Jaén Cathedral (extension of the Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza)
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports
Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Province of Jaén
Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party.
This is a proposal for a modification to the boundaries of the Property inscribed in 2003 on the World Heritage List (Decision 27 COM 8C 42) and identified as “Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza” to include the monument of the Cathedral of the Asunción in Jaén.
After the experience of Úbeda and Baeza, Andrea Vandelvira began work on the construction of Jaén Cathedral. He started from the gothic temple whose final construction was restricted by the medieval wall of the city.
The Cathedral is located in the Santa María Square, in the heart of the historic centre of Jaén. It is built on the plot of the old mosque of the hispanic-muslim city and has a surface area of 8.400 m2.
The building has a rectangular ground plan and a flat end wall. It is divided into three naves, all of which at the same height, around which there is a series of chapel niches built amongst interior buttresses (except in the central aisle). The chapel niches are covered with pendentive vaults, which are set upon Corinthian cruciform pillars with double entablature. A dome is on a drum and pendentives and it is finished off with a lantern above the transept. There are balconies above all the chapel arches.
The central nave, from the transept to the back, is a choir, surrounded with wooden choir stalls and outside the stone wall is divided into two parts and finished off with a balustrade. From the outside we can see two doors, one at each side of the transept, and the main façade is at the back. It is surrounded by wide lonjas which are closed with wrought iron railings, supported on pilasters placed on pinnacles.
Even though Andrea Vandelvira’s intervention in Jaén Cathedral was somewhat limited to certain areas (the chapter house, sacristy and vestiary), the masterpiece as a whole was originally designed by the “Master of Alcaraz”. . At this point, it is important to note that although the cathedral’s upper elements were completed in the XVIII century, they conserve all of the spatial patterns of Vandelvira’s design.
With Vandelvira’s participation as Master Builder of the works, (named in 1553), the cathedral would represent a stage in the evolution of Renaissance-style architecture that fully conditioned the shape and the dimensions of the original design (1382). It is very unlikely that such a temple built over three centuries, should follow the original concept.
Its specific elements are a compendium of characteristics which are typical in Vandelvira´s architecture: the architectural ground plan-formed with three naves and two lateral wings of chapels around the crypt- the central dome and the choir of the central nave; the pillars which are perfectly proportioned; the wide semicircular arches; the existence of two vaulted chapel niches per bay with balconies above them; the pendentive vaults; the hall-structure elevation, which gives great light to the space…
Andrea Vandelvira knew how to infuse rhythm and compositional simplicity in the spaces of the cathedral, together with with a balanced sense of proportion and an admirable command of classical architectural orders, notably influenced the builders and ecclesiastical superiors who, at the time, were already building in the New World.
Concerning the landscape, the visual importance of Jaén Cathedral on the city´s skyline has to be taken into account. The monument stands out at the highest part of the historic old quarter, which follows the slope, at the foot of the castle and the “Cerro de Santa Catalina” (the hill of Santa Catalina).
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
The monument of Jaén Cathedral is a paradigm of Renaissance architecture. It is the best example and compendium of this type of building constructed until then, as well as for the classic essayists who were the reference for its formal design. It is indeed the best conserved and the most representative example of Spanish Renaissance art, which was later transmitted to the territories that were occupied by Spaniards in America.
The importance and cultural dimension of the architect Andrea Vandelvira has been described in the application for the Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza. This architect is the main figure of Stereotomy thanks to his great knowledge in the tradition of medieval stonemasonry. His work shows the possibilities offered by the traditional stonework which, once freely applied to the classical figures, allowed Spanish architecture to benefit from the Renaissance style.
The continuous use of pendentive vaults by Vandelvira, which is very specific to Spanish and Latin American Classicism, has been made possible thanks to the renovations in stonemasonry techniques. This element has been used in some of his main works: The Sacristy of El Salvador or the Church of the Hospital of Santiago, in Úbeda; in Baeza Cathedral and, particularly, in Jaén Cathedral.
The architectural, spatial and technological elements of Jaén Cathedral show a mastery that was accepted both yesterday and today. Indeed it gave way to a school of knowledge and skills that spread over the whole of Latin America.
The Cathedral represents a notable and emblematic work of the architect Andrea Vandelvira. The innovative building principles used are reflected in the "Book of Stone-Cutting Designs" written by the architect’s son Alonso and which acted as the reference book for many Latin American cathedrals.
