Set in the historic center, UNESCO sets apart three important buildings to incorporate in the Seville UNESCO World Heritage Site: Cathedral, Alcázar, and the Archive of the Indians.
A cathedral is the literal “seat” of the bishop of the diocese and is, therefore, the most important church in any city. This cathedral dates back from the Reconquista and, like the Mezquita in Córdoba, reflects Visigothic, Mooorish and Christian stylistic elements but is overwhelingly Gothic. Apparently this is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world but it honestly did not feel nearly that large in comparison to other churches I have visited. I think it’s because they stuck the choir in the middle of the church and it blocks the expansive feeling of the interior. I have a video showing that weird configuration so hopefully you can see what I mean.
Most people visit the cathedral to see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. You literally can’t miss it, it’s huge! You see in the picture above the giant fresco to the left, it is of St. Christopher. He is the traditional patron saint of travelers, which I am sure was a major devotion of the sailors going across the Atlantic and is the name saint of Columbus. Fun fact: St. Christopher is no longer an official Catholic saint as of Vatican II but no one seemed to have noticed.
The Alcázar is a palace-like fortress (Córdoba & Granada have alcázars too) which was first built during the Islamic period in 712 but then recaptured by the Spanish in 1248 and became a royal residence. Fun fact: Spain still has a constitutional monarchy to this day. Although this was recaptured by the Spanish Catholic kings, they kept much of the original Islamic architecture so you can see some gorgeous courtyards and intricate geometric design. This is certainly one of the most gorgeous palace complexes in Spain and Will even liked it better than another famous alcázar: the Alhambra. Also this building was used for filming during the Game of Thrones.
Archive of the Indians
This building isn’t something to necessarily look at so we didn’t go in but it contains collections of documents from the Spanish conquest of the Americas. As a history teacher, is it certainly of interest to me but I don’t have that kind of high-level access.
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- “Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville.” In World Heritage Sites: A Complete Guide to 1031 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2015.