Catedral de la Asunción de la Virgen, Jaen

Catedral de la Asunción de la Virgen

Like most Andalusian cathedrals, the primitive cathedral of Jaén was created from a  former Muslim mosque. In the year 1492,  under the Bishopric of Don Luis de Osorio, work on a new church began by, Pedro López, with the help of Enrique Egas.

The works continued until the year 1510, although part of it had to be demolished in 1525.  After a period of inactivity, the Cabildo decided in 1548 to ask master builders, Jerónimo Quijano, Pedro Machuca and Andres de Vandelvira for proposals.    Andrés de Vandelvira was chosen to lead the project. He began by preserving some of the basements and wall canvases built by Pedro López, decorating them with a robust strip of Gothic foliage.

The new church had a simple rectangular plan, and was configured as a splendid main hall with three naves, with side chapels-niches and a flat chevet. As in the case of the cathedrals of Granada, Guadix and Baeza, its pillars were increased with Corinthian columns of fluted shafts with canes at different heights. This was typical in the works of Vandelvira, but even surpassing the previous grandeur in this work, and with a classicism of even greater perfection. On the side of the epistle, Vandelvira raised his majestic Sacristy, turning it into one of his most original compositions. The hall is covered with a barrel vault decorated with medallions. The church was completed in 1577, two years after the master’s death. The Sacristy, together with the Chapter House, form two of the indisputable masterpieces of the best Renaissance architecture in Andalucia.

Juan de Aranda y Salazar was called in 1634 by Bishop Baltasar de Moscoso to continue the works carried out by Vandelvira, He built the main chapel and those on the side of the Gospel. His most personal works being the great dome and the northern portal of the nave. Eufrasio López de Rojas, Master of this Cathedral from 1659, designed its sumptuous main façade, which was completed in 1688. The culmination of the cathedral was under the charge of José Gallego who, from 1726 on, took care of the closing of part of its vaults, and the construction of the choir and the traces of the retro-choir, not made exactly according to his design, and which house a large painting by Mariano Salvador Maella representing the Sagrada Família.

The Cathedral was Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1931.

Holy Face on th Veil

The Cathedral in Jaén is at odds with four other religious sanctuaries, all claiming to possess the “Santo Rostro” or “Holy Face”. This is supposedly the veil of a woman who was following Christ as he carried the cross. Legend says she took off her veil to dry his tears and the imprint of his face stayed in the cloth. From there, the veil was supposed to have made its way it to either Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Sacred Heart Basilica in Paris, the Santa Faz Monastery in Alicante, the Holy Face Hermitage in Honrubia (Cuenca, Spain) or the Jaén Cathedral. You can be sure the people of Jaén believe the real veil lies with them.

Cathedral museum

The Cathedral holds a Museum declared a Historic-Artistic Monument and Asset of Cultural Interest. Its content in sacred art (paintings, sculptures, goldsmithing, furniture, ornaments, choral books) particularly stands out; as well as an altarpiece by Pedro de Machuca and an Inmaculada Triunfante sobre el Pecado Original, by Sebastián Martínez. Located in Plaza de Santa María. Open as Cathedral. 


Adult, €6 (includes audio guide)
Over 65, €5
12-18 years, €4
Under 12, free
Groups (minimum 20), €3.50


Tuesday-Friday, 10:00-14:30hrs and 16:30-18:30 hrs
Saturday, 10:00-17:30 hrs
Sunday, 10:00-11:30hrs and 14:00-17:30 hrs


Tel: 953 23 42 33

Location of Catedral de la Asunción de la Virgen

Located in Plaza Santa María.


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