Thousands of people queue for hours to see inside Seville Cathedral, we are not sure why! Certainly you never see queues like this for popular churches in France. We went 30 minutes before the opening of the Giralda Tower, to wait in line for a ticket. I had tried to book online but failed, although I won't be surprised to find I am still charged for it! Our queue was relatively short, but the one for the main cathedral filled three sides of the enormous building. While waiting I snapped a few lovely details.
and when inside, having paid and demanded our change, even though it was obvious the women had no intention of giving it to us (imagine how much extra she makes every day!), we found ourselves inside the cathedral … maybe those in the other enormously long queue are admitted to some other part of the building?
According to my notes the Holy Cathedral Church of Seville was built over the main Almohad Mosque of Seville in the 9th Century. The tower is the only part of the mosque still remaining. The cathedral is huge, the largest Gothic temple in the world. A mausoleum contains the mortal remains of Christopher Columbus.
There is tremendous wealth on view, in treasures and artworks …
but I prefer the windows …
As soon as we could we made our way to the tower, which is accessed by thirteen sloping ramps.
It seemed as though a horde of tour bus people were rushing up and down the narrow ramps, but when we were leaving the hordes had doubled! La Giralda was built as a minaret for a mosque between 1184 and 1198 by Ahmed Ben Baso. It is 76 metres high and was crowned with four golden balls which could be seen from 40 km away. When the Moslems surrendered the city to the Christian King Ferdinand III in 1248 they wanted to destroy the tower, but were not allowed.
The reason we can now ascend a ramp instead of steps is because the muezzin in charge of calling people to prayer wanted to ride to the top on his horse!
The bells housed in this world heritage site are quite impressive! We hear them morning and night, not too loud, just friendly spunds delivering their messages of time passing.
This is a view of the little streets around the cathedral ….
We descended to the Orangerie, El Patio de los Naranjos, the Moslem courtyard of orange trees, once joined by little canals for irrigation. Looking up from there you can see the flying buttresses.
Now we were back in the plaza, looking up to the beautiful Giralda Tower. The top one-third of the tower is Spanish Renaissance architecture, funded by gold brought from America.