Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, (better known as Seville Cathedral), is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville (Andalusia, Spain).
The cathedral stands on the site of what was, in the 12th century, the Great Mosque. Today, the only part which remains of this structure is the minaret, also known as the Giralda due to the weather vane added to the top in the 16th century. The Abluciones courtyard and today's Puerta del Perdón door are also parts of the old mosque. It was converted into a Christian church when the city was conquered by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1248.
It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. It is also the largest cathedral in the world, as the two larger churches, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida and St. Peter's Basilica, are not the seats of bishops. It is the largest Gothic building in Europe, and also boasts the largest altarpiece in the world.
After its completion in the early 16th century, the Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years. The cathedral is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus.
Seville Cathedral was built to demonstrate the city's wealth, as it had become a major trading center in the years after the Reconquista in 1248. In July, 1401 it was decided to build a new cathedral. According to local oral tradition, the members of the cathedral chapter said: "Hagamos una Iglesia tan hermosa y tan grandiosa que los que la vieren labrada nos tengan por locos" ("Let us build a church so beautiful and so grand that those who see it finished will think we are mad").
Construction began in 1402 and continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish gave half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and laborers and other expenses.
Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the dome collapsed and work on the cathedral recommenced. The dome again collapsed in 1888 (due to an earthquake), and work was still being performed on the dome until at least 1903.