Monday, October 21, 2013

gothic grandeur

Standing where a great mosque once rose into the sky is the very grand, very Gothic Sevilla Cathedral. Traces of its Islamic predecessor can be found in the cathedral's airy and fragrant courtyard, and in the mathematical, intricately carved Puerta del Perdón gate. Upon the conquering of Sevilla by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1248, the mosque was converted into a church, and its minaret replaced in 1376 (after a devastating earthquake) by a bell tower.

I was stunned to learn that Sevilla's cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world— I had always believed the imposing church in Köln held the title, but no! What's more, when the construction of the church was finally completed in the early 16th century, it was the very first to end Ayasofya's near-thousand year reign as the largest cathedral in the world. But wait— there's more.

The alleged remains of Christopher Columbus are entombed there too.

When looking at all the glittering gold and grandeur of the cathedral and his tomb (pictured above), my mind can't help but move to darker thoughts: slavery, colonisation, and the countless lives lost in the genocides that took place in the Americas. With Columbus' crossing of the Atlantic the world was forever changed, though oppression and genocide seem to be a sad constant in our collective history— before he set sail, until this very day.

It is a stunning, impressive piece of architecture.


Anonymous said...

I never did get to Seville. I should, shouldn't I? It's not all about oranges!
Yes, dark times throughout history.But those dark days did produce some glorious architecture.

szaza said...

It's really a lovely city, and I recommend you check it out. I will be returning at some point to see more than a day's worth, as I feel like I only just got a glimpse!

Glorious architecture indeed. The spires and buttresses are so incredible— and the sheer size of these massive cathedrals does take the breath away.