There’s something about cathedrals that make you just stand there in awe, dwarfed by the stunning architecture full of details. Those gigantic structures, often overlooking the city, have been built over centuries by thousands of men who had none of today’s tools. It was one thing that I really missed when living in Asia.
After 6 months of living in Granada, I remembered that I’ve yet to visit the cathedral in town.
Hidden behind buildings and overlooking a tiny square, the Granada cathedral is easy to miss and doesn’t really stand out in the open like the Notre-Dame in Paris, or the cathedral in Cologne in Germany.
Unlike most cathedrals in Spain, construction of this cathedral had to await the conquest of the last Arab Kingdom: the Nasrid kingdom of Granada in 1492. Queen Isabella immediately ordered the building of a new cathedral that was to be located on the site of one the city’s main mosques.
At the time, the original architect was Enrique Egas, who was part of the Old Gothic school. Egas put down the foundation of the cathedral in Gothic style, but he was soon replaced by the architect Diego de Siloé, who convinced the King to change the design from Gothic to the Renaissance style.
He found the perfect way of combining a Renaissance dome with a Gothic floor plan. The cathedral took 181 years to “complete”, with work starting in 1518 and ending in 1703 (the project was paused for a few years in the early stages).
Many architects took over the construction and design of the cathedral during that time, and with them, many different styles have been applied to the structure. The Gothic foundation was by Egas, the Renaissance style of the building was designed by de Siloé and the beautiful facade of the cathedral was designed in 1667 by Alonso Cano in a Baroque style.
I mentioned that the cathedral was “completed” in 1704, but not exactly. In 1590, the king Felipe II decided to stop the completion of the facade, due to financial and technical issues. The cathedral was supposed to have two 81-meter towers on both sides, but only one was built and its height had to be lowered to 50m because the Gothic foundations could not support the heavy mass of both towers.
This is the main entrance of the cathedral. The style is Baroque, designed by Cano. The entrance faces a very small plaza, hidden behind old buildings.
On the left side is one of the towers that was supposed to be almost twice as high but was left unfinished. The other tower, which should have been on the right side was never built.
The inside of the cathedral is massive and is built in the Renaissance style by Diego de Siloé, a Spanish architect who studied in Italy. I included the woman in the scene to give a sense of perspective.
I’m a real sucker for beautiful organs in churches and cathedrals. This one takes the winning spot for its details, beauty and size. It’s also a typical classical Spanish organ, dating from the 18th century. Spanish organs were characterized by the addition of horizontal trumpets. There is also another similar organ on the other side, both facing each other.
This is the back side of the previous organ.
I’ll leave you with more shots of some of the shrines, decorations and details found in the gigantic and beautiful cathedral. Too bad they don’t allow tripods (as usual), but I’m looking forward to going again and taking some more shots. Don’t forget to check out the photosphere at the end of the gallery.
If you want a little virtual visit, click on the image below to check out the photosphere I shot inside with my phone. Enjoy the visit.