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Cadiz Cathedral

The main altar of the Cadiz Cathedral( Altar Mayor),  treasured artefacts in the display cases of the  sacristy (sacristia), An angel on the column of the main alter, the chapel dedicated to the guardian angel ( Capilla del Santo Ángel de la Guarda). © Michelle Chaplow
The Cadiz Cathedral is situated in the Plaza de la Cathedral, The main altar of the Cadiz Cathedral ( Altar Mayor), treasured artefacts in the display cases of the sacristy (sacristia), An angel on the column of the main alter, artworks in the chapel dedicated to The Guardian Angel ( Capilla del Santo Ángel de la Guarda).

Cadiz Cathedral - Catedral Nueva

The grandiose Cadiz cathedral officially named 'Catedral de la Santa Cruz de Cádiz' took over 130 years to build. Started in Baroque style and completed in Neo-clasical style, the dome and the towers are much smaller than originally intended. A relative term the cathedral is also called the New Cathedral to differentiate it from Old Cathedral located  nearby.

Construction

In 1721 the architect Vicente Acero was chosen for the construction of the Catedral de Santa Cruz. He was the master of the works and designed the spectacular Baroque temple, with a Latin cross plan, three naves and an ambulatory, inspired by both the Cathedral of Granada and Cathedral of Guadiz which were both designed by Diego de Siloé. The special interest in the Cadiz Cathedral is in the fusing the traditions of the great Spanish cathedrals with the forms from the Italian Baroque. Thus, the plan is of Gothic origin, with a powerful ambulatory and the rich movement of lines typical of Borromini and Guarini.

Until 1729 the works were conducted by Acero himself in line with his daring project of two façade towers and its colossal dome over the transept. However the Cabildo  (local council) did not approve of his work and removed him from office. Acero was succeeded by Gaspar Cayón and in 1759 was in turn succeeded his nephew, Torcuato Cayón de la Vega, a local architect spanned the transition from Baroque to Neoclassicism.   He reformed part of the façade and elevations, and shortening the planned height of the dome and towers, which he crowned with statues, introducing French taste in the work.

When he died in 1783, almost one third of the vaults and the dome still remained to be to be completed. Miguel de Olivares succeeded him. Due to technical differences on how to continue the works, the Cabildo consulted the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. They tuned to King Carlos IV who in 1790  declared himself their protector and appointed Manuel Machuca the works director. In 1796 the works were paralyzed again and it was not until stability returned to Spain that the works could continue. The Valencian Juan Daura resumed the works in 1832 and for economy and speed, he considerably reduced the height of the drum and the dome, thus completing the works in 1853. The Cathedral was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest on June 4, 1931.

Visit

A grandiose structure capped by a dome of golden tiles was described by Richard Ford as "a stranded wreck on a quicksand." This 18th Century Baroque cathedral gets few visitors. This is a welcome change after the hordes of visitors in places such as Seville, so you have the cathedral experience, as it should be - in silence.

Audio Guide

The admission includes an Audioguide. The QR code on the entrance ticket takes your mobilephone to a audio guide in several languages.

High Altar

The high altar of the Presbitery is the most ornate part of the cathedral.

Choir

The Choir is located in the central nave, in front of the main altar. The 41 choir stalls are works of art themselves. The upper ones carved in 1701 for the La Cartuja Monestary in Sevilla and brought to Cadiz Cathedral in 1840.  The individual choir stalls are framed with twisted wooden columns and each one contains a statue of a saint and above angels playing musical instruments. 

The Choir enclosure has the two organs. The one to the left  and 1701 of the choir originally belonging to the Church of Santa Cruz (the Old Cathedral). The new organ was made in 1870. The Cádiz Cathedral has an extensive musical archive with works by composers such as Juan Domingo Vidal, Zabala, Padilla, García Fajer, Delgado and Gálvez.

Sacristy

The Saristy consists of two parts: the sacristy and its antechamber. The antechamber is an octagonal space crowned by a lantern supported on Ionic pilasters. Visitors can not enter the Sacristy itself but peer through the door grill see the rectangular space, covered by a vaulted ceiling and, in the background, a striking neoclassical altar made of marble in the center there is a marvelous medallion illustrating the apparition of Christ to Saint Catherine.

The Sacristy room is decorated with fabulous canvases and the richly carved wooden chest of drawers covered in marble, where the stewed figures of Saint Joseph and the Risen One stand out. The central space is covered by a white marble table supported by four balusters and a set of red armchairs with red upholstery for the chancel. Lonley red velvet upolstered chairs sit around the outside.

Crypt

A highlight is basement crypt. If you stand in the middle of the circular dome and make a slight noise the reverberating echo effect it produces is truly wonderful. It is said this is in part due to the proximity of the sea and the humidity of the ground. It is also said that in touching the walls you can feel the waves.

The statue of Christ of Aguiniga, brought from America at the beginning of the 17th century, presides over the enclosure.  An impressive collection of church treasures can be viewed. One is of the Roman martyr Santa Victoria, whose face is covered by a wax mask.  A statue of the Virgen del Rosario, in Italian marble, the work of Alejandro Algardi.

The Crypt was built between 1732 and 1730 made of oyster stone. The bright marble walls and ceiling contrast with the sobriety of the crypt.  You may notice that the ceiling dome is almost flat.  the master mason Vicente Acero relied on his engineering knowledge to calculate the curve of the arch.

The central dome gives way to five alcoves. In one, the most simply decorated  lies the tomb of two illustrious sons of Cadiz; composer Manuel de Falla, (1876-1946)  and poet and playwright José María Pemán. (1898-1981). The stone with which the tomb of Manual Falla is made, is from Sierra Elvira, near Granada and the Alhambra and has the inscription: “Only to God, Honour and Glory, is striking”.  The tomb of José María Pemán, in white marble, is protected with bronze balusters that support a Golden Fleece.

