Almería Cathedral

Almería, Spain

Almería cathedral was built in Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles from 1524 to 1562. Its last bell was built in 1805. It had a dual role: as a place of worship, but also to protect the citizens when pirates attacked the city of Almeria after the Reconquest.

After an earthquake destroyed the previous structure, the cathedral is constructed, like so many churches in Spain, on the site of a mosque. Largely late Gothic/Renaissance in style, the cathedral's defensive structure consists of largely plain walls (apart from the elaborate entrance, Puerta Principal) with small, high windows, all designed to be inviolable to the invasions by North African pirates, which continued for many years after the Moors were expelled from Spain. This is the country's only fortified cathedral dating from the 16th century.

With three naves and three chapels, the magnificent Gothic interior is on a typically grand scale, with ribbed ceiling and soaring arches, featuring Baroque and neo-classical details. The Capilla de la Piedad has some superb paintings - the Anunciacion by Alonso Cano and Murillo's Concepcion Inmaculada, while dog-lovers will enjoy the Capilla de Santo Cristo where the Bishop Villalan, who founded the cathedral, lies in state in his marble tomb, complete with his hound at his feet. The choir stalls, carved from walnut, and the Sacristia Mayor with its fine stone roof, windows and arches, are particularly impressive. The stalls and bishop's tomb are both by Juan de Orea.

The cathedral shows many typically defensive features such as ramparts and artillery loopholes - the four circular corner towers, which look like they belong more on a castle, once held cannons, which could hold off Moorish invaders.

Look out for the carving of a sun on the eastern wall, the Sol de Portocarrero, not a symbol typically seen on religious buildings, which is now used as the logo for Almeria province. The Renaissance north facade is an elaborate mid-16th century design, also by de Orea.

The broad pedestrianised plaza in front of the cathedral is very pleasant, with lofty palm trees and plenty of space to stroll, contemplate the basilica, and for children to run about.

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Details

Founded: 1524-1562
Category: Religious sites in Spain

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rachel Romero (14 months ago)
Impressive architecture as with many buildings of the same kind. Not a pleasant place to visit in summer due to the heat. There are visibly fans in the cathedral throughout but not one was switched on in 30+ degree temperatures inside. Heat makes it difficult to enjoy and educate yourself about museum collections.
peter brown (14 months ago)
Interesting cathedral with audio commentary included in the entrance fee. Too much audio detail in some of the side chapels but worth a visit.
Sander Faas (15 months ago)
Nice cathedral, well worth a visit. The audioguide (at least the Dutch version) has too much detail and highbrow language to be taken very seriously. It made us laugh quite often.
Christopher Coleman (16 months ago)
The Cathedrel is very nice. Some interesting architecture because it is a fortified church. Small museum within houses the vestments and some other artifacts. There is an audio guide included with admission that is very informative.
Jeff P (17 months ago)
It was nice to see and certainly beautiful inside but the audio tour was a bit thick for my taste. I found myself skipping ahead a bunch. Also it seemed a bit pricey for what it was. Not a bad experience but the true beauty of this city is in the streets with the people and how they live, not in and old church. I'd only recommend this to true history or art lovers.
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