Granada Cathedral is a true work of art in which the visitor can discover some of the keys of the history of Spain. Built between 1506 and 1704, its construction was full of setbacks and vicissitudes that caused its initial plan to be reformulated once and a thousand times. Do you want to know some of their secrets? Well, watch out.
It is the first Renaissance style in Spain
Indeed, the cathedral of Granada is the first cathedral that is built in Renaissance style. This is due to a decision of Emperor Charles V, He chose this architectural style as an emblem of his reign. Before, the Catholic Monarchs had chosen the Gothic style as the style of their royal house.
Although its first architect, Enrique Egas, had devised a Gothic cathedral in the style of the cathedral of Toledo, it was replaced by Diego de Siloé, who replanted it from the foundations.
Siloe modified some foundations that were already made and began to build a totally innovative temple for the time. Thus, he replaced the straight header with the curved header and made five ships instead of the three conventional ones.
Its plant is based on the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem
It seems that Diego de Siloé knew the Holy Sepulcher, surely through images and stories that the pilgrims brought to Europe. And, since Granada was configured as the new champion of the Christian faith, what better way to build its larger temple in image and likeness than the one in which Christ was buried.
The Holy Sepulcher combined central plant plus basilical plant. And because of that, Siloé conjugated the rectangular plant of five ships and the circular plant, the latter being the ambulatory of the cathedral of Granada.
It was projected as pantheon of the Austrias
Precisely, The ambulatory was projected as a burial zone for the kings of Spain. After seeing the Royal Chapel in which his grandparents (the Catholic Monarchs) and their parents (Juana la Loca and Felipe el Hermoso) were buried, the emperor Carlos V seemed like a place«narrow and dark more typical of merchants than kings ».
Thus, Diego de Siloe projects a main altar with a series of arches in which each of the Spanish monarchs would be buried. But nevertheless, his son, Felipe II, ordered that the family pantheon be built in the Monastery of El Escorial, in Madrid.
The cathedral of Granada has a starry sky
Its main chapel is covered by a starry sky of gold over blue that was discovered after restoration work. This was hidden by plaster moldings that prevented seeing the magnificent dome of ribs projected by Siloe.
The towers of the cathedral of Granada were never built
Like all cathedrals, the one in Granada had to have two imposing towers of several bodies and 81 meters high that would frame its facade. But of them, only part of the left tower was built.
This should have six bodies, but it is formed only by three. Even though several more bodies were built, dismantled due to constant landslides, which even caused the death of several workers. Even so, this tower has a height of 57 meters, which gives us an idea of the magnitude of the projected tower.
Regarding the second tower, it was never built. At present we find only part of the first body, which is crowned by an angel.
Its architecture inspires inside and outside Spain
The importance that this cathedral had at the time allowed it to serve as a model inside and outside our borders. A) Yes, the closest samples are found in Guadix Cathedral, in the province of Granada, and in the cathedral of Malaga. Both were projected by Diego de Siloé in the 16th century.
But also, its architecture also influenced the cathedrals of the New World. In this way, we can see its large columns of terraced pilasters in the cathedral of Cuzco, in Peru.
The visit to the cathedral of Granada can be done every day of the year and it has several schedules and modalities that can be consulted on its website. Are you going to miss this work of art?