Jaén Cathedral

Jaén, Spain

The Assumption of the Virgin Cathedral is a Renaissance-style, Roman Catholic cathedral located in Santa María Square, opposite the Town Hall and the Episcopal Palace, in the center of Jaén.

The current cathedral was conceived in the 16th century to replace a previous 15th century Gothic edifice. Construction lasted for several centuries, with the original idea maintained. Of significance are the chapter house and sacristy, masterpieces of Andrés de Vandelvira and important examples of the Spanish Renaissance; the façade, built in the Baroque style with sculptures by Pedro Roldán; and the choir, built in the Neoclassical style and known as one of the largest in Spain.

Kept in the cathedral is a copy of the Veil of Veronica which probably dates from the 14th century, and originated in Siena. Acquired by Bishop Nicolás de Biedma, it is publicly displayed to the people every year on Good Friday and the Feast of the Assumption, as well as in a side chapel every Friday.

The site was once occupied by a mosque, which was reconsecrated as a church dedicated to the Assumption after Ferdinand III of Castile took Jaén in 1246. It was damaged and rebuilt on numerous occasions since until the 16th century, when the current edifice began construction.

Several architects were involved in building the cathedral, Andrés de Vandelvira being the most important one. The distinctive façade, designed by Eufrasio López de Rojas, only began construction in 1660, after the cathedral itself was already consecrated; further works involving interior decoration and the chapels would only conclude in 1724. In addition, consolidation works were necessary to the north façade after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which also led to the construction of the Sagrario there.

The Church of the Sagrario (Iglesia del Sagrario) is a building attached to the north facade of the cathedral, made due to the unevenness and damage caused by the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. The project for this work was designed by the Madrid architect Ventura Rodríguez in 1764 and executed by his nephew Manuel Martín Rodríguez. It was consecrated on March 22, 1801.



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Founded: 16th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

David F. (2 months ago)
Amazing cathedral. Worth the visit and the stop even if you are just passing through.
thekilteddrifters (4 months ago)
Stunning Cathedral and well worth the 7 euro entry fee which also includes a self guided audio.
Philippe Pruvot (6 months ago)
Nice visit of this Cathedral that you can visit from lower levels to upper galleries! Must be seen
Pablo Castaño (11 months ago)
Pleasantly surprised by the cathedral. Was expecting yet another baroque overwrought building and instead found a very elegant neoclassical arrangement (very renaissance themed). Same couldn't be said about the altars though, where the overbearing Spanish baroque reigns. The audio guide is quite useful (you have to pay to visit the cathedral) and everything feels a tad too Catholic (if you're not one).
Patrick Bastow (4 years ago)
We have spent a month touring Spain and done our fair share of Spanish cathedrals. We were a bit reluctant to visit this Cathedral just because we really have overdone cathedrals in the past month. Cathedral overload has been succeeded. However every Spanish cathedral is special and different in its own way and Jaén is no different. Jaén has some amazing art. The cathedral itself is stunning. Very tall and light. We were lucky in that the organist was practising when we were there. The organ here is amazing - and I have heard a few. It was such a privilege and very inspiring just to sit and listen to this incredible musician in such an amazing building. The audio guide is a bit dry - as must cathedral audio guides are. So even if you are approaching cathedral overload - go and visit Jaén cathedral
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