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Seville Cathedral: South Transept – Sarcophagus of Columbus

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Sarcophagus of Columbus
Situated in the south transept, the Tomb of Columbus is one of the popular attractions in the Seville Cathedral.

As you can see, the sarcophagus of Columbus is raised above the ground by four bearers representing the four kingdoms (Castile, Aragon, Navara, and Leon) of erstwhile Spain. Queen Isabella I (along with her husband Ferdinand), who funded Columbus’s famous 1492 journeys to the New World, united them into one nation, i.e., modern Spain.

The rectangular bottom of the sarcophagus is a bronze plate inscribed with the coat-of-arms of Spain surrounded by an inscription in Spanish, which reads:
“Aqui jacen los restos de Cristobal Colon desde 1796 los guardo la Habana y este sepulcro por R.D.to de 26 de febrero de 1891”
“Here lies the remains of Cristobal Colon kept in Havana since 1796 and this sepulcher by R.D.to of February 26, 1891”

Christopher Columbus was controversial in life and controversial in death. After he died in 1506, his body traveled to many countries before it found its final resting place in the Seville Cathedral. But not everyone believes that his tomb here contains his remains.

The saga of Columbus’ remains traveling to many countries is as intriguing as his life. He was first buried in Valladolid, Spain. Soon after, his brother Diego moved it to a monastery in Seville. In 1542, his body was moved to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, a Spanish territory founded by Columbus. He was interred in the newly constructed Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor in Santo Domingo, the capital of the present-day Dominican Republic.

As fate would have it, France took over the island of Hispaniola in 1795. Not wanting his remains to fall into the French hands, the Spanish moved them to Havana, Cuba, where they built a mausoleum to house his remains. This mausoleum remained there for about 100 years before the Spanish transported it to Seville, where he embarked upon his famous expeditions.

Installed in the south transept of Seville Cathedral in 1899, Columbus’s mausoleum has remained here ever since. But the controversy about his remains lingers on.

The DNA test carried out in 2006 verified that the remains from the tomb do indeed belong to Christopher Columbus. However, the Dominican Republic still claims that the remains of Columbus never left the country.

Seville Posts and Pages
Seville Cathedral: An awe-inspiring architectural marvel
Sala Capitular – The Chapter House of the Seville Cathedral
Sacristía Mayor – The Main Sacristy of the Seville Cathedral
La Giralda: A harmonious blend of Moorish and Renaissance architectural styles
Las Setas of Seville – A modern artistic structure in a historical city
Real Alcázar of Seville: Casa de Contratación (House of Trade)
Real Alcázar of Seville: Pedro I Palace – A masterpiece of Mudéjar art and architecture

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