Seville Cathedral The Cathedral in Seville

The Moorish or Muslim rule of Spain lasted from the late VIIth Century to 1492. The Spanish architectural geography is imprinted with their icons and creativity. Most notably in Andalucia there are the Moorish arches in and on many buildings. Its highest point was seen in both the Almohad mosque in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada. The former was torn down and replaced with the magnificent Cathedral of Seville, which remains to this day. The only piece of the Almohad mosque that servived can still be seen today. This is the Giralda, the minarette, although it has been modified over the centuries, as one might expect. The one thing I must say about Spain is they may have taken back thier own lands from invaders but, they have left many of the buildings, or some part of them, intact. Other european powers were not so forward thinking about what is and or was for many countries incredible architectural features.


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A horse and cart passes infront as we look in perspective at Seville's Cathedral

What makes a cathedral? It is the seat of a church district or diocese. Obtaining permission to have and build one is quite an honour for any city. Designing and constructing it can be a life's work for the lucky architect. Hundreds of years could be pass between the laying of the first stone and the official opening of the doors to the faithful. This would be no exception.

Some of the doors from on  the street .. looking up to the sky.

The cathedral of Seville is the largest cathedral in the Roman Catholic world. The builders of this wonder went out of their way to make sure they were going to leave a lasting impression. One could argue that replacing and incredible monument like the Almohad mosque would require such a task and they succeeded beautifully. Lots of gold passed through Seville, so the funding came solely from the city. Construction began in 1402 and ended in 1526 when the Retablo Mayor or altarpiece was finished. When Ferdinand III conquered Seville in 1248, one of the first acts was to transform the Almohad mosque into a Christian church. This situation persisted until 1401 when the official decision was taken to build a cathedral in its place. Pieces of the Almohad mosque are in the church. Any wise architect would reuse the stone around him.


No matter where you look at the building it is just magnificent

The structure measures 76 by 115 metres. Containing 5 naves, of which its main one not only rises to a height of 42 metres, but also is the longest in Spain. Despite its size, one does not get the impression that it is out of proportion, because every piece balances in perfectly. The Retablo Mayor is the largest altarpiece in the Christian world. One can detect gold everywhere. As you walk in, what you notice is the coro, where the choir is located, in the centre of the nave. Behind it is the Capilla Mayor or Main Chapel. One can only pause and gaze stupefied. The Retablo Mayor simply overwhelms the viewer with its 45 wood-carved scenes of the life of Jesus Christ. One man, Pierre Dancart, spent his life making it over a 44-year period. Each scene is unique and deserves attention. Nearby is the massive organ; its beauty belies the sound that it must produce as it is not an organ at all despite looking like one with its thousands of pipes.


A glorious picture at night of Seville's Cathedral lit up by floodlights


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