Spain is largely known for its food, beautiful language, and amazing beach destinations. Spanish culture, history, and architecture, however, should not fall behind on that list. Almost every big city in the country has at least one cathedral, with the northern part of Spain winning over the southern one in the total number of such buildings. For every travel and history enthusiast, here are 10 tourist-approved Spanish cathedrals that are sure to impress.
10 Cathedral Of Seville, Seville
Also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, the Sevillian cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. It is built on the base of the aljama, the main mosque in the city, which was started in 1184 as an order of Abu Yaqub Yusuf. After the Christian conquest of Seville in 1248, the current Christian body was added. On December 29, 1928, the cathedral was declared a UNESCO Heritage site.
9 The Mosque-Cathedral Of Córdoba, Córdoba
As the name suggests, the cathedral in Córdoba was previously a mosque that dates back to 785. After the Reconquest of the city in the 13th century, its Great Mosque took the name of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption and, with some architectural changes, became the mosque-cathedral of Córdoba we know today. An amazing piece of Islamic architecture and western Islamic art, this breathtaking building is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
8 The Cathedral Of Almudena, Madrid
A building in the Neo-Gothic architectural style, the cathedral of Almudena in Madrid is different from the other cathedrals on this list. While for some people it may not seem that impressive compared to the Gothic cathedral of Toledo, for example, the building has its own peculiar and beautiful features both on the inside and on the outside. It is an interesting fact that this Cathedral is one of the few built with an orientation north-south.
The cathedral of Almudena is the work of the efforts of a number of architects, and its building took around 100 years, having finished in 1993.
7 Basilica Of La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Still unfinished, the basilica of la Sagrada Familia is the most impressive project of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. It was started in 1882, and it is hoped to be finished by 2026. If that happens, it would become the highest cathedral in the world. Despite not being yet completed, the building was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
La Sagrada Familia is a remarkable work of art that surprises its visitors with the lights “show” that it provides. There are numerous stained-glass windows in different colors through which the rays of sunshine literally “paint” the floor in a variety of nuances.
La Sagrada Familia is translated as “holy family,” and it depicts the life of Jesus and the story of the Christian faith.
6 Cathedral Of Santiago De Compostela, Santiago De Compostela
The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela has a long and rich history. Its foundations were laid when the remains of James the Great (Santiago el Mayor), one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, were discovered, together with those of his two students – Anastasio and Teodoro. On the place of the small roman mausoleum that hosted them was built a church. With the big number of pilgrims that started coming to the tomb of Saint James, the small building had to be expanded, which is how the current cathedral came to life. Currently, there are various pilgrimage ways, all coming together at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Interesting fact: The cathedral was destroyed by Islamic invaders in the 10th century, after which it was completely rebuilt.
Unlike the other Gothic cathedrals on this list, the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is mainly of Romanesque style with some Gothic and Baroque additions.
5 Basilica Of San Juan De Dios, Granada
Finished in 1759, the Baroque basilica San Juan de Dios is dedicated to the Portuguese saint Juan de Dios. He was a soldier whose primary aim in life became to take care of the ill, poor, and dying. The basilica is built next to a small hospital founded by him in the 16th century. It is an impressive work of art, the inside of which is to a large extent, golden. Decorated with numerous statues, paintings, and wood carvings, this basilica manages to wow every visitor.
Since the basilica of San Juan de Dios is not extremely impressive on the outside, many tourists spare their visit and overlook how beautiful it is on the inside.
4 The Cathedral Of Santa Maria, Toledo
The Cathedral of Santa Maria was finished in 1493 and is of French Gothic style, similar to the other cathedrals on this list. Having been built for around 2 centuries and over the foundation of an existing mosque-cathedral of the Visigoths, the building is dedicated to Virgin Mary. Extremely impressive on the inside, the Cathedral has immense historical and artistic value.
3 Cathedral Of Segovia, Segovia
The cathedral of Segovia has a unique architectural style. Having been planned as a Romanesque cathedral, during its century and-a half-construction it ended up as a Gothic one with Renaissance features. This cathedral is the second one built in Segovia since the first one got destroyed in the Revolt of the Comuneros. A very impressive part of this cathedral is its stained-glass windows.
The present cathedral of Segovia is located on a different site than the old cathedral.
2 Cathedral Of León, León
Even though the stained-glass windows in the Cathedral of Segovia and the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia are beautiful, the true winner in the contest of this category is the Cathedral of Leon. The Cathedral of the Virgen of Regla, as it is also known, is an example of the so-called dematerialization of Gothic art – an attempt to spiritualize the material. The result of it is a cathedral with the most beautiful stained-glass windows of medieval art in Spain. It is also the most French-style cathedral one can find in the country.
The cathedral is also known as “beautiful lioness.”
1 The Basilica Of Our Lady Of The Pillar, Zaragoza
The legend says that the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza was built on the same place where the Virgin appeared for the first time to the Apostle James the Great while he was preaching on the bank of the river Ebro. She leaned on a pillar close to him, which is said to have become the column around which the first foundation of the cathedral was built. A beautiful example of Baroque architectural style, the cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is worshiped as the Mother of the Hispanic People.
Two of the domes in the cathedral are painted by Frаncisco Goya
The date October 12 is celebrated as the date of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Pillar, to Hispanic people.