One of the most imposing cathedrals in Spain is Cadiz Cathedral in the coastal city of the same name in southern Spain. Recognized by its golden dome, it stands pompously between the promenade and the quaint Plaza de la Catedral square.
It is easily one of the most prominent landmarks in Cadiz and one that you will not miss when sightseeing in the city. The church took over a hundred years to build and stood finished in 1838. Nearly 100 years later, it was declared a site of Cultural Interest.
Cadiz Cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of Santa Cruz Sobre el Mar (Santa Cruz over the Sea) and Cathedral of Santa Cruz Sobre el Agua (Santa Cruz over the Water.) Besides, the cathedral is referred to as the New Cathedral (Catedral Nueva.)
This is because there was a previous cathedral nearby, Santa Cruz, that was built in the 1260s. However, the population outgrew it and the new cathedral was built. When the new place of worship was designated cathedral, the old one was designated parish church. They are both dedicated to the Holy Cross.
It is said that Cadiz Cathedral is home to a piece of wood from the actual cross where Jesus Christ was crucified as well as a thorn from his crown. They lay in their own reliquaries from the 17th century.
Visiting the Catedral De Cádiz is one of the best things to do in Cadiz. The entrance fee of 7 Euros includes the climb up to the clock tower. Children under 12 years of age enter for free, and there are special rates for students and pensioners.
Inside the church, you will be met by imposing columns holding the tall ceiling. Several chapels dedicated to different saints are located on each side of the main altarpiece.
Worth noticing is the beautiful central choir where you can see the dark wooden details and the two organs. One of these has been transferred from the old Cadiz cathedral and dates all the way back to the 16th century, just like the one in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City. Also the neoclassical high altar is stunning. It is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.
There are also exhibits of religious artifacts and in the Cathedral Museum, you can see the same table where the first Spanish constitution was signed in Cadiz back in 1812.
Below the church, you can enter the crypt where several important persons and bishops are buried. Among them, one of Spain’s most important composers and pianists, Manuel de Falla, born in Cadiz in 1876.
Another important native to Cadiz buried in the crypt is the writer José María Pemán. But you can also find the tomb of a little girl that died in Cadiz Cathedral on the day of her first communion. She is commonly referred to as the “Communion Girl”.
The crypt is the oldest part of the Catedral Nueva, dating back to the early 1730s when it was designed by Vicente Acero. It is incredible to walk through with its spacious stone vault. You will find the stairs down to the crypt behind the main altar.
Climbing up to the bell tower offers sweeping views of the city and some of the most beautiful beaches in Cadiz making it a must during your visit.
The climb up is mainly a ramp with only a few steps on the top. It is designed just like the Giralda Tower in Seville, so that it would be possible to climb the tower by horseback. There is no elevator to the top of the clocktower, thus it is not wheelchair accessible.
Catedral De Cádiz has two clock towers, but only the left tower (eastern side) is open to the public. It is referred to as the Levante Tower. Towering 56 meters high, it is the only tower you can climb in Cadiz besides the Tavira Tower which is nestled a little bit further into the old town (and by the way offers epic views of the cathedral above the rooftops!)
The clocks in the clock towers are among the oldest ones in the country, designed by José Miguel de Zugasti in the 19th century. Though they have not been in use since the mid-20th century, they have undergone several renovations.
Bio: Linn of Amused by Andalucia
Linn Haglund is an avid traveler and travel writer that has called Andalucia home for over 10 years. Algarve quickly turned into one of her favorite getaways close to home, so she created Amused by Andalucia to help travelers navigate this intriguing corner of Portugal. Follow Linn from Amused by Andalucia on Instagram and YouTube.
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