A large, imposing driveway with a few thresholds leads to the cathedral of Jerez and the bell tower next to it. A truly impressive building from the 17th century, it is one of the most important sights in Jerez de la Frontera.
The cathedral of Jerez is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Asidonia-Jerez and one of the most important places of worship in the region. It is not far from the Alcazar and is one of the most imposing buildings in the city.
History of the Jerez Cathedral
After the Moors withdrew from Andalusia, the new Catholic rulers began to demolish the existing mosques and build Christian churches on the sites. This also happened in Jerez and the church of El Salvador was built.
In the 17th century, a new church was built on the old foundations of the Moorish mosque and the former El Salvador church. The foundation stone was laid in 1695 and the cathedral was not completed until 1778.
The church features architectural elements of the Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical styles. This is certainly also due to the fact that many architects worked on this building during the construction period. Just to name a few: Diego Paz, Juan de Vargas, Diego Moreno Meléndez, Diego Díaz. Each of them helped to shape the building in the style of their time and thus created a truly impressive building.
The cathedral of Jerez de la Frontera was formerly known as the Iglesia Colegial. Pope John Paul II elevated the church to cathedral status on 3 March 1980. Its patron saint is St San Salvador.
The layout of Jerez de la Frontera Cathedral is characterised by its rectangular shape and five naves. This structure is the result of the different architectural styles realised by the architects.
The five naves are designed in a cruciform arrangement, which is typical of many cathedrals. The central axis is formed by the nave, which is higher and wider than the side naves.
The rectangular shape of the floor plan allows for a clear organisation of the interior and a balanced distribution of the various chapels and sacred spaces.
The bell tower, which does not directly adjoin the church building but stands alone, was probably built on the site of the minaret of the old mosque in Jerez de la Frontera. You can also visit the bell tower. Unfortunately, there was a very strong wind during our visit and the tower was closed for safety reasons. However, it is said to be one of the most beautiful viewpoints over the city.
If you have the opportunity, you should definitely visit the cathedral in the evening. It is skilfully illuminated and offers a great photo opportunity.
Tour of the church
As we enter the nave, the first thing I notice are the mighty pillars. In contrast to many other pillars in churches, they appear very stable and not very “graceful”. Impressive figures hang from the pillars, but otherwise the nave doesn’t seem overloaded or “full” of art treasures.
Some of the windows are decorated with pictures. Here the light falls through coloured panes and gives the immediate surroundings a warm glow.
In every church, my gaze quickly falls towards the ceiling. I admire the master builders of the past for these masterpieces. Static calculations without major aids are not easy and the domes, vaults and often skilful play of light are simply masterful. I am also very impressed in this church. The dome seems to float on the pillars and shines in the daylight. What an impressive image when you stand almost in the centre underneath it and look upwards.
As in many churches, there are also beautiful side altars and chapels to admire here. They are usually dedicated to saints and the faithful place lighted candles there and pray. I was particularly impressed by the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
The atmosphere in the cathedral of Jerez is something very special in my eyes. I really like how balanced the design of the interior is. There are impressive elements that draw the eye, but there are also areas where you can let your thoughts wander without distraction.
Visit to the church museum
Visit to the church museumYou have to follow the arrows in the church to find the rather inconspicuous entrance to the cathedral museum. If another visitor hadn’t come out from directly behind the altar, I would probably have hesitated to go this way. Here you enter the sacristy with the museum rooms.
The church museum of the cathedral of Jerez de la Frontera houses an impressive collection that ranges from the Renaissance to modern times. There are numerous paintings, sculptures, silverwork, liturgical vestments and historical documents on display.
I like the fact that there are not only showcases with the art treasures, but also fully furnished rooms. I wonder if people really sat together in an atmosphere like this.
One of the highlights are the paintings “La Virgen Niña” by Francisco de Zurbarán and “El Tahonero” by Juan Rodríguez. “Virgen Nina” depicts the Virgin Mary as a child and is the only object in the museum that you are not allowed to photograph. But I can reveal this much: I found the painting very beautiful.
We discovered VR glasses in one area of the museum and of course had to try them out straight away. A little tip for all users – it’s better to sit down, it gets fast-paced! We saw and experienced a “flight” through the cathedral. It was really well done, but I first had to get used to the movements and the possible viewing directions. It was a bit like being on a rollercoaster.
You should allow around 45 minutes to visit the cathedral. If you also want to climb the tower, you will need a little more time. We really enjoyed it.
Pl. Encarnación, s/n,
11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Spanien
Church opening hours:
Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm
Sunday: 1 – 7 pm
Public holidays: Closed
Tower opening hours:
Monday – Saturday: 11-14 h and 16-18.30 h
Adults: 8,- €
Good to know
Yes, an audio guide is included in the ticket price. It is available in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian and Russian.
There is a special tour for children, which is offered in Spanish and English.
It is possible to purchase tickets online online in advance. However, it is usually no problem to buy a ticket on site.
The tower may be closed to visitors due to the current weather conditions.
The visit took place as part of a collaboration with Departamento de Tourismo in Jerez .