Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, March 18, 2013

St Mary of the See Cathedral

I've included photos of the cathedral in past blogs, but since we went there again yesterday here are more.
We intended to take a tour of the Alcazar, the palace that Pedro I, the king of Castile, built in the 14th century.  But the lines were long....
 It was exactly 1pm...  we think the Alzacar opened at 9:30am.  After seeing this line we decided to wait until a weekday to take the tour.

You can see the cathedral in the background of the previous picture....  Just a little history...  parts of it were originally built in the 12th century.  It's gone through several different periods...  the Almohed period from 1172 until 1248; then the Mudyar until 1401. The Gothic until 1528...  and on through the Renaissance, Baroque, Academic, Neogothic and finally the Cathedied, which began in 1928.  During each period there was construction or additions that changed or added to the structure.
A closer view...  It's a huge structure..  I don't know if it's more impressive looking at it from the outside or wandering around the inside.  You can decide for yourself...

The Rose Window is outstanding....
This picture doesn't begin to do it justice.
It was designed and put in place in 1557.   The immensity of it is awesome....

When walking around inside you feel a hush...  even though there may be lots of tourists wandering around.
You just stand and look up...  you look at the windows, the sculptures, the design..  

Flying Buttress is a term that you come to understand when walking around here...
The archways and how they all come together at the "ceiling" is nothing short of amazing.

In another blog I mentioned that Christopher Columbus is buried in this cathedral...
I got the comment (thank you) that he was buried in the Dominican Republic...  
Christopher Columbus traveled more after death than many people do in life! In 1537, his bones and those of his son Diego were sent from Spain to Santo Domingo to lie in the cathedral there. As time went on, Santo Domingo became less important to the Spanish Empire and in 1795 Spain ceded all of Hispaniola, including Santo Domingo, to France as part of a peace treaty. Columbus' remains were judged too important to fall into French hands, so they were sent to Havana. But in 1898, Spain went to war with the United States, and the remains were sent back to Spain lest they fall to the Americans. Thus ended Columbus' fifth round-trip journey to the New World…or so it seemed.
In 1877, workers in the Santo Domingo cathedral found a heavy leaden box inscribed with the words “Illustrious and distinguished male, don Cristobal Colon.” Inside was a set of human remains and everyone assumed they belonged to the legendary explorer. Columbus was returned to his resting place and the Dominicans have claimed ever since that the Spanish hauled the wrong set of bones out of the cathedral in 1795. Meanwhile, the remains sent back to Spain via Cuba were interred in an imposing tomb in the Cathedral in Seville. But which city had the real Columbus?
I read further that the Dominican Republic refuses to allow a DNA test on the remains that are there.... So... again... you can decide what you wish to believe.

Some more photos of the arches... the marble floors....
And an attempt at showing you just how big this place is..

I think this is the main altar...
There was a baptism being performed so I didn't venture any closer.  In another section of the church, Sunday mass was being said.  I have no idea how many different places events could be happening at the same time...  but again...  I think a lot!

More stained glass windows...
Looks at the color!  How exquisite the design!

This area was roped off....
Looked to be all silver...  and you can see from the size of the chairs in front that this is HUGE!  Wouldn't it be something to see it when all the candles are lit?

Another view of the arches and another altar..
Many of the "alcoves" seemed to be dedicated to a particular saint or person.

 Another view from the outside...
Looking up from the courtyard....

The Giralda Bell Tower
Originally built in the 1400's by the Moors as a minaret, it was later made into a bell tower for the cathedral.

Again...  standing in the courtyard looking up...
It's really impressive to hear the bells ring.  As each bell is a different size you'll hear the pealing of many different tones.
If you take the "official" tour, you can walk up the ramps to the top...  the tower is only 298.5 feet high.  No, we didn't do it.

A view of the cathedral from across the river...
I think every tourist must use this as a landmark when visiting Sevilla.  The thing is...  the cathedral is beautiful inside, outside, or from a distance...
It's definitely a "must see" !

We hope to get back to the Alcazar one day this week.  Semana Santa is next week, and that is NOT a week we want to try doing "touristy" things.

That's All For Today!


  1. A beautiful building no matter from which direction you see it. There is no way I would stand in that long a line for anything. Just couldn't do it any more. Poor Chris. Fighting over him after he's dead and gone. Poor guy.

  2. I hope you took several pair of good walking shoes. I'll bet the soles are through one pair by now. Beautifl and instructive pictures, as ever.

  3. Just beautiful....those stained glass windows, the light filtered down fthrough the arches, it just goes on and on. Thanks again for sharing your pictures and the's the closest I will ever be to there.

  4. The stained glass windows must be awesome in person - how very beautiful. I always wonder how they managed to build such massive structures back then. I also always wonder how they financed such buildings and who paid for them. I guess the church was wealthy but still, just the cost of the materials must have been staggering. I guess some things we will never know - we can just enjoy the lasting beauty.

  5. Interesting what's important and why. Christopher Columbus is such a part of our American history but it's understandable that he would be buried in Spain. Spain would rather Cuba have his remains than the French. It's a wonder we have a planet at all... !

    That this Cathedral was built in the 16th Century is remarkable. The craftsmanship and detail. That amazes me.... a lost art ~ sad, I think so. Skycrapers made of glass are beautiful but buildings built centuries ago are still standing and gorgeous.

    Beautiful, Sharon!

  6. The historical heritage of our American monuments and buildings seem so puny in comparison! We have centuries of catch-up to do!

  7. Simply amazing! And to think those buildings were built in the times before we had equipment--cranes, etc.!

  8. goodness, that church is beyond beautiful!!!