Granada Cathedral

Granada, Spain

Unlike most cathedrals in Spain, construction of Granada Cathedral was not begun until the sixteenth century, after acquisition of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada from its Muslim rulers in 1492. While its earliest plans had Gothic designs, such as are evident in the Royal Chapel of Granada by Enrique Egas, most of the church's construction occurred when the Spanish Renaissance style was supplanting the Gothic in Spanish architecture. Foundations for the church were laid by the Enrique Egas starting from 1518 to 1523 atop the site of the city's main mosque; by 1529, Egas was replaced by Diego de Siloé who worked for nearly four decades on the structure from ground to cornice, planning the triforium and five naves instead of the usual three. Most unusually, he created a circular capilla mayor (principal chapel) rather than a semicircular apse.

Subsequent architects altered the initial plan for the main façade, introducing Baroque elements. The cathedral took 181 years to build. It would have been even grander had the two 81-meter towers included in the plans been built; however, the project remained incomplete for various reasons, among them financial.

The Cathedral had been intended as the royal mausoleum by Charles I of Spain, but Philip II of Spain moved the site for his father's and subsequent kings' tombs to El Escorial outside of Madrid.

The main chapel contains two kneeling effigies of the Catholic King and Queen, Isabel and Ferdinand by Pedro de Mena y Medrano. The busts of Adam and Eve were made by Alonso Cano. The Chapel of the Trinity has a marvelous retablo with paintings by El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera and Alonso Cano.

Features

Granada's cathedral has a rectangular base due to its five naves that completely cover the cross.. All of the five naves are staggered in height, the central one being the largest. At the foot of the cathedral there are two towers. The left one, called the tower of San Miguel, acts as a buttress which replaced the planned tower on that side.

The main chapel consists of a series of Corinthian columns on which capitals is the entablature and, over it, the vault, which houses a series of delicate stained glass windows.

The facade consists of a framed structure in the form of a triumphal arch with portals and canvas. It consists of three pillars crowned by semicircular arches supported on pilasters, similar to San Andrés de Mantua of Leon Battista Alberti. The pilasters don't have capitals but projections sculptured in the walls, as well as attached marble medallions. Above the main door is located a marble tondo from 'José Laughing on the Annunciation'. Additionally, there is a vase with lilies at the top, alluding to the virgin and pure nature of the mother of God.

The sacrarium, raised between 1706 and 1759, follows the classic proportions of the whole, keeping the multiple columns of the transept the shapes of the compound of Siloam.

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Details

Founded: 1518
Category: Religious sites in Spain

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tracy Truther - Leese (2 years ago)
Loved the Cathedral. Make sure you give yourself enough time to absorb all of the architecture and there are so many altars. It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be !
Mindy McCalla (2 years ago)
This place is spectacular!!! It is so big and has so much detail inside. The ceilings are incredibly high. Built by Carlos V.
James Crossland (2 years ago)
The most lavish and beautiful cathedral I've ever visited. I'm not Catholic personally but managed to keep up with the English audio guide. Allow approx. 90-120 mins for your visit. Very reasonable entry €5/£5 per person. A must see for any visit to Granada.
Margaryta Massage Therapy (2 years ago)
Amazing place!!! The most beautiful cathedral what I have seen before! The best and big cathedral in Spain. Take a audio-guide inside for 6 euro, you will get enough information about.
Steve Brookman (2 years ago)
Huge city centre cathedral. Quite simply decorated but with very ornate alter and organ. Very good audio guide, but quite detailed. A little long for a couple in my party. Interesting history. Worth visiting if you are in the city.
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