It is stated that this book, although never published, was imitated and copied thanks to handwritten versions throughout the Ancien Régime. Today, it is considered of exceptional importance; according to Jean Marie Pérouse de Montclos, the best representation of the fruitfulness of Spanish XVI century architecture is its richness. Until well into the XVII century there was nothing in French theory which could equal it. In fact, Philibert De l´Orme described 51 examples in his essay, whilst Alonso de Vandelvira explained 151 stereometric solutions.
Due to its architectural and technological characteristics, which symbolize the Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza, Jaén Cathedral, on its own, can be said to have Outstanding Universal Value. The main point of the work is the innovative handling of stereotomy by Vandelvira´s immediate circle and succesors. This feature, coupled with the creative idea, and giving shape to the typological structure, not only went beyond regional borders, but its influence spread to the Latin American continent.
The composition of Jaén Cathedral synthesizes, as an architectural model for subsequent periods, those Gothic and Renaissance elements previously applied to this type of building techniques in the Iberian Peninsula.
This temple´s rich language of architectural space has many origins: the cultural roots in Spain at that time; the German models of Hallenkirchen, widely used in Castilla and Andalusia; as well as the influence of the Italian Renaissance essayists, particularly Sebastiano Serlio.
The architectural hall-structure ground plan, is wonderfully reformulated by Vandelvira, with a magnificent use of pendentive vaults, indeed refining the constructive art of this technique. In the same way he used the spacious flat end wall as an articulated element. All of these techniques result in spaciousness, which is both harmonious and regular, unlike his predecessors´ work.
The sacristy has a unique spacious feel to be considered apart from the most classicist way. According to the Spanish specialist Pedro Galera Andreu, "the degree of freedom in the use of graphic sources and the constant exploration of themes and motives, previously experimented in civil and religious spaces, has made this sacristry one of the references of Renaissance architecture in Spain and Europe."
Part of the reason why Jaén Cathedral is so exceptional, is that Vandelvira´s project was loyally followed by the stonemasons who continued constructing the temple over a long period of time. Therefore, the construction did not lose its designer´s identity; this in itself was indeed remarkable for those times.
Due to its value and quality it was considered a reference model in South America and Spain. Vandelvira´s circle substantially influenced the art of stone cutting, innovating and improving medieval building techniques, which were inspired by Italian essayists.
The Jaén Cathedral includes Criterion (i) and reinforces Criteria (ii) y (iv) by which the Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Ubeda and Baeza were inscribed.
Criterion (i) It represents a work of art of human creative genius Jaén Cathedral represents one of the most significant monuments of its type in Renaissance architecture, not only in Spain and Europe, but world wide. It is the most relevant example of the work of the architect, mason and stonemason Andrea Vandelvira, and it is the culmination of his creative and constructive project, begun in the Andalusian cities of Úbeda and Baeza.
The cathedral’s creative originality is shown in the concept of space, which in essence, brings together fundamental elements from previously established cathedrals in Spain.
Jaén Cathedral stands out from any other due to the fact that it was a unique architectural project in its day. It was the work of a creator who showed a notable expression of space linked with a classicist Renaissance orientation.
The cathedral space Vandelvira designed, harmoniously brings together several influences: the work of the German Hallenkirchen, which was widely copied in Castilla and Andalusia; the proposals of Italian essayists, particularly Sebastiano Serlio, and the Spanish-Arabic tradition of the Al-Andalus mosque. All of these tendencies are fused together to create an original, bright, rectangular hall, which is typically Vandelvirian.
Vandelvira´s unique and exceptional architectural and artistic concept comes from his training as a stonemason, mason and architect. He designed a project of unique spatial unity. This is particularly reflected in his use of a quadrangular hall, the outline of the end wall, the systematic use of pendentive vaults, and the deliberate use of the Renaissance style inspired by Serlio.
The construction work carried out by Vandelvira´s circle, represents an exceptional manifestation of human creative genius in the way the stone was cut. Indeed he promoted craftmanship, improving it by using stereotomy, thanks to which classical descriptive geometrical elements gave a new direction to the now obsolete medieval building techniques.
Likewise, the heritage value of the inscribed property "Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda y Baeza", and its universal scope will be promoted and reinforced with the inclusion of Jaén Cathedral. This is a building that was used as a model by many New Spanish buildings, which completes the heritage value of the original nomination of the property. In this way, the consequences of such a modification are as follows:
Criterion (ii) is reinforced: It bears testimony to a considerable exchange of influences, over a certain span of time or in a specific cultural area of the world, in the fields of architecture or technology, monumental art, town planning or landscape design….
