La Giralda and Cathedral in Seville - La Giralda and Cathedral in Seville -

La Giralda and Cathedral in Seville


La Giralda and Cathedral in Seville – The largest in the world

The tower of Seville’s Cathedral is one of the most famous monuments of the city, a simbol, next to the Tower of Gold and the Triana Bridge.

A lot has been said and written about the Sevilla Cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, and the Giralda, which was minaret of the old mosque on which it was built in the XV century. This is one of Spain´s top attracions.

Recommended tours

These tours are very highly rated and they are probably the best option available to enjoy a visit this top attraction in Seville. The price is very reasonable bearing in mind you get  an expert guide. It is advisable to wear comfortable and non-slip shoes if you want to climb to the top to enjoy magnificent views of the Sevilla Center.

Cathedral and Alcazar Combo tickets

The most affordable way to enjoy both monuments (Cathedral and Alcazar)
Likely to sell out

Private Tour with Giralda and Alcazar tickets

An exclusive 3-4 hours private tour to enjoy the highlights of Seville.

La Giralda of Seville

Seville was the capital of the Iberian Peninsula during the Almohad domination, it was its biggest mosque three centuries earlier. has two distinct styles, Muslim and Christian. In 1355, in Christian times, was when the minaret and its 4 golden balls that crowned the Giralda were demolished.

They decided to put in its place a small minaret that remained so until the sixteenth century when it was remodeled to its actual state, with the belfry and crowned with a bronze statue of the giraldillo.

The Sevilla Cathedral, where the Giralda can be found, is one of the biggest of the world in terms of gothic style, and the third Christian church (after Basilica de Nuestra señora aparecida in Brasil and St Peter in Rome). On top of the beautiful stained glass windows of the XVI century, you can find works by very important artists and many treasures and anecdotes.

Concerning the various styles, we can find different ones added like the Baroque, the neoclassical and even the neo-gothic left their mark on this open book of history. All of these styles were added to the Muslim base that can be seen on the door of Forgiveness where you can read in Arabic calligraphy “Power belongs to Allah” and “Eternity is from Allah”.

The Giralda tower

The Giralda, the bell tower which dominates the city skyline and is about 318 ft. high overall, rises up between the Puerta de Oriente and the Puerta de los Palos.

The 4 golden balls that crowned the Giralda were demolished in 1355. The decision taken was to replace these balls with a small minaret. In the XVI century the minaret was changed again and it was replaced by the bronze statue of the Giraldillo.

As an anecdote, we can say that the Giralda of Seville Spin has been conserved until today thanks to the fact that Alfonso X el Sabio, son of Fernando III el Santo who conquered Seville from the Almohad, and was the one who threatened to kill every Muslim of Seville if a single stone was thrown to the minaret.


Interesting facts of Seville´s cathedral

We are pretty sure that once you´ve gone through this list you will want to include La Giralda in your trip to Seville.

Inside, you can find a royal pantheon where rest kings such as Fernando III el Santo, Alfonso X el Sabio, Beatrice of Suabia or Pedro I, also famous illustrious such as Christopher Columbus (father and son) and Cardinal Cervantes or even an uncorrupted saint, San Fernando, preserved in a silver urn.

Outside the Sevilla Cathedral is the courtyard of the oranges, serving as another reminder of Muslim culture that perfumes all of the surroundings.

Why is La Giralda called like this’like this?

The tower takes its name from the crowning figure of Fides (Faith), 13 ft. high, which was made by Bartolomé Morel in 1564. Its banner serves as a weather vane or ‘Giraldillo’, as a symbol of the triumph of Christianhood. The whole tower became known as the ‘Giralda’.

Originally a minaret attached to the mosque, it was built 1184-96. In case you wonder how many minarets are in Seville, the answer is 12, all of which were later transformed.  The sides of the tower are divided into three sections by divisions resembling pilaster strips. This articulation is broken up by twin windows (ajimez) with Visigoth and Moorish capitals. It was not until 1568 that Hernán Ruiz added the top five stages to the tower. There are 24 bells, and the platform affords a fine panoramic view of Seville.

Is it true that a horse could climb to the top of the Giralda Tower?

The Giralda is almohad from its base to the belfry. From there the Mujahideen called to pray five times a day, that is why it has ramps instead of stairs to ease the climb that was done by horse.

How tall is the Giralda?

Measurements of the Giralda made it the tallest building in Spain for many centuries. The original minaret is almost 51 meters high, and the whole of the tower, with the Christian top section, measures 98.5 meters. Its total height, including the Giraldillo reaches 104 meters. The Cathedral of Sevilla is Spain´s largest cathedral (you can find a some of Spain´s best cathedrals in this link)

Did Alfonso X save La Giralda?As a last anecdote, we can say that the Giralda of Seville Spin has been conserved until today thanks to the fact that Alfonso X el Sabio, son of Fernando III el Santo who conquered Seville from the Almohad, and was the one who threatened to kill every Muslim of Seville if a single stone was thrown to the minaret.

