Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain – 8 Most Stunning Churches In Spain That Are A Work Of Art – 8 Most Ancient Churches in Spain
Churches in Spain are characteristic of this country. Because it has long been famous for its strong Catholic background, and some of Spain’s holy places are always among the top famous in the world. Here, Top10theworld.com would like to introduce the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain that have been established here for a long time.
Church of Sagrada Família
First on the list of Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain is the Sagrada Família church. Construction of the Sagrada Família church began in 1882. Today it has become one of the symbols of Barcelona, known around the world and visited by millions of people.
The master of Catalan art nouveau, Antoni Gaudí, devoted himself to the construction of this church. A towering church in Gothic style. And even then, he couldn’t finish it; Gaudí is known for saying “My client (God) is in no hurry.” The Sagrada Família Church, funded by private donations, is still under construction to this day and is expected to be completed. become in 2026.
This is not only Gaudí’s most recognized work, but also his best. But in fact, the first architect assigned to build this place was Francesc del Paula Villar; he was replaced after disagreeing with church supporters. When Gaudí took on the project, he changed it completely. Instead of the original neo-Gothic style, he was aiming for something more creative. Although the church has Gothic elements, there are many other unique details, resulting in an eye-catching structure that is completely unique.
Address: de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Considered the first Gothic church in Spain and also one of the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain, Ávila Cathedral is both a church and a fortress. It sits on the remains of a building that was originally intended for El Salvador. In 1172, King Alfonso VIII decided to enlarge the original building and entrusted the project to the French master builder, Fruchel. He was ordered to begin the amalgamation of the existing building in Roman Gothic style, transitional and Caleno Granite construction. After his death, the second phase of construction brought in new materials, but the project continued in the Gothic style.
The Cathedral of Ávila has a well-defined Burgundian style, perched on a Latin cross layout made up of three naves. It is bounded at the bottom by two square towers (the one on the right is unfinished and the one on the left is finished from Merlon panels and narrow windows), covered by a grooved dome on the top half. columns attached to columns separating the nave, reinforced by pointed arches.
In the height difference between the naves, there is a double stained-glass window that was damaged in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and had to be replaced. The first body of the tower and nave date from the 13th century, the second body of the tower is the monastery (completed in the 16th century) and the vaults and flying booths date from the 14th century. The entrance gate (door) of the Apostles, from the 13th century) was dismantled and brought to the north wall in the second half of the 15th century – Juan Guas is the author of the new door to the west. The roof as it is today was placed on top of the original Granite roof in 1578 after the side walls were built of brick. Construction was completed in the late 16th – early 17th centuries with the addition of a number of chapels.
Address: Plaza de la Catedral, 8 05001 Ávila (Castilla y Leon), Spain
Basilica of Santa Maria La Real De Covadonga
This is the next name in the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain. In 1777, a fire destroyed the ancient temple adjacent to the Holy Cave where Our Lady of Covadonga is venerated. After that, it was decided to build a new church as a monumental cathedral, from donations throughout Spain. This plan was opposed by the local council, as the clergy wanted to rebuild the temple of the Holy Cave and an ambitious sanctuary once designed by Ventura Rodríguez, but never completed. A century later, the project was continued by King Alfonso XII, as he was deeply interested in its completion.
The classic design of Ventura Rodríguez, which was difficult and expensive, was replaced by a Neo Medieval design. This new project was devised by Roberto Frassinelli – who is known as Corao’s German. But he was replaced by Federico Aparici y Soriano – who studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts San Fernando. However, despite this decision, Frassinelli still directed the construction work.
The Basilica of Santa Maria La Real De Covadonga exhibits a great unity in the standards of the Romanesque style from which it was conceived, although it also includes elements of Gothic architecture. The church has three compartments, the middle one is significantly higher than the two outer ones; with a nave and top tower. The entrance is formed by an archway in front of the nave, with three semicircular domes topped by balustrades. Throughout the church is a striking pale pink color due to the type of limestone that contrasts with the green of the landscape. Inside, the most prominent is an image of Our Lady placed on the main altar – this is the work of 19th century sculptor Juan Samsó.
Address: Covadonga, Cangas de Onís, Spain
Segovia Cathedral is an impressive Gothic-style church, located above the town of Segovia, Castile Leon-Spain. This church, built between 1525 and 1577 during the reign of King Charles V, is the last late Gothic church in Spain. Its construction was carried out after the city’s old church was destroyed in battles between the Castilian royal army and the commune, who had taken over the church to protect the relics.
After a months-long siege, the church was ruined. The new church was relocated and designed by Juan Gil de Hontanon; It has three tall domes, with intricately patterned windows and stained glass. The interior is in late Gothic style, however the dome was later added in 1630. The stone spire is also an addition from 1614, from a fire during a thunderstorm that destroyed the Gothic spire. originally built of American mahogany – a symbol of the Iberian presence in the Americas, was once the tallest tower in Spain.
The church in the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain impresses with its 90 meter high tower and exquisite religious artworks. These include works such as Juan de Juni’s “Crying for the Dead God”, “Triple Painting” by Flemish artist Ambrosius Benson and the altar by José de Churriguera. Inside the convent, designed by García de Cubillas. There is a beautiful bronze ceiling carved in 1559, and a collection of Flemish tapestries narrating images of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. Today, the Cathedral of Segovia is part of the old town of Segovia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Address: Plaza Mayor, s/n, 40001 Segovia, Spain
Cathedral of Toledo
It seems that Toledo church got its name because it was founded in the 6th Century by San Eugenio – the first Bishop of Toledo and it is also one of the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain. However, the Muslim invasion turned it into a mosque, known as La Mayor.
