Facebook Instagram Youtube Youtube Twitter Official Website of the Cathedral of Seville Only Official Site

World Heritage Site

In 1987 UNESCO declared the monumental complex formed by the Cathedral, the Royal Alcazar and the Archive of the Indies a “World Heritage Site” because their coexistence in the same space constitutes a magnificent example of the great stages of the city’s urban history (Muslim, Christian and the great metropolis of the sixteenth century as Puerto de Indias).

In addition to all these historical circumstances, UNESCO considered the integrity and good state of conservation of the historic buildings to be fundamental.

In 2016, UNESCO recognized in Paris the exemplary management of the Metropolitan Chapter at the head of the liturgical and cultural activity of the Cathedral of Seville, in a complementary and harmonious way along with the continuous rehabilitation and maintenance works of the building and its heritage.

Extract from the original text of the declaration of World Heritage of Humanity of the monumental complex formed by the Cathedral of Seville, the Real Alcázar, and the Archive of the Indies (1987) drafted by UNESCO.


The Cathedral - and the Alcazar - of Seville bear exceptional testimony to the civilization of the Almohads and to that of Christian Andalusia dating from the Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century. The Giralda, which influenced the construction of numerous towers in Spain and America, is a masterpiece of Almohad architecture. The immense Cathedral with its five naves is the largest Gothic building in Europe. The elliptical space of the Cabildo, created by Hernán Ruiz, is one of the most beautiful architectural works of the Renaissance.

The Cathedral, one of the largest and most ornate religious buildings in the world, contains in its complex structure a wide range of styles derived from its turbulent history.

In the chapel of the Granada, there are capitals of several columns dating from the time of the Visigoths, the last vestiges of the original Cathedral, which in 712 the Arab conquerors condemned to destruction.

It is, above all, one of the most important witnesses of the Almohad period in its heyday. In 1147, when it became the capital of a Muslim empire covering the whole of the Maghreb, Seville itself, with its monuments whose splendor Arab travelers were pleased to point out.

The Giralda, formerly the minaret of the Great Mosque (built in 1172-98 by Emir Yaqub al-Mansur), escaped destruction and became a bell tower after the reconquest of Seville in 1248. In the 16th century it was crowned with a bronze statue symbolizing the Christian faith, which serves as a weathervane (Giraldillo), at an altitude of 97.52m.

The only part of the other Cathedral that preserves the memory of the Great Mosque is the Orange Tree Courtyard in the north, a wonderful interior garden. The Christians wished to replace the mosque, whose destruction began in 1401, with a Gothic-style cathedral, unsurpassed by any other. In 1420 Seville became one of the major international construction sites of the 15th century, employing the most renowned Spanish, Flemish, and German architects and sculptors.

Seville's prosperity after the discovery of the New World was further enhanced by the considerable financial means already made available for the construction and embellishment of the Cathedral. In the sixteenth century, it was further enhanced by an incomparable ornamentation of stained glass windows, altarpieces, work and grid posts. In the seventeenth century, the Cathedral was still the beneficiary of wealthy donations, and was filled with baroque sculptures and paintings by the great Sevillian painters Murillo and Valdés Leal.