Seville Cathedral
Overview
 
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

, better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 (Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

). It is the largest Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 cathedral and the third-largest church in the world.

At the time of its completion in the 16th century, it supplanted the Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

 as the largest cathedral in the world.
Encyclopedia
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

, better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 (Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

). It is the largest Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 cathedral and the third-largest church in the world.

At the time of its completion in the 16th century, it supplanted the Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

 as the largest cathedral in the world. Previously, the Hagia Sophia had held the title for almost a thousand years. The cathedral also serves as the burial site of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

. The Archbishop's Palace
Archbishop's Palace, Seville
The Archbishop's Palace of Seville is a palace in Seville, Spain. It has served as the residence of bishops and archbishops of the episcopal sees and numerous nobleman and military figures to the present time. It is located in the southern section of Seville, in the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes,...

 is located on the northeastern side of the cathedral.

Description

The cathedral was built to demonstrate Seville's wealth, as it had become a major trading center in the years after the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 in 1248. In July 1401 it was decided to build a new temple, as the ancient Muslim mosque was in bad shape after a 1356 earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

. According to the oral tradition of Seville, the decision of members of the chapter was: "Let a church so beautiful and so great that those who see it built will think we were mad". According to the minutes of that day, the new church should be: "a work such as good, which like no other."
Construction began in 1402; it continued until 1506. Church workers gave half their salaries to pay for architects, builders and other expenses.
Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the dome collapsed and work on the cathedral re-commenced. The dome again collapsed in 1888, and work was still being performed on the dome until at least 1903. The 1888 collapse occurred due to an earthquake and resulted in the destruction of "every precious object below" the dome at that time.

The interior has the longest nave in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. Its central nave rises to a height of 42 metres and is lavishly decorated, with a large quantity of gold evident. In the main body of the cathedral, only the great boxlike structure of the choir stands out, filling the central portion of the nave. It is also dominated by a vast Gothic retablo
Retablo
A Retablo or lamina is a Latin American devotional painting, especially a small popular or folk art one using iconography derived from traditional Catholic church art....

 of carved scenes from the life of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

. The altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.

The builders used some columns and elements from the mosque, and most famously the Giralda
Giralda
thumb|right|The Giralda at its various stages of construction: Almohad , Medieval Christian , and Renaissance .The Giralda is a former minaret that was converted to a bell tower for the Cathedral of Seville in Seville...

, a minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

 converted into a bell tower. The Giralda is the city's most famous symbol. Its square base is 13.61 metres and a height of 105 metres. It was built as a minaret of the old mosque, although the bell tower and spire top, is Renaissance.

Chapels

The cathedral has 80 chapels, in which 500 masses were said daily as reported in 1896. The baptistery
Baptistery
In Christian architecture the baptistry or baptistery is the separate centrally-planned structure surrounding the baptismal font. The baptistry may be incorporated within the body of a church or cathedral and be provided with an altar as a chapel...

 Chapel of Saint Anthony contains the painting of The Vision of St. Anthony (1656) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Bartolomé Estéban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children...

. In November 1874, it was discovered that thieves had cut out the portion depicting Saint Anthony
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

. Then in January 1875, a Spanish immigrant attempted to sell the same painting at a New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 art gallery. The man stated the portion was a complete original by Murillo, Saint Anthony one of his favorite subjects. The owner of the gallery negotiated a price of $250 for the portion and contacted the Spanish consulate.

Timeline

  • 1184 - lda begun (Harvey 260)
  • 1198 - Completion of Almohad Mosque (Montiel 12) (Harvey 260)
  • 1248 - Conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III
    Ferdinand III of Castile
    Saint Ferdinand III, T.O.S.F., was the King of Castile from 1217 and León from 1230. He was the son of Alfonso IX of León and Berenguela of Castile. Through his second marriage he was also Count of Aumale. He finished the work done by his maternal grandfather Alfonso VIII and consolidated the...

    , mosque Christianized (Montiel 14)
  • 1376 - Earthquake destroys minaret, replaced by bell gable (Montiel 12)
  • 1401 - (8 July- Harvey 230) Decision made to replace former mosque (Montiel 15)
  • 1402 - Nave begun- SW corner (Harvey 260)
  • 1432 - Nave completed, east end started (Harvey 260)
  • 1466 - Demolition of Royal Chapel authorized by Juan II of Castile (Montiel 15)
  • 1467 - East end completed, vaults begun. Anchors added. (Harvey 260)
  • 1475 - Stalls begun (Harvey 260)
  • 1478 - Stalls completed (Harvey 260)
  • 1481 - Doorways in high altar completed (Montiel 16)
  • 1482 - Retablo Mayor begun (ALTARPIECE) (Harvey 260)
  • 1498 - Vaults completed, lantern begun (Harvey 260)*
  • 1506 - Main dome (lantern) completed (Montiel 16) (Harvey 260)
  • 1511 - Lantern collapses, rebuilding begins (Montiel 16) (Harvey 260)
  • 1515 - New choir vaults completed (Montiel 16)*
  • 1517 - New transept vaults completed (Montiel 16)*
  • 1519 - Lantern rebuilding completed (Harvey 260)
  • 1526 - Retablo Mayor completed (Harvey 260)
  • 1551 - Capilla Real begun (Harvey 260)
  • 1558 - Belfry replaces bell gable (Montiel 12)
  • 1568 - Giralda, top stages (Harvey 260)
  • 1575 - Capilla Real completed (Harvey 260)
  • 1888 - Main dome and vaults collapse (Montiel 16)

Burials

  • Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

  • Fernando III of Castile
  • Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen
    Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen
    Beatrice of Swabia was Queen of Castile and Leon as the wife of King Ferdinand III...

  • Alfonso X of Castile
    Alfonso X of Castile
    Alfonso X was a Castilian monarch who ruled as the King of Castile, León and Galicia from 1252 until his death...

  • Pedro I of Castile

Sources

  • John Harvey, The Cathedrals of Spain
  • Luis Martinez Montiel, The Cathedral of Seville

External links

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