CADIZ CATHEDRAL

Catedral de Cádiz
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The iconic Catedral de Cadiz is the most emblematic building from Cadiz’s golden age – a time when a royal decree gave the city a monopoly over all of the riches coming from the New World. The cathedral was built to impress. It sits on the waterfront and is topped off with a massive golden dome that sparkles intensely in the sunlight. Even far out at sea, you can easily see its golden glow. The Baroque, Rococo & Neoclassical styled cathedral is one of the top things to see in Cadiz. Even if you don’t go inside, make sure you take a walk around and admire its beauty.

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OPENING TIMES

Monday to Saturday: 10am to 4:30pm

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PRICE

General admission: 6€
Senior citizens: 5€
Students (12-25 years), disabled: 4€
Children (0-12 years): free

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ADDRESS

Plaza de la Catedral, 11005 Cádiz

VIEW MAP
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History of the Cadiz Cathedral

Views of the Catedral de Cadiz from the waterfront – Andalusia, Spain
Views of the Catedral de Cadiz from the waterfront

LA CATEDRAL VIEJA (THE OLD CATHEDRAL)

Cadiz actually has two cathedrals that are located just a few minutes walk from one another. The Catedral Vieja (old cathedral), whose official name is Parroquia de Santa Cruz, was built by King Alfonso X in 1262. It is believed that is was erected directly on top of a mosque from the time when the Moors ruled the Spanish peninsula.

Since Cadiz was an important sea port, it was under constant attack by pirates and other marauders. In 1596, the city was invaded by British and Dutch troops who burned the cathedral to the ground. The church that we see today was rebuilt after the fire and consecrated as a cathedral in 1602. The famous military engineer Cristóbal de Rojas was responsible for rebuilding the church and the fortifications of Cadiz.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE CATEDRAL NUEVA (NEW CATHEDRAL)

With the transfer in 1717 of the Casa de la Contratación from Seville to Cadiz, the 18th century would become the Golden Age of Cadiz. The Casa de la Contratación gave Cadiz total control of commercial activity with the New World. Cadiz became the only port that was allowed to trade with the Indies, which generated an enormous economic impact on the city.

At this time, the Catedral Vieja was in a poor state and the city wanted to build a new cathedral that showed off its new found glory as an economic super hub. The new cathedral was meant to be a focal point for the ships arriving from the Americas and in turn was also to be financed by them. A cuartillo – one quarter of one percent – of all the goods that arrived to Cadiz was set aside for the new project. Because of the way it was financed, the cathedral has even been nicknamed the “cathedral of the Americas.”

Historic photo of Cadiz's Cathedral – Spain
Historic photo of the Cadiz Cathedral

Work on the Catedral de Cádiz began in 1722 under the command of architect Vicente Acero, who had previously worked on the Catedral de Granada. At this point, the cathedral’s style combined Spanish architectural tradition with Italian Baroque.

After Acero's resignation in 1739, he was replaced by Gaspar Cayón, his nephew Torcuato Cayón, Miguel Olivares and Manuel Machuca. With the passing of the years and the different construction managers, the cathedral changed styles – from baroque to rococo and then to neoclassical.

Bell in the tower of the Catedral de Cadiz – Andalusia, Spain
Bell in the Catedral de Cadiz

At the end of the 18th century, Cadiz was affected by the decrease in trade with the Americas. This, together with the revolutionary atmosphere of the time, caused the works of the cathedral to be paralyzed in 1796.

The works of the Catedral de la Santa Cruz were resumed in 1832, directed by the architect Juan Daura. Finally in 1838, after 116 years of construction, the works were completed and the Cathedral of Cadiz was consecrated. However, despite the consecration of the church, much remained unfinished due to a lack of finances.