When King Alfonso VI recaptured Toledo, it became a cathedral. Later, San Fernando ordered its destruction and ordered the laying of the first stone in 1227. Toledo Cathedral has 5 naves supported by 88 giant pillars, throughout. More than 750 artistic stained-glass windows from the 15th and 16th centuries bring great beauty and perfect brightness to the interior. Outside, there are 5 monumental doors, three side doors leading to the great basilica. However, the best element to highlight its grandeur and artistry is the altar in the main chapel by Rodrigo Alemán, Vigarni, Egas and Pedro Gumiel. It consists of five bodies simulating New Testament scenes with life-size multicolored sculptures made of gilded wood. Commissioned by Cardinal-Cisneros from 1497 to 1504.
Along with that is the chapel of Saint James dating from the 15th Century, in the style of Resplendent; It is also the place where the coffins of General Álvaro de Luna and his wife Juana de Pimentel are located. The choir includes 72 chairs by Alonso de Berruguete and Felipe Vigarni, who arrived from Burgundy in 1540. The upper part is the genealogy of Christ according to the gospels; Below are the saints of the church. The space leading to the Holy Room is the entrance to a real museum with works by such known artists as: Jordan, Caxés, Ricci. Especially impressive is the room “El Ochavo” – a lavish space dating back to the late 16th century; with its octagonal floor, is part of the Sacrarium. It houses an interesting collection of works such as: Relics of Saint Luis, and busts of Saints Juan Bautista, La Cruz or Cardinal Mendoza.
Address: Calle Cardenal Cisneros, 1, 45002 Toledo, Spain
If you are looking for the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain, you cannot miss the Burgos Cathedral, at Plaza de Santa María. It started in 1080, when Alfonso VI – king of the ancient kingdom of Castile, ordered the construction of a Romanesque church in the city of Burgos (the church of Santa María de Burgos). In 1219, this church held an important ceremony for the kingdom of Castile; it was the wedding of the then king Ferdinand III, and the German princess, Beatrice of Swabia (daughter of the Holy Roman emperor – Frederick II of Swabia Hohenstaufen).
By the 13th century, Burgos was recognized as an important bishopric and center of commerce. Then, Bishop Don Mauricio – who presided over the wedding of King Ferdinand III and Princess Beatrice, proposed to the king to build a new church that imitates European style trends; it will have a majesty to rival its Parisian neighbor like Notre Dame.
In 1885, Burgos Cathedral was officially recognized as a National Monument, helping to restore it after it was looted by the French army during the war of independence. In 1984, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Address: Plaza de Santa Maria, Burgos, Spain
Seville Cathedral (Santa Maria de la Sede) is the largest Gothic church in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the same time, it is also the name in the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain.
The construction of this church lasted more than a century, from 1401 to 1506. It occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque which was built in the late 12th century by the Almohads, ruled by the Moorish dynasty. . Of which the only remains are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon (located on Calle Alemanes to the north), and the Giralda (formerly a minaret, now a bell tower).
The central nave of the Seville church is 42 meters high, with 80 chapels. The total area covers 11,520m2, and according to some new calculations based on cubic measurements, now puts it ahead of the church of Saint Peter in Rome, as well as the cathedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida in Brazil; to become the largest church in the world. But this is still a controversial topic, as many consider it only the third largest in the world.
In addition, it is also the burial place of the famous explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus and Alfonso X of Castile, and the 13th-century kings of Castile, León and Galicia.
Address: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Seville, Spain
Last in the Top 8 Most Famous Ancient Churches in Spain is the Cathedral of Santiago. In the 9th century, Bishop Teodomiro of Iria Flavia identified a small Roman temple with the tomb of the apostle Saint James. As a result of this discovery, King Alfonso II “The Chaste” ordered the construction of a modest church around the pagan structure, an increase in pilgrimages and a certain stability after the raids. Arab attack, led to new construction beginning in 1075, during the reign of King Alfonso VI and under the direction of Archbishop Diego de Peláez. beginning, continued during the reign of Archbishop Diego Gelmírez, and did not stop until it became the large church we can see today.
Santiago Cathedral is built of Granite with a roof, of panels of the same material. Romanesque construction on a Latin cross plan. Side chapels are arranged along the entire interior with private spaces.
Over the centuries, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world have made their way to this place. It was here, in a crypt below the main altar, that they could visit the tomb of Saint James enshrined in a silver urn, along with the graves of his disciples Saint Athanasius and Saint Theodore . In addition to being one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world, Santiago Cathedral is also a magnificent work of art and religious architecture.
Address: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Seville, Spain
In conclusion, Spain is home to some of the most magnificent and historically significant churches in the world. From the towering Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela to the intricate details of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, these ancient churches are not only places of worship, but also testaments to the architectural and artistic achievements of the past. Whether you are a history buff or a religious pilgrim, a visit to these top eight ancient churches in Spain is sure to leave you in awe of their grandeur and beauty.