The XVI century examples of architectural and urban design in Úbeda and Baeza were instrumental in introducing the Renaissance ideas to Spain. Through the publications of Andrea Vandelvira, the principal project architect, these examples were also diffused to Latin America.
Vandelvira´s exceptional technical and architectural quality in Jaén Cathedral, was considered a model to follow by the masons and stonemasons of cathedrals in the New World. It was regarded as a fundamental work in Renaissance architecture.
Vandelvira´s creativity was not only seen in Andalusia. The technology he used managed to spread over continents due to several factors: the development of art in stonemasonry; the in-depth study and use of Renaissance essays; the appearance of innovative architectural models and the great creative maturity moulded into civil and religious buildings. Jaén Cathedral became part of the area created by Vandelvira in Úbeda and Baeza, giving rise to a first-class masonry school, which is shown in the stereotomy of cathedrals and other buildings in the New World.
Criterion (iv) is reinforced: It constitutes an eminently representative example of a type of construction, an architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape, which illustrates one or several significant stages in human history.
The central areas of Úbeda and Baeza constitute outstanding early examples of Renaissance civil architecture and urban planning in Spain in the early XVI century.
Jaén Cathedral is both innovative and diverse. It was conceived by Andrea Vandelvira, who gave a new meaning to previous Gothic or Renaissance designs, greatly enriching the art of building of the Spanish Renaissance.
Jaén Cathedral was used as a typological model for many civil and religious buildings in Spain and Latin America. It was used as a basic architectural prototype for the construction of the first Latin American Renaissance cathedrals in the second part of the XVI century, and at the beginning of the XVII century. This type of construction was even copied in local monuments in several parts of viceroyalties after the XVIII century.
The building resources Vandelvira used in his constructions, were used by Spanish and Latin American masons and stonemasons to construct the viceroyal cathedrals of Mérida, Guadalajara, Mexico, Puebla, Lima and Cusco, as well as many civil and religious buildings in Spain and Latin America. Such resources included space, hall-structure ground plans, a flat end wall, pendentive vaults, compound pilasters, and Serlian windows. These Cathedrals are the main Renaissance Latin American cathedrals.
Satements of authenticity and/or integrity
The value of authenticity of Jaén Cathedral is based on the fact that it has the same universal value as the property already inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Every single constructive and architectural element in the cathedral is exactly how it was conceived in Vandelvira´s outlines, which confirms the authenticity of the shape and design of the building, from the ground plan to the architectural details and rooves.Likewise, the original religious function of the building still exists; the constructive techniques and materials are authentic and are still in their original place and in their original environment.
Vandelvira´s invaluable architectural and creative work, the main example of which being Jaén Cathedral, has been the focus of studies by the most important researchers in Spanish and Latin American art. This has led to a continuous and permanent comparative study between European and Latin American models. This reinforces the authenticity of the value of the Cathedral.
This method of analysis represents a valuable element for the research and spreading of the vast and rich exchange of ideas between the two continents. We could quote the work of Diego Angulo Íñiguez and Manuel Toussaint; the contribution of George Kubler, Fernando Chueca Goitia, Santiago Sebastián and Antonio Bonet Correa and the most recent meditations of Jorge Alberto Manrique, Martha Fernandez, Fernando Marías, Joaquín Berches, Pedro Galera and Ramón Gutiérrez.
Recently this monument´s influence has caused a tendency of ideas and an awareness of the countless cultural values that bring together Latin America, Spain and Europe. This exchange of ideas linking the continents, has been reflected over the last century through several studies about Latin American art and culture.
The inclusion of Jaén Cathedral would widen the material authenticity and integrity of the property due to the presence of a historic building participating in the same universal values as the property currently inscribed on the WHL, and in which both the original material as well as the original construction techniques are still conserved. This would reinforce the unchanging nature of the property.
Jaén Cathedral includes all elements necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value; it is of adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey the property´s significance; it does not suffer from any adverse effects of development and/or neglect.
Its integrity is also in a good state of conservation, even after successive interventions of restoration, the monument has been conserved in its original state. It has turned it into a landmark of the city of Jaén and its people´s identity. The building has always been linked to the Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza.
Comparison with other similar properties
Based on paragraph 132 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, Jaén Cathedral is to be compared with other properties, inscribed or not, on the World Heritage List, in order to justify the Outstanding Universal Value of said property in a national and international context.