In other alcoves are the tombs of the Bishops, who have died in Cádiz since the consecration of the New Cathedral.

Bell Tower

The admission includes a visit to the top of the 'levante' (eastern) belltower. Climb up the never ending spiral ramp inside the stone tower to the top for spectacular 360 degree views over the cathedral roof to the city and the bay. The entrance is a separate door to the left of the cathedral entrance. Don't miss it!

 

16 Chapels

Around the inside of the cathedral perimeter wall are sixteen different chapels.

Capilla de San Pedro - Chapel of Saint Peter
An interesting neoclassical altarpiece in stone and marble; In the niche there is a life-size marble image of San Pedro, the work of the Genoese Esteban Frucos. It was preciously located in the entrance of the old cathedral. The altarpiece is topped with a curved pediment and a painting of Saint Peter.

Capilla de la Asunción Chapel of the Assumption (2)
This Baroque-style Italian marble (with Jasper from Mijas) altarpiece, supported by four twisted Solomonic (Barley-sugar helical) column is presided over by a high-quality Baroque-style image of the Asuncion of Mary. In the side niches are the images of San Martín and San Fermín by  Ignacio Vergara; the floor is a rich coloured marble mosaic. This chapel is the only one to be completed from the origial designs and was the first to be opened for worship, in March 1775 being before the Cathedral's works were completed. 

Capilla de San Sebastián - Chapel of Saint Sebastian
The altar is presided over by a painting that represents the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, by the Genoese Andrea Ansaldi, painted in 1621. In front of it is a statue of Ecce Homo, by Luisa Roldán dated 1684. In the side niches are two polychromate sculptures of Saint Antonio and Saint Pascual Bailón, both by Ignacio Vergara.

Capilla de Santo Tomás de Villanueva Chapel of Saint Tomas de Villanueva
On the altar are two Murillo copy paintings that represent Saint Tomas de Villanueva giving food to the poor, by Antonio Quesada, and an statue of the child Jesus with the habit of the Trinitarian order. The side niches contain marble images of Saint Claire and Saint  Fernando by José Bover in 1856.

Capilla del Santo Ángel de la Guarda Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angel
With an altar presided over by painting of the Holy Guardian Angel, and another that represents San Benito, both by Joaquín Manuel Fernández Cruzado in 1838 and 1842, respectively. On the altar table there is a sculpture of Saint Anthony from the Levantine school of the 18th century. In the side niches there are images of San Lorenzo and San Bernardo, both Italian sculptures from the Chapel of the Genoveses of the Church of Santa Cruz.

Capilla de Fray Diego José de Cádiz Chapel of Fray Diego José de Cádiz
A Neoclassical altarpiece with the image of Fray Diego José de Cádiz by Diego García Alonso in 1890. The attic of the altarpiece is occupied by a marble relief of Santa Gertrudis and above it there is a small painting of the Holy Guardian Angel.

Capilla de San Benito Chapel of Saint Benedict
An altar presided over by a painting that represents Saint Benedict Carlos Blanco in 1838. In the side niches we find images of San Antonio and the Virgen de Esperanza, of Flemish origin from the 17th century.

Capillas de San Servando y San Germán Chapels of Saint Servando and Saint Germán
Featured are the sculptures of the Patrons of Cadiz: the brothers Saint Servando and Saint Germán. They were made in 1687 by the Sevillian sculptress Luisa Roldán "La Roldana". 

Capilla de Santa Teresa Chapel of Saint Teresa
Presided over by a painting of Saint Teresa by Cornelio Schut in 1668. In front of it is a contemporary image of Saint Pius X and in the side niches there are carvings from the 18th century of Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Capilla del Sagrario Tabernacle Chapel
Made of marble and presided over by an Immaculate Conception by Ignacio Vergara from 18th century.

Capilla de San José Chapel of Saint Joseph
The altar has a painting of Saint Joseph and another of Saint Antonio de Padua, by José García Chicano from Cádiz in 1838. In the upper part there is a painting of the Virgen del Carmen and on both sides there are marble images from the 17th century of Saint George and Saint John the Baptist..

Capilla de San Juan Bautista de la Salle  Chapel of Saint John Baptist de la Salle
Features marble altarpiece and the contemporary image of the Saint John Baptist de la Salle. In the side niches are the images of the Virgin and Saint Joseph, both by Victor de los Ríos, being Sevillian baroque works from the 18th century.

Capilla del Corazón de Jesús Chapel of the Heart of Jesus
Presided over by a sculpture of the holder in bronze, the work of Benlliure in 1935, which was made for a public monument. On both sides are the images of San Francisco Javier and San Ignacio de Loyola from the mid-eighteenth century.

Capilla de la Adoración de los Reyes Chapel of the Adoration of the Kings
Presided over by a canvas of the Adoration of the Kings attributed to Pablo Legot and a carving of Jesús of Nazareth  by the Italian Pedro Campana, dated at the beginning of the 18th century. In the side niches are the Baroque images of Santo Tomás and San Patrico.

Capilla de San Pablo  St. Paul's Chapel
A neoclassical altarpiece with the life-size image of Saint Paul made in marble, the work of Estaban Frucos, made in 1672.

Cadiz Cathedral

Opening Times:

Monday-Saturday, 10:00-19:00hrs
Sunday, 13:30-16:30hrs

Entrance

General, €6
Over 65, €5
Students under 25 and Groups (+20), €4
Children under 12, Free Entrance

Contact

Tel: 956 28 61 54

Location

Located in Plaza de la Catedral

Destinations

See and Do

Living in Andalucia