower
was originally the minaret of the mosque built in the 12th century by Almohad Moorish rulers. This 93-meter-high tower of the cathedral is still the emblem of Seville. To arrive at the cathedral, visitors walk through the Patio de los Naranjos
(Patio of Orange Trees), which was the forecourt of the mosque. The octagonal fountain in the center is a remnant of the Islamic midha, the fountain for religious ablutions.
Entering the cathedral, visitors are immediately awestruck by the immense proportions of the nave. The five-aisled interior extends 117 meters in length and 76 meters across and soars to 40 meters in height. This overwhelming space is the most grandiose Gothic interior in Spain. The Capilla Mayor
(Main Chapel) features a resplendentretablo
, considered a masterpiece of Gothic woodcarving. In the center is a silver image of the Virgen de la Sede
surrounded by 45 scenes from the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin. In the south transept stands a striking monument to Christopher Columbus, fitting of his historic stature. Behind the Capilla Mayor is the Capilla Real
(Royal Chapel). Built between 1551 and 1575, this domed Renaissance chapel contains the royal tombs. The Sacristía Mayor
is a magnificent 16th-century chamber that contains a large candelabrum and a crucifix by Pieter de Kempeneer. Within the Sacristía Mayor, the Treasury
displays the precious gem-adorned crown of the Virgen de los Reyes
For a break from sightseeing after visiting the cathedral, head to the Calle de las Sierpes,
north of the Plaza Nueva. This narrow pedestrian lane is Seville's main shopping street, lined with shops, cafés, and restaurants. For a special treat, stop at the Confiteria la Campana
to sample enticing Andalusian confections such as candied figs, oranges, and pears.
Address: Catedral de Seville, Plaza del Triunfo, Avenida de la Constitución, Seville