Following the criteria written by the ICOMOS in similar comparative studies, this analysis is based on two aspects:
- A typological and thematic characterization, with a comparison of the building with other religious properties, mostly the properties associated to the Catholic Church and especially cathedrals.
- A geographical and chronological context, with a comparison of the building with other properties that are dated from the same historical period and that are located in the same cultural grographical context: in this case in Europe during the Renaissance period and considering its geographical extension to the Latin American continent between the XVI and XVII centuries.
With the analysis of the World Heritage and Religious Monument List –which includes the cathedrals and big churches inscribed until now-, we can observe that all 24 cathedrals inscribed are located in the European continent. France and Germany lead the list with five inscribed cathedrals each; United-Kingdom, Spain and Italy present two cathedrals each. The Vatican City, Ukrania, Georgia, the Czech Republic, Danemark, Armenia, Belgium and Croacia present only one cathedral each.
Concerning the chronology, the most represented countries registered their properties during the first years of application of the Convention –between 1978 and 1990-. Since the year 2000, no property has been inscribed. During the 90s, some countries from Eastern Europe or Asia inscribed some similar properties, even though these properties are not cathedrals, like for instance the Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye in Russia; the Petäjävesi Old Church in Finland; or the Barroque Churches of Manila in the Philippines.
Moreover, there is a significant number of relevant cathedrals or churches that are not directly inscribed; however, they are part of the properties being typologically registered as "historic cities or centres" and located in the European and Latin American continents.
With an analysis of the inscribed properties and their relevance, we can conclude that:
1. The religious monuments ensembles that are inscribed fundamentally represent the period of the Middle Ages in Western Europe. This is a fruitful period concerning the construction of big cathedrals and religious ensembles.
2. The posterior periods are hardly represented, even though they are as important as the previous ones, like the Renaissance, the Mannerism, the Barroque or the Neoclassicism periods.
3. There is a significant representation of specific geographical stylistic cases (Romanesque in Germany, Gothic in France), and there is poor or inexistent representation of other trends and geographical cultural domains.
With regard to the inscription of Jaén Cathedral, its is possible to come to the following conclusions:
- Concerning the typological framework, the inscribed cases basically represent a specific period of time of Western history and furthermore a typological outline of a processional church with a Latin-cross ground plan.
- Concerning the chronological-regional framework; examining the World Heritage List reveals a complete inbalance. Only some European countries and one precise period of western history are represented: The Middle Ages.
- With the analysis of the properties that are inscribed on the World Heritage List, we can conclude that Jaén Cathedral´s inscription on the World Heritage List will greatly contribute to the List. The reasons are: its importance as an expression of Renaissance architecture and art, more precisely as an example of the adoption and adaptation of such a style in Spain; and its influence in the development of cathedrals built in South America between the XVI and XVIII.
Regarding the typological and thematic analysis; it is essential to compare Jaén Cathedral with other religious properties, especially cathedrals. However we must rule out those cases on the WHL, which represent a wide spectrum of types of religious architecture connected to Christianism, which are cases of rural churches and they are substantially different in size, functional significance and architectural characteristics in comparison with Jaén Cathedral.
This is the case of the collection of wooden churches and other examples of vernacular architecture: the wooden churches in Poland, Rumania, Slovakia or Chile; Norway, Poland and the Russian Federation. Other cases directly linked to local tradition are characterized by the presence of both exterior and interior wall paintings (Bulgaria, Cyprus and Rumania); some pilgrimage churches like the church of St. John in Zelana Hora (the Czech Republic) and the Pilgrimage Church of Wies in Germany.
Regarding the other large churches, most of them which are inscribed represent the architectural trends of the Middle Ages, especially the Romanesque and the Gothic periods. However, among the inscribed cathedrals that can be compared with Jaén Cathedral for the same period, we can find St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, which was inscribed in 1984 for its representativity of the architecture and art in the Renaissance and Mannerism periods.
Obviously, St. Peter’s Basilica has a unique and exclusive importance for the Christian World; it is the Holy See of the Catholic Church; from an architectural perspective, St. Peter’s Basilica is a relevant example of a monument that has been built in several stages, over two hundred years, showing the evolution of the architectural and stylistic trends, during three important periods of European art: Renaissance, Mannerism, and Barroque. The case for Jaén Cathedral is different: the Cathedral is the work of a sole architect, and all the elements respect the spatial and formal lines of Vandelvira’s design. It is thus a significant unity of expression in Renaissance art.
