This past Monday, I had the opportunity to visit the Seville Cathedral, or as it is formally known as in Spanish: La Catedral de Santa María de la Sede de Sevilla (The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See). The cathedral is the third largest in the world and is the largest Gothic church of all. It was built between 1434 and 1517 over the remains of what had previously been the city’s main mosque. And by 1987, it was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
According to Lonely Planet, “The history of the Cathedral goes back to the 15th Century but the history of Christian worship on the site dates to the mid-13th Century. In 1248, the Castilian King Fernando III captured Seville from its Berber Muslim rulers and transformed their great 12th-Century mosque into a church. Some 153 years later, in 1401, the city’s ecclesiastical authorities decided to replace the mosque, which had been damaged by an earthquake in 1356, with a spectacular new cathedral: ‘Let’s construct a church so large future generations will think we were mad’, they quipped (or so legend has it).”
When you first enter the cathedral, you are mesmerized by its beauty. With its dark gothic architecture and biblical iconography, you become amazed at such a feat. What really puts the cherry on top for the cathedral is the tomb of Cristobal Colon — Christopher Columbus, that is.
It is believed that Columbus’s remains are inside the tomb, but speculation surrounds it after being moved multiple times since his original resting place in Havana, Cuba. “In 1877, a very suspicious box was found in Santo Domingo (Columbus’s third resting place) inscribed with the words “The illustrious and excellent man, Don Colon, Admiral of the Ocean Sea.” That box is now contained in the massive “Faro a Colon” Lighthouse in Santo Domingo. Despite examinations and a recent DNA test of the remains in Seville, the question remains somewhat unsolved or completely resolved, depending on whom you ask” (Black).
The massive tomb is one of the first things that I and various other tour groups were able to see. The tomb is massive! It is supported by four figures that represent the kingdoms of Spain during Columbus’s time: Leon, Aragon, Navarra, and León. It is definitely a sight to be seen.
As my group moved along the church we started to walk into different rooms with new artworks and architecture from the different groups that added their culture onto the cathedral. In one room it could look completely Arabic, then the next room would be covered in Latin script with multiple columns supporting the ceiling. No matter where you walk there is something sacred and beautiful to capture your eyes.
Once we finished our excursion, the cathedral is nicely located in the center of Seville, we went to one of the many restaurants and bars nearby. By the advice of one of our teachers, a few members in my group and I went to try vino de naranja (orange wine). I am not much of a wine aficionada , but it was probably the best tasting wine I have ever had. I advise anyone who goes to Seville to try it to test their pallet. And what made the wine tasting experience even sweeter was The World Cup was right in front of me. You can’t get more Spanish than a day like that.