Seville Cathedral surpassed Hagia Sophia as the world's biggest cathedral after its completion in the early 16th century, a distinction held by the Byzantine church for almost a thousand years. The structure has an area of 11,520 square metres in total (124,000 sq ft). It contains more than 3,000 pipes used to sound a massed choir.
The original cathedral was built between 1432 and 1516 on the site where there had been a mosque before it was converted into a Catholic church following the Christian conquest of Spain in 1482. It was not until 1713 that the cathedral was finally completed with additions from 1847 to 1905. Today, it is one of Spain's most popular attractions with more than 5 million visitors each year. It has been listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The world's second largest cathedral is St Peter's in Rome, which was built over a period from 384 to 420. It is estimated to contain about 2 million bricks and has 91 arches over 22 meters (72 feet) high. This makes it the highest-arched building in the world outside of China where Gūfang Temple is higher yet again at 102 arches over 26 meters (98 feet).
St Peter's is not only the largest but also the most beautiful church in Rome. The building took 170 years to complete and remains one of Europe's greatest examples of Gothic architecture.
It is the world's fourth-biggest church (its exact size is unknown) and the largest Gothic church. The new building was designed by Bartolome Murillo, who also helped design Madrid's San Cristobal de la Luz and Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia.
Murillo used his knowledge of Gothic architecture to create a masterpiece that combined Christian symbolism with Spanish colonial styling. The interior has three naves and an enormous dome that rises above it all. The dome is not only functional but also provides light during Seville's long winters.
Seville's cathedral stands on the site where St. Epiphanius was buried before he became a saint. The current building dates from between 1278 and 1367. It replaced an earlier temple built by the Moors after they invaded Spain in 711. That original mosque was actually located in Granada. After it was destroyed, the Moors built their own mosque which still stands today near the town's main square.
During the Renaissance, Seville's cathedral was one of the most important centers of learning in Europe. It remains so today, especially famous for its school of painting known as the School of Seville.
The Hagia Sophia of Constantinople, devoted to God's holy knowledge (hagia sophia), is the largest, most significant, and still most famous Byzantine cathedral, or indeed any edifice. It was constructed between 532 and 537 CE during the reign of Justinian I (r. 527-565) as a gift for the people of his city by him. The building was originally painted inside and out in vivid colors, but now only its bare walls remain.
Hagia Sophia was the main church of Constantinople when it was capital of the Byzantine Empire. In addition to being the largest church built in the world, it was also one of the most sophisticated buildings of its time. The design of Hagia Sophia was revolutionary because it no longer had an altar at the front facing the congregation, but instead had two sets of double doors that opened onto the nave. This arrangement allowed more space for visitors to view the emperor's body language while he delivered speeches before large crowds. The church was illuminated with thousands of candles when it was first opened in 537. Today, only a few fragments of the original color scheme are left: gold on the dome and windows, blue on the sky roof, and green on the minarets.
The building was converted into a mosque after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Some modifications were made to the interior of the church during this period but most of the original architecture was preserved.