Built as a celebration of the conquest of Seville after the Muslim occupation, the Cathedral is still to date the biggest Gothic Cathedral in the world, and the third largest Cathedral after The Vatican in Italy and The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida in Brazil.
La Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, commonly known as the Cathedral of Seville, was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The Mosque built in the late 12th century on roman building foundation was destroyed—excluding the Giralda, The Orange Tree Courtyard, and the north façade called the Door of Forgiveness—by the Christians who used the site to build the impressive Cathedral. As a result of the Muslim inheritance, the Cathedral doesn’t have the typical foundation of these constructions, and it presents a square shape instead of the latin cross.
A century was needed to finish the construction, considered finalised on the 10th October of 1506, although there have been numerous restoration and renovation works ever since. The last major large-scale restoration has been the cleaning of its façade witness, bringing back to light the cathedral’s natural colour. After the cleaning process, some red ochre graffiti-like writings came to light, to the citizen’s surprise. These curious inscriptions have an uncertain origin, but the most accepted theory is that they are the result of the cheers of the astonished students after they graduated.
For the construction of the cathedral over the centuries, professional associations like methalsmiths and potters coming from different corners of Europe settled around the cathedral, subsequently giving names to its adjacent streets like calle Alemanes from Germany, calle Francos from France, or calle Placentines derived from Piacenza in Italy.
The hustle and bustle of those days were such, especially after the discovery of America, that the architects, tired of the constant trades at the doors of the cathedral, decided to send them a subtle message by adding the words “The expulsion of the merchants from the Temple” on the recently restored north façade.
What you might notice when visiting the cathedral is the lack of perspective of the building. Seville missed its opportunity by not approving the project of Juan Talavera for the Expo 1929, in which the architect proposed the demolition of the buildings from the cathedral until the river bank and the creation of a majestic garden instead. Hence, the Cathedral’s shape could have been contemplated from the river by boat and from the other side of the river.
As this project didn’t succeed, the best way to get to its entrance is walking or stopping at Archivo de Indias with the tram, or Puerta Jerez if you take the metro. The timetables vary from winter to summer, being respectively:
• Mon-Sat 11:00-17:00; Sundays 14:30-18:00
• Mon-Sat 9:30-16:00; Sundays 14:30-18:00
The price for non-residents of the city is 8€ for adults, free entrance for children under 16 (accompanied by an adult).