granada church

The Must-See Churches & Cathedrals Of Granada

Don’t make the mistake of thinking Granada is all about the Alhambra. There’s something about Granada’s chapels, cathedrals, and humble parish churches that resonates on a different frequency.

We’re talking soaring Gothic vaults, intricate Mudejar woodwork, and baroque finery that could make an art historian weep with joy. But it’s not just about the eye candy in this beautiful city. These sacred spaces are living, breathing testaments to Granada’s rich tapestry of religious and cultural history. From the grandeur of Granada Cathedral to the lesser-known gems tucked away in narrow Albayzín streets, these places of worship offer a mosaic of influences–Christian, Moorish, and even Jewish–that have shaped this city’s spiritual landscape for centuries.

Whether you’re a believer, an art lover, or just an incurable romantic looking for that perfect patch of dappled light in the historic city center, Granada’s churches and cathedrals are portals to another time and place

Granada Cathedral

If you’re looking for a must-see, the Granada Cathedral, also known as Catedral de Granada or Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación, is definitely your spot. This breathtaking cathedral is famous for its Spanish Renaissance style and it’s an essential part of your Granada trip.

The construction of Granada Cathedral began in 1518, following the Spanish Reconquista. The masterminds behind this stunning creation were Renaissance architects Diego de Siloé and Alonso Cano. Their brilliant work gave the cathedral its classic Plateresque design. Now, it stands as one of Granada’s most important monuments, with foundations on the grounds of the city’s former main mosque.

Inside, you’ll find impressive works of art, notably the altar by Cano. The Cathedral Treasure houses relics, as well as the precious tombs of the Catholic Kings, Isabella I and Ferdinand II. To immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural marvels, consider grabbing an audio guide or audio tour that will help enhancing your experience.

Visiting hours for Granada Cathedral can vary, so be sure to check their website or call ahead to plan your visit. It’s totally worth your time, as the Granada Cathedral represents a significant chapter in the city’s history and showcases the iconic Spanish Renaissance architecture in all its glory. 

Religious Heritage

If you’re up for exploring Granada’s religious heritage, you’ll find a mix of churches, chapels, and even remnants of a mosque from the time the Great Mosque stood. Most of these religious sites belong to the Roman Catholic tradition and showcase breathtaking architecture and artwork.

As previously mentioned, you do not want to miss the Catedral de Granada or the Cathedral of Granada. It’s the first Renaissance church built in Spain and started in 1518, right after the Spanish Reconquista in Granada, on the spot where the city’s main mosque used to be. 

Another gem is the Basílica Virgen de las Angustias, a church built in 1617, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Apart from its ornate interior, this church holds a special place in Granada’s religious history, with its veneration of the city’s saints. And hey, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 – so that’s a bonus!

For the fans of the Hospitaller Order, head to the Basílica de San Juan de Dios. This basilica serves as the spiritual center for the Hospitaller Order, which has spread worldwide. The site also bears significance as one of Granada’s vital pastoral centers.

When you’re finished, check out these additional religious sites:

  • Iglesia de San Nicolas: Built in 1525, this Mudejar and Gothic-style church was once an old mosque.
  • Cathedral Guadix (Catedral de la Encarnación de Guadix): The Cathedral of the Incarnation is a beautiful Roman Catholic church that has stood the test of time.

While you don’t need to follow any extreme dress code, remember to be respectful of religious customs. Some monastic orders, such as nuns and Jesuits, may still be active in these historic religious sites.

Historical Context

During your visit to Granada, Spain, you’ll get to explore some truly amazing churches and cathedrals that possess fascinating historical backgrounds. The city was once the heart of the Muslim era, which came to an end after the Spanish Reconquista led by none other than Isabella and Ferdinand.

One of the most important monuments in Granada is the Cathedral of Granada. It’s the first Renaissance church built in Spain and its construction started in 1518, right on top of the city’s main mosque. Talk about a power move after the Reconquista! Over the centuries, the cathedral has gone through a few architectural changes, with its first plan featuring Gothic designs that can still be seen in some parts.

The Granada Cathedral is not just a symbol of the city’s religious history but also an exquisite example of artistic craftsmanship from different periods. The Mudejar style, a combination of Christian and Muslim artistic techniques, shines through in the intricately carved icons, sculptures, and woodwork you’ll see there.

The cathedral also features works by famous artists like Mena and Mora. Keep an eye out for Mena’s silver masterpieces, as well as Mora’s stunning carvings while you’re exploring this architectural beauty.

As you walk through Granada’s churches and cathedrals, you’re literally experiencing centuries of cultural and religious history that played a key role in shaping the art and architectural styles of Spain. Soak it all in, and remember to take a moment to appreciate not just the grand structures, but also the finer details that make these monuments truly breathtaking.