Regarding the comparison with other Renaissance cathedrals, we must consider the single monuments whether they are inscribed or not. In Spain, such cases are Seville, Granada and Valladolid.
Seville Cathedral, which was the huge cathedral built after the mosque, is the biggest gothic building in Europe, however, the elliptic space of the chapter created by Hernán, is one of the most beautiful architectural creations of Renaissance art. It was inscribed in 1987 together with the "Archivo de Indias" and the "Alcázar", and therefore it represents the union of the values of gothic art with other architectural styles and historic events of worldwide magnitude such as the Discovery of America.
On the contrary, Granada Cathedral reflects the evolution of the Renaissance style between the XVI and XVII centuries, whilst Valladolid Cathedral, which was entrusted to Juan de Herrera around 1580, suffered a long construction process that lasted until the XIX century, therefore, the different expressions from each of the historic periods are present. Likewise, in the case of Granada Cathedral, the ground plan is finished off with an end wall with a great apse, different to the flat end wall of Jaén which spread to other cathedrals in South America. Concerning Vallodolid Cathedral, the long process of construction and the fact that it is still unfinished, does not allow it to have the same unity of concept and observable styles as Jaén Cathedral has.
Outside Spain, it is necessary in this comparative analysis to make reference to the influence of Jaén Cathedral in South America. This has been noted by the most important historians of Colonial-Latin American Architecture, such as George Kubler, Diego Angulo Íñiguez, Enrique Marco Dorta, Mario J. Buschiazzo or more recently, Ramón Gutiérrez.
In classic texts referring to the development of the typological design, Jaén Cathedral is often quoted as a "head of series" of Latin American churches and cathedrals. As stated by Antonio Bonet Correa, Jaén Cathedral, with its rectangular ground plan and flat end wall, pillars supporting the whole entablature and the ceiling covered with vaults of the same height, is the perfect crystallization of a type of building that had a great repercussion in the Hispanic world.
The typological outline of the building is considered as a "head of series" and was copied in many Latin American churches. Said outline is a combination of essential components: a building with a rectangular ground plan with a flat end wall, a contained rectangular transept, a deep presbytery flanked with chapels finishing off the side naves or with spaces corresponding to complementary functions, such as the sacristy.
Regarding the design of Jaén Cathedral and its diffusion to Latin America, Francisco Becerra is worth a special mention. He was an architect from Trujillo, and he died in Lima in 1601. He began his career in architecture with his father Alonso Becerra, and he finished his training with Alonso Berruguete, who influenced his style considerably. In 1573, he began working in New Spain on constructions such as Puebla Cathedral, the Convents of Santo Domingo, San Agustín and Santo Domingo in Mexico City.
The influence of Jaén Cathedral, expressed in buildings with a rectangular or hall-structure ground plan, appeared in the mid XVI century in the cathedrals of Mexico, Puebla de los Angeles, Mérida, Guadalajara, Nicaragua, Panama, Havana, Lima and Cusco, as well as in other churches. Indeed, its influence can be detected as far as Cordoba Cathedral, Argentina, which was constructed between the XVII and the XVIII centuries.
Concerning Mérida Cathedral, Yucatán, the only cathedral finished in the course of the XVI century, the roofs of the three naves have the same height, following the model of Jaén Cathedral. Also the ground plan is rectangular.
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral is included in the World Heritage Site "Historic Centre of Mexico and Xochimilco", inscribed in 1987. In this case the long process of construction allows us to observe different stages and architectural styles. The design of the master stone mason Claudio de Arciniega followed the outline of the rectangular, hall-structure ground plan, also used in Guadalajara Cathedral, the construction of which began in 1571.
Puebla Cathedral, included in the World Heritage Site "Historic Centre of Puebla", inscribed in 1987, was designed by Francisco Becerra. It is influenced by Andalusian cathedrals, especially Jaén´s, in the the ground plan layout; and in the design of the roofs, which are at the same height, although later the central nave was raised above the side naves.
Habana cathedral, Cuba, included in the World Heritage Site "Old Habana and its Fortifications", inscribed in 1982, was the result of a first project drawn up by Juan de la Torre. The influence of Jaén Cathedral is obvious here: there is a similar hall-structure ground plan, the pillars are square and there are adjoining columns coming up half-way.
