Jaén Cathedral, the Renaissance jewel of this Andalusian city

Jaén Cathedral is a masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance. We are talking about an impressive temple conceived and built in the 16th century and which constitutes the main work of the architect Andrés de Vandelvira. It is a must stop if you go to Jaén, you can find it in the heart of this Andalusian city. Are you coming with us to visit her?

The cathedrals of Jaén

The cathedral of Jaén is the main temple of the city. Consecrated to the Assumption of the Virgin, it is the succession of several previous temples. Thus, the first cathedral in Jaén was the building of the main mosque, a mosque consecrated by Bishop Don Gutierre as the first temple in the city.

This mosque was standing until the year 1368, when Bishop Don Nicolás de Biedma thought of tearing it down and build a Gothic-style cathedral. But this must not have been very well made, because another one of the same style was soon built.


The need for money meant that indulgences were granted to those who donated money for the cathedral factory. And with the synod of 1492, it was ordered that a brush be placed in each parish to collect alms for the new cathedral.

But again, this gothic cathedral had problems, because in 1525 a visit from a building inspector determined that the dome was in poor condition. It was necessary to build a new building worthy of the city.

The construction of the current cathedral of Jaén

It is at that moment when a key figure for the history of the current cathedral of Jaén appears: the Bishop of Jaén Don Esteban Gabriel Merinowho managed to obtain from Pope Clement VII the brief Salvatoris Domini. It is a document signed in 1529 in which many privileges and indulgences are granted to those who gave money for the construction of the new cathedral.

The document also allowed the constitution of the brotherhood of the Holy Face. This brotherhood would be composed of 20,000 men and 20,000 women.

A) Yes, in 1551 the construction of the cathedral will begin of this Andalusian city according to the design of Andrés de Vandelvira. However, the works were paralyzed again in the reign of Felipe II due to lack of money, until in 1634 the works resumed a good rhythm.

How is the cathedral of Jaén

Jaén Cathedral is a masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance. And although it has elements of other styles, it presents a great harmony as a whole, a fact that must be thanked for the good planning of Vandelvira. This left the sacristy, the chapter house, the crypt, some chapels and the south portal.

It has a rectangular floor plan with three naves and a straight innovation that eliminated the medieval ambulatory that is still preserved in cathedrals such as Granada or Malaga.

The extraordinary cover is due to Eufrasio López de Rojas. It is from the 17th century and is framed between two immense towers that make the entire cathedral building stand out from the historic farmhouse.

The main chapel and the Holy Face

Inside, everything is a work of art and there is no corner that is not worth stopping at. Yes ok, the highlight is the main chapel with its altarpiece dedicated to the Holy Face. It is a relic that has traditionally been considered as a piece of the Holy Shroud of Christ.

The first data we have about the Holy Face of Jaén are from the 14th century and it seems that it was Don Nicolás de Biedma who brought him to this Andalusian city. Since then it has been the most revered asset of the Jaén cathedral.

It is placed on a framed table by the Cordovan silversmith José Francisco de Valderrama in 1731. It is a silver frame set with precious stones that has no more and no less than 191 rubies, 193 diamonds and 210 emeralds.

Likewise, we must highlight the sacristy and the chapter house with the architecture of the game of arches and oculi typical of Vandelvira. You should also look at the central choir and the chapel of the Cristo de la Buena Muerte.

Cultural visits to the cathedral of Jaén can be done every day of the year at different times. And it has several rates, in addition to the possibility of hiring an audio guide.

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