Other Significant Churches in Granada

Besides the famous Catedral de Granada, you’ll find several other noteworthy churches and cathedrals worth checking out while you’re in the lovely city of Granada. Here are a few must-sees:

Monasterio de San Jerónimo is an absolute gem. This monastery boasts incredible architecture and artwork that’ll leave you in awe. The meticulous detailing, peaceful atmosphere, and lush courtyards are a wonderful experience for any traveler.

At the heart of Granada, you’ll find Iglesia del Sagrario. Built in the Baroque style, this church houses an impressive silver-plated altar dedicated to Virgin Mary. Don’t miss the chance to explore its grand interiors and rich history.

Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana is a charming spot situated close to the River Darro. Its unique and captivating Mudejar-style bell tower adds to the picturesque setting that’ll leave you reaching for your camera.

Swing by San Miguel Bajo, an ancient church located in the historic Albaicin neighborhood. With its Renaissance facade and awe-inspiring altarpiece, this quaint spot has a charm that can’t be missed.

Don’t forget to visit Capilla Real, the Royal Chapel of Granada, right next to the Granada Cathedral. It houses the burial site of the Catholic Kings, their daughter Juana la Loca, and her husband Philip the Fair. Its significant history and beautiful architecture make it a must-see.

So, while you’re exploring Granada, don’t limit yourself to just the Catedral – make sure to visit these other fantastic churches that prove this city has more than just one religious masterpiece to offer.

Architecture Styles

When visiting Granada, you’ll be blown away by the diverse architectural styles found in its churches and cathedrals. From Gothic to Renaissance, Baroque, and even Islamic influences, this city’s charming buildings tell an intricate story of its history.

Gothic architecture is truly mesmerizing. In Granada, you can spot elements of this style in a few important buildings. One of the most notable is the Royal Chapel of Granada Cathedral, which houses the remains of Spanish Catholic monarchs Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. With its intricate details, this Gothic cathedral is a must-see attraction.

Moving on to Renaissance architecture, Granada’s got plenty to offer. In fact, the city is home to one of the first Renaissance churches built in Spain — the Cathedral of Granada. Constructed in 1518 on top of the city’s main mosque, this Spanish Renaissance masterpiece beautifully showcases the transition from Islamic to Christian influence in Granada’s history.

Don’t miss the Monastery of San Jeronimo de Granada, another stunning example of Renaissance architecture. This complex, consisting of a church and monastery, was the first monastic construction built after the Spanish Reconquista.

Baroque architecture can also be found in Granada’s churches and religious buildings. This elaborate style emerged as a reaction to the simplicity of the Renaissance and is characterized by rich decorations and bold shapes.

Meanwhile, remnants of Islamic architecture can be found throughout the city, particularly in the Albayzin neighborhood. Churches like the Mudejar and Gothic-style church built in 1525 showcase the transformation from Islamic mosques to Christian places of worship during the Reconquista. One such example is the church next to the popular Albayzin viewpoint, boasting stunning views of the Alhambra.

As you explore Granada, be sure to take note of the various architectural styles that define this city’s churches and cathedrals. Each style holds a piece of Granada’s rich history. 

Art and Decoration

When you’re exploring Granada, you absolutely can’t miss the gorgeous art and decoration at some of the city’s most stunning cathedrals and churches.

At Catedral de Granada, the first Renaissance church built in Spain, you’ll be blown away by the intricate details and architectural mastery featured throughout. The cathedral itself is a testament to Spain’s rich history, having been built on the site of the city’s main mosque after the reconquista. As you stroll through, take note of the awe-inspiring paintings and sculptures that adorn the space.

Don’t forget to visit the Monastery of San Jerónimo. This Renaissance-era church boasts an ornate interior decoration that could give you chills—it’s just that beautiful. One look at the delicate carvings and elaborate artwork will make it clear why this place is such a popular attraction in Granada.

If you’re wandering around the Albayzin neighborhood, be sure to pop into the Mudejar and Gothic-style Church of San Nicolás. Besides sitting next to a famous viewpoint with killer Alhambra views, the church has a unique history. It was built in 1525 on a site of an old mosque, much like many other churches in the area. Inside, you’ll find gorgeous stained glass windows that bathe the space in ethereal light.

When you’re in the Centro – Sagrario area, the Santa Maria Cathedral is an absolute must-see. Sporting a striking facade and a historic chapel area known as the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel), the cathedral overlooks much of central Granada. Throughout this architectural gem, you’ll encounter breathtaking religious paintings and art pieces that hold great significance.

Visitor Information

To make the most of your time in Granada, consider purchasing the Granada Card, which offers access to the city’s top attractions, including the Granada Cathedral. With the Granada Card, you’ll also have access to public transportation, so getting from church to church across the city will be a breeze.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth experience, there are guided tours available for the Cathedral. A guide can help you discover the fascinating history and significance of the building, as well as the artwork and Chapter Room inside. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about the rich history of this incredible site.

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