We are going to talk to you in this article about the largest cathedral in the world. But, so that you can complete your tourist guide of visits to great and wonderful temples, we will also mention some of the religious buildings that follow that one in terms of size. However, the first thing we must do is explain the difference between cathedral and basilica. You will soon understand why.
Both are religious constructions that receive that name from the Pope. But, while the second is a temple of great historical value for Christians (sometimes it is a Roman construction), a cathedral is because it has been designated the seat of a diocese and, therefore, of the bishopric. On the other hand, all the cathedrals have the title of minor basilicas, except that of St. John Lateran. as Rome, which is older. And this is important because, to tell you about the largest cathedral in the world, we must distinguish between both types of temples. That is, if we talk about basilicas, it is one, while, if we talk about cathedrals, it would be another.
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St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican
Indeed, the famous Vatican church is the largest basilica in the world, with no less than 20 square meters, and its construction lasted for more than a hundred years. It was built to replace the old church of constantinewhere, for example, Charlemagne He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. And, in turn, this was where it is believed that he was buried San Pedro.
Its design is mainly due to Miguel Angel, although the main artists of the time worked on its construction. Among them, Twine, Raphael sanzio, Bernini o Giacomo della Porta, disciple of the first. Between all of them, they created a building of undoubted Renaissance style, although it also includes Baroque elements.
Likewise, they built a temple according to the magnificence of the place and its importance. It measures more than two hundred meters in length and about one hundred and thirty in height, which will give you an idea of its dimensions. So will the fact that it belongs to the so-called giant order, an architectural style characterized, precisely, by its colossalism. For example, the columns of the main facade reach more than two stories.
Specifically, they frame the entrance and the so-called Balcony of Blessings because that is where the Pope stands to give them. On this there is an enormous high-relief work of Bounvicino and, above, a large pediment. In its upper part is the attic with eight large windows between pilasters. And, crowning this floor, there is a balustrade with thirteen gigantic statues over five meters high. They represent Christ, John the Baptist and eleven apostles. Missing, precisely, Saint Peter, whose effigy is, with Saint Paul, at the entrance to the basilica. Finally, a large dome over the ambulatory crowns the temple. It is the tallest in the world with almost one hundred and thirty-seven meters and dazzles by its majesty with almost forty-two in diameter.
Interior of Saint Peter's Basilica
You will also get an idea of the dimensions of this magnificent temple if we tell you that it has forty-five altars and eleven chapels adorned with imposing works of art. It consists of three naves separated by huge pillars. The central one is covered by a large barrel vault and has a marble floor that will catch your eye. Because it includes elements of the primitive temple. For example, the red porphyry disk from Egypt on which Charlemagne knelt. And also for the spectacular mosaics that adorn the surface.
On the other hand, between the arches there are statues of the virtues and, on the pillars, niches that house figures of thirty-nine founding saints. Finally, along the perimeter of the nave there is an inscription with letters two meters high.
Regarding the nave of the Epistle, to the right of the previous one, it houses several chapels. The first saves the Piety de Miguel Angel and it is followed by that of San Sebastián, whose ceiling is decorated with mosaics of Pietro da Crotona and where the tomb of John Paul II is located. Sculptural works follow Bernini and the chapel of the Holy Sacrament, with the door designed by Borromini.
On the other side of the temple is the nave of the Gospel, also with spectacular chapels. Among them, that of Baptism, the work of Carlo Fontana, that of the Presentation, where Saint Pius X is buried, or that of the Choir, with the altar of the Immaculate Conception.
For its part, after passing through the transept or perpendicular nave where the altars of San Wenceslao, San José and Santo Tomás are, you will arrive at the ambulatory. The figures of great personalities of the Church adorn this and it also has several altars. Among them, those of the Archangel Saint Michael, of Santa Petronila and of the Navicella.
Finally, in the presbytery or part that precedes the main altar, you will find the Chair of Saint Peter, a monumental throne by Bernini that includes what, according to legend, was the episcopal chair of Saint Peter. And in the transept is the papal altar under the baldachin of Saint Peter, with its four thirty-meter-high columns made of bronze.
Santa María de la Sede y de la Asunción de Sevilla, the largest cathedral in the world
Now, indeed, we are going to talk to you about what is, strictly speaking, the largest cathedral in the world. This is the one in Seville, declared Heritage and with 11 square meters Of surface. It was built between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries on top of an old mosque, of which two very characteristic elements have been preserved.
As you may have guessed, we are talking about the Giralda, which was its minaret, and no less beautiful Patio de los Naranjos. In the construction of the cathedral they worked the so-called Master Carlin (Charles Galter), a Frenchman who had already worked on Gothic cathedrals in France, Diego de Riano, Martin de Gainza, Asensio de Maeda y Hernan Ruiz.
The one in Seville is also Gothic, although it has Renaissance parts. Mainly it is about the Royal chapel, Main Sacristy and Chapter Room. For its part, Tabernacle Church, annexed to the cathedral and work of Miguel de Zumarragait is baroque.
On its west façade, the temple has three spectacular portals. the of the Baptism, with its archivolts and traceries, receives that name because it houses a relief of the Baptism of Christ in its tympanum. the of the assumption, in the center, was decorated, already in the XNUMXth century, with figures of the apostles created by Ricardo Bellver. Finally, that of San Miguel It contains a representation of the Birth of Christ and has several terracotta sculptures.
Interior of the Cathedral of Seville
The largest cathedral in the world is distributed in five naves without apse or ambulatory, at least in the strict sense. Because its plant is practically rectangular, with measures of 116 meters long by 76 wide. The central nave is taller than the others and includes two other buildings: the Chorus, with its large organs, and the Capilla Mayor trellised The latter is in the Renaissance style and its altarpiece is a jewel of art in which you can see a carving of the Virgin of the Headquarters dated in the thirteenth century. Likewise, the sculpture of Christ crucified, which is Gothic, stands out in this chapel.
On the other hand, the Sevillian cathedral houses many other chapels. Among them and as an example, we will mention the precious Alabaster Chapels, so called because they are made with this material and due to Diego de Riano y Juan Gil de Hontanon. But also the Chapel of the IncarnationThat of San GregorioThat of San Pedro or the Marshal's.
Another element that will catch your attention of the largest cathedral in the world are its beautiful stained glass. It has more than eighty, created between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries. Some are due to artists as prominent as Arno of Flanders, Henry German o Vincent Menardo.
The Cathedral Treasury
Finally, we will tell you about the Cathedral Treasury, which you can see on display in several rooms. It includes numerous paintings, tapestries and relics. Among the former, there are works by artists as prominent as Pacheco, Zurbaran, Murillo o Valdes Leal. But, above all the pieces of it, stand out for their magnificence the Custody of Arfe, with its five bodies and crowned by the statue of Faith and its no less imposing candelabrum of bronze or tenebrio more than seven meters high.
Likewise, it has sacred vessels, processional crosses, reliquaries, liturgical dresses and small altarpieces. It even has pieces related to the conquest of Seville by Ferdinand III in Santo. Among these, his sword, his banner and the keys to the city.
In conclusion, we have shown you the largest cathedral in the world. But we have also told you about the Basilica of San Pedro, which exceeds it in size. And, to finish, we want to mention other great Christian temples that will also dazzle you with their size and beauty. We talk about the spectacular Burgos cathedral, with its 12 square meters; of the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, in the state of São Paulo (Brazil), with 12; of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. as NY, with 11 square meters and the famous Duomo of Milan, which exceeds 11 square meters.