We are facing a work whose construction lasted for more than a century and a half, and which therefore evolved partially according to the tastes of each moment, and therefore we can speak of a construction that by itself it has characteristics of Baroque architecture, Rococo and also Neoclassical art. And to all this we must add the important influences that came from Hispanoamérica, since we must not forget that for centuries the port of Cádiz was the main entry point for sailors arriving from their voyages to the New World.
Facade of the Cadiz Cathedral
Reviewing its history, it is discovered that its construction began in 1722, to replace the old Cadiz cathedral that would be the neighboring church of Santa Cruz. Those beginnings were made under the direction of the architect Vicente Acero. But he abandoned the project a few years later and was succeeded byGaspar Cayónand later by his nephewTorcuato Cayón, who worked here until his death in 1783.
But the fact that he died did not mean that the works would end. There was still a lot left and the address of all those works fell in 1790 to Manuel Machuca. He would not finish either and it would be necessary to wait for the year 1838 to see the temple almost finished under the direction of Juan Daura in 1838. And some fifteen years later, in 1853 the two towers built under theorders of Juan de la Vega y Correa.
Those two towers are precisely two of the most striking elements on its main façade. This facade is divided into two bodies. A first one where four highly decorated Corinthian columns are developed, and a second one where the large window immediately attracts attention. And as a finishing touch to the whole, a large pediment. However, that is the development in height, but its horizontality tremendously animated by the play of concave and convex lines is more striking.
Also striking from the outside is the hemispherical dome raised over the drum and covering the transept, since the cathedral is a temple with a Latin cross plan with three naves. That great dome that gives the temple its characteristic silhouette was created during the years in which the aforementioned Juan Daura directed the works.
When that dome was built, and even once the cathedral temple was finished, the main altar that is seen today was still not there. It is an altar dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and located in the presbytery with a circular floor plan. A work that began in 1862, during the reign of Isabel II, who donated a large amount of money for its construction.
In short, the Cathedral of Cádiz is an extraordinary example of the architecture and art of the 18th and 19th centuries, since it shows examples of how the fashions and artistic styles for decades.