03. Early Europe & Colonial Americas, Europe, Spain

UNESCO: Cathedral, Alcázar & Archivo de Indias in Seville

UNESCO: Cathedral, Alcázar & Archivo de Indias in Seville

Set in the historic center of Seville, UNESCO specifically sets apart three important buildings as part of their Seville UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Cathedral, the Alcázar (palace), 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, Moorish and Christian stylistic elements but is overwhelmingly 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.

Read more: Medieval Al-Andalus


Most people visit the cathedral to see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. You literally can’t miss it, it’s huge! The fresco in the second photo is a GIANT 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.

Read more: Pestilence & Prayer: St. Christopher in Art (10)

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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.

Read more: Planning vs Reality: 2018 Andalusia Spain Trip


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.


*Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I can receive some compensation. 

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