See Columbus’ tomb, artwork by Goya and Murillo and plenty of breathtaking architecture all within the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe.
The sheer size of the Catholic Seville Cathedral (Catedral de Sevilla) may leave you momentarily overwhelmed. The wealthy councilors who commissioned the building in the early 1400s intended it to be so grand that future visitors would question the sanity of the cathedral’s founders.
Enter through the Puerta de San Cristóbal at the southern facade. Look to your right after passing through reception to see the tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus. Four giant figures, each one representing a different conquered kingdom, hold the tomb aloft.
From here you’ll pass into the central nave, where you’ll gain an appreciation of the cathedral’s impressive dimensions. At 137 foot (42 meters) high, the area is left mostly empty, which only serves to heighten the sense of grandeur. Cast your eyes to the side aisles, where intricate carvings and statues are embellished in dazzling gold. Make your way to the main nave, the Capilla Mayor, where you’ll find the giant Gothic altarpiece, believed to be the largest in the world. It has 45 scenes of the life of Christ containing over 1,000 figures carved in wood and is decorated with gold.
Don’t miss the two main sacristies: the Sacristía Mayor and the Sacristía de los Cálices. These rooms display silverware, ancient skulls and the keys given to Fernando by the Jewish and Moorish communities when he conquered the city. Artwork includes Goya’s masterpiece Saints Justa and Rufina.
Seville Cathedral is located in the city’s historic district, the Old Town, on the east bank of the Guadalquivir River. The church is open to the public every day, though hours are reduced on Sundays. There is a small charge for entry, and audio guides are available. To avoid the long lines to enter the cathedral, consider visiting in the afternoon.