This church was initially a chapel and family pantheon built by the 2nd Count of Olivares. His son, Gaspar, succeeded in having it elevated to the status of collegiate church through a papal decree. This allowed the church to operate independently from the Archdiocese of Seville.
It is one of the prime examples of 17th-century architecture in the province of Seville. It harbours an exceptional collection of artworks from leading artists of the time. Pedro Roldán, María and Luisa Roldán, Francisco Antonio Gijón, Juan de Roelas and Zurbarán are some of the names associated with this exceptional Site of Cultural Interest.
The Collegiate Church of Santa María de las Nieves is also the seat of the Confraternity of the Solitude and the family pantheon of the Counts of Olivares. The Chapel of the Relics is one of the most remarkable examples of the religious spirit of the time. The church has the second largest collection of relics in Spain in terms of quality and quantity.
This rectangular building has a Latin cross plan. There are three lintelled entrances and a tower with two levels. The nave and two aisles are covered with barrel vaults and decorated with plasterwork and columns originally from the Carmelite convent of Los Remedios in Seville.
The church houses several altarpieces in different styles and a large collection of gold- and silverworks. The main altarpiece holds the baroque image of the Our Lady of the Snows (after whom the church is named) by María Roldán, as well as statues of saints Nicholas, Dominic, Peter and James the Great (all from the 17th century) and a small sculpture of the Immaculate Conception (18th century).
The chapels contain works by Roelas and Zurbarán, among others. Several sculptures in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament are attributed to Roldán. At the opposite end of the nave is the choir with a double row of 17th-century choir stalls decorated with geometric motifs.