From the World Heritage inscription:
Together the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias as a series, form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville. They perfectly epitomize the Spanish “Golden Age”, incorporating vestiges of Islamic culture, centuries of ecclesiastical power, royal sovereignty and the trading power that Spain acquired through its colonies in the New World.
Founded in 1403 on the site of a former mosque, the Cathedral, built in Gothic and Renaissance style, covers seven centuries of history. With its five naves it is the largest Gothic building in Europe. Its bell tower, the Giralda, was the former minaret of the mosque, a masterpiece of Almohad architecture and now is important example of the cultural syncretism thanks to the top section of the tower, designed in the Renaissance period by Hernán Ruiz. Its “chapter house” is the first known example of the use of the elliptical floor plan in the western world. Ever since its creation, the Cathedral has continued to be used for religious purposes.
The cathedral in Seville is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the third largest church overall. It took over the title of the largest church in the world from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul which held the title for over 700 years. It is also the burial site for Christopher Columbus who’s body was interred there in the early 20th Century. The bell tower was built to resemble the Koutoubia Mosque in Morocco.
Seville should be a high priority for any trip to Spain. The high speed train makes it very accessible from Madrid.
View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.