Interior of the Cadiz Cathedral covered by nets to catch any falling debris
Interior of the Cadiz Cathedral

Since some parts of the temple were unfinished, they were subsequently exposed to the weather. In addition, the cathedral is located next to the sea which has further accelerated the weathering, causing parts to crumble little by little. Since the 1970’s, restoration work has been carried out in an attempt to stop the degradation. However, a definitive solution has yet to be found and to this day, the cathedral’s vaults are covered by nets to catch any falling debris.

What to See in the Catedral de Cadiz

Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square) in Cadiz – Spain
Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square)

In our opinion, the Cathedral of Cadiz is most impressive when viewed along the seaside. Walking along the Paseo del Campo del Sur is one of out favorite things to do in Cadiz. Here you can take in the ocean views while the waves crash against the breakwater and watch how the sun’s rays dance on the cathedral’s golden dome.

The Plaza de la Catedral is also another great place to admire the exterior of the cathedral with its neoclassical facade. And what better way to do it than relaxing and having a drink at one of the terraces of the many bars and restaurants in the square.

Ornate wooden choir stalls in Cadiz's Cathedral, Andalusia – Spain
Wooden choir stalls in Cadiz's Cathedral

Inside the cathedral, the standout piece is the neoclassical high altar dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The choir with its ornate wooden choir stalls is another highlight. It’s accompanied by two imposing organs. One of them dates back to the 16th century and is from the old cathedral.

Crypt under the main altar of the Cathedral of Cadiz – Spain
Crypt under the main altar

However, the crypt is probably the most emblematic space of the cathedral of Cadiz. Designed by Vicente Acero and completed in 1732, it is the oldest part of the cathedral. The crypt is located under the main altar and is characterized by its almost flat vault. The echo that the vault produces is incredible. Buried in the crypt are bishops and famous people from Cadiz such as the composer Manuel de Falla and the writer José María Pemán.

Views over the city of Cadiz from the Torre del Reloj – Cadiz Cathedral
Views from the Torre del Reloj

The visit of the Cathedral of Cadiz also includes the Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower), which is one of the twin towers of the cathedral. Standing 74 meters high, the tower offers beautiful views of the city and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean. It’s named after the clock that was added in the mid-19th century. The clock has been recently restored and is one of the oldest clocks in Spain.

Museo Catedralicio (Cathedral Museum)

Cadiz Cathedral seen from the Torre Tavira – Spain
Cadiz Cathedral seen from the Torre Tavira

The Cathedral Museum of Cadiz was inaugurated in 2000 and is included in the entrance fee to the cathedral. It is located 2 minutes walk from the cathedral, in the Plaza Fray Felix. It occupies several buildings of the sixteenth century: the tower of the old cathedral, the Casa de la Contaduría and the houses of the Canónigos Termineli and Rajón.

The Museum houses an exhibition of works of art and sculptures, mostly of a religious nature or related to the history of Cadiz. Particularly noteworthy are the following rooms:

  • Sala de la Inmaculada de la Contratación is dedicated to the political and religious history of both Cadiz and all of Spain. It houses the Immaculate Conception painted in 1723 by the artist Alonso de Tobar.
  • Sala de las Custodias houses a collection of works of sacred art. The Custodia del Millón, made in the 18th century by Vicente Gómez de Ceballos stands out. This magnificent piece of religious goldsmithing is made of gilded silver, emeralds, rubies, diamonds and pearls.
  • Sala de la Plata (Silver Room) is dedicated to the Golden Age of Cadiz.
  • Sala 1812 is dedicated to the Cortes of Cadiz, its relationship with the church and the signing of the Constitution of 1812. It also contains the decree abolishing the Inquisition and the table where it was signed.

Cadiz Cathedral Mass Times

  • Saturdays: 9:30 am
  • Sundays: 12 pm
  • September 14th: Celebration of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
  • October 23rd: Eucharistic Celebration for the martyrdom of the saints Servando and Germán, patrons of the Diocese of Cadiz
  • November 28th: Eucharistic Celebration for the Consecration of the Cathedral of Cadiz

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