Tunja Cathedral, New Granada, is considered to be the oldest of the two cathedrals built in the XVI century in Colombia. Its construction began in 1569. It is a temple with three naves with a rectangular ground plan, where the sacristy and tower are inlaid. The main chapel has a flat end wall and the transept is not highlighted in the ground plan of the building. Angulo Íñiguez described it as a "Mudejar Gothic Temple" hailing back to the Andalusian churches of the earlier Middle Ages. Its front façade (1598-1600) is considered "the most beautiful piece of Renaissance work in Colombia". Bogota Cathedral, of which Antonio Cid´s plan from 1575 still exists, has three naves and a flat end wall, where four lateral chapels form the cross-shaped ground plan.
The construction of Quito Cathedral, Ecuador, in the historic centre of the city, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978, began around 1562; the temple was inaugurated in 1572. As is the case with Puebla, the longitudinal direction of the building is a continuation of the neighbouring square. It is a temple with three naves separated by square pillars supporting ogive arches. The main chapel is octagonal, behind which there is a transversal bay or nave which is connected with the side chapels by ogive arches. According to Angulo Íñiguez (1955, Vol, 1, page 597) "without taking into account the extensions added later, Quito Cathedral is a XVI century work, as it was begun in 1562. It was prior to Tunja Cathedral, and is perhaps the oldest cathedral in South America. At that time the construction of the definitive Cathedrals of Lima and Cusco had not started." A reference is also made to the style of a Gothic Mudejar temple, which spread across Andalusia before it spread to Quito.
Francisco Becerra possibly intervened in the Santo Domingo and San Agustín churches in Quito, designed around 1561, which was the moment the architect arrived in the city. The San Agustín temple has three naves, the central one being wider and higher, with a presbytery and a flat end wall and two apses, therefore, the ground plan of the building can be described as rectangular.
Francisco Becerra participated in the construction of Lima and Cusco Cathedrals, Peru, (both are included in World Heritage Sites). He was the architect responsible for the influence of Jaén Cathedral being strongly felt in South America. In both cases, the building had a hall-structure ground plan with three naves inlaid in a rectangle with a flat end wall.
Cordoba Cathedral, Argentina, was begun in 1580. However, the bulk of the work was carried out in the XVII and XVIII centuries. It is an example of how far south Spain´s influence spread through South America. This type of church has three naves and an inscribed square ground plan with a flat end wall. It is worthy of note that this type of ground plan is found in most XVIII-century churches in Buenos Aires.
In present day Bolivia, Potosi Cathedral, built at the beginning of the XIX century, can be considered, quoting Antonio Bonet Correa, as the last echo of a totally Spanish cathedral "with a rectangular ground plan, and raised pillars or columns....which became valid following the style of the Renaissance Cathedral of Jaén".
The conclusion of the comparative study allows us to state that Jaén Cathedral presents clear differences to the other monuments of the same type inscribed on the World Heritage List. The arguments are the following:
a) The cathedrals inscribed on the World Heritage List basically illustrate, from the chronological-regional point of view, the development of architecture in Europe in the Middle Ages. It includes only a few examples of expressive styles linked with pre-Roman architecture, but also a significant number of examples which illustrate both architectural styles which were typical of that period: Roman and Gothic.
b) The Expressions of religious architecture corresponding to Renaissance and Mannerism are hardly represented on the World Heritage List. The most significant piece being St. Peter´s Basilica, included in the property of the Vatican. There are other relevant cases of Renaissance architecture included in urban areas inscribed on the List. In comparison with these cases, Jaén Cathedral can be seen as a highly significant example of a cathedral which shows a notable unity of concept and construction, reflected in its space, expression and shape.
c) Other cases of religious architecture inscribed on the World Heritage List are not comparable with Jaén Cathedral, due to the obvious differences of function, size, location, style and technical characteristics.
d) In comparison with other Spanish cathedrals and temples of the same stylistic and chronological category, Jaén Cathedral shows a notable spatial and stylistic unity, which was faithful to the original design, in spite of the long period of time which was taken to construct it. This, in itself, makes it a main and unique example of Renaissance architecture in Spain.
e) Jaén Cathedral had a considerable influence on the development of religious architecture, particularly cathedrals, in South America, which has been widely recognized by the most important architectural historians.
Its influence can be verified in relevant examples of cathedrals from New Spain (Mexico) to Río de la Plata (Argentina). The fact that it was considered a "head of series" by the most important historians of Hispanic architecture, confirms the cathedral´s exceptional world-wide character.