Giralda and Cathedral video

Interior of Seville´s Cathedral

The interior of the cathedral of Seville is 249 ft. wide and has a nave, four aisles, and a row of chapels along each Noth and South sides. The ground plan is based on that of the main Moorish original mosque. The length is 384 ft. and the height of 131 ft. (184 ft. at the crossing) is emphasized by clusters of columns. There is an immense wealth of art treasures. The huge main area is illuminated by superb stained-glass windows, which date from 16-19C.

Along the long axis, there are three beautiful enclosures. The first, the chorus, in the middle of the nave, is decorated with a splendid reja (grille, 1519) by the Carthusian Fray Francisco de Salamanca. This Coro also contains exquisitely carved sillería (choir stalls, 1478) with 117 seats; the splendid carvings include a representation of the Giralda.

The late Gothic and Plateresque alabaster chapels, the ‘Capillos de los Alabastros”, are interesting for they are built against the outside walls of the Coro and have fine wrought-iron grilles.

The Capilla de la Concepción chica contains a wonderful wooden ‘Immaculata’ by M.Montañez,

The Capilla Mayor is surrounded on three sides by gilded 16C rejas. The Capilla Mayor contains a huge late Gothic retable (75 ft. high, 66 ft. wide), which was designed by the Dutchman Pieter Dancart and built from 1482 onwards by Dancart and others. The side wings were added at a later date. There are around 1,000 figures grouped into 45 scenes! from the life of Jesus and Mary; these include the figures of saints (including the patron saints of Seville)

The Sacristía Alta behind the altar contains a fine Plateresque artesonado and three paintings by Alejo Fernández. The third enclosure is the 16C Capilla Real, the royal burial chapel at the Eastern. end of the cathedral. It is dedicated to Ferdinand the Holy, the conqueror of Seville, and the 18 Century screen depicts the scene of the handing over of the keys of the city.

The Sacristia Alta is a domed Renaissance structure, and contains the tombs of Alfonso X, the Wise, and his mother Beatrice of Swabia. In front of the high altar there is an 18C silver shrine containing the remains of Ferdinand the Holy. In the centre is the ornate Virgen de los Reyes’, a 13C Romanesque Virgin Mary which Ferdinand took into battle with him and Seville’s patron saint.

The crypt contains the remains of the rulers of Castile, including Pedro I the Cruel and his mistress Maria de Padilla. There is also a 14C ivory figure of the ‘Virgen de las Batallas’, a French work which Ferdinand is also said to have taken into battle as a talisman.

The sacristy contains Murillo’s painting, “Mater Dolorosa’ and the chapterhouse has a painting of Ferdinand III attributed to Murillo. The elliptical chapterhouse is decorated by artists from Seville, and has an ‘Immaculata’ by Murillo among other. works. The Sacristia Mayor is unusually fine and is decorated in Plateresque style

The rich cathedral treasure is housed  includes: a reliquary shrine, the Tablas Alfonsinas’, which is a triptych; a large silver 16C processional monstrance by Juan de Arfe; a bronze candelabra over 20 ft. tall, Bartolomé Morel’s mid-16C “Tenebrario’; a fine ‘Deposition’ by Pedro de Campaña from 1548; Zurbarán’s ‘Our Lady of Mercy’; and ‘Christ, an ivory carying by Alonso Cano.

Giralda and Cathedral plan

la giralda of seville plans

Outside Seville´s cathedral

This huge building took a hundred years to complete (1402-1506), and is constructed on the foundations of a former Visigoth cathedral, on whose site the Almohades built an important mosque in 1172. This was reconverted to Christian worship in 1248, and continued as such, with interior redecoration, until the new building was begun in 1401. Such was the religious enthusiasm of the time that the cathedral was built to be described as the largest built cathedral in the world, and the third largest church in Christendom after Gothic St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.


Portals in the Cathedral in Seville The cathedral has nine portals.

Due to the fact this is the largest cathedral in the world, you may wonder how many portals the cathedral has.

The Puerta Mayor is the main façade and it is located on the Western side. It is partially from the 19 Century and it is itself flanked by two fine portals, the Puerta del Bautismo and the Puerta del Nacimiento, which has some excellent sculptures.  

The Puerta del Perdón on the Northern side is an impressive Mudéjar structure which stands at the top of stairs and leads through Patio de los Naranjos (courtyard of oranges). The bronze panels on the door are written in Koranic texts in vertical Kufic script.

This portal and the Patio de los Naranjos both testify to the Moorish past of the cathedral.

The octagonal marble fountain in the middle of the patio dates back to Visigoth times, and was used for ritual Islamic cleansing. Altogether, 19 horseshoe arches survive from this period. The battlemented wall on both sides of the Puerta del Perdón is from the Almohaden times.

To the left of the Puerta del Lagarto, which has a horseshoe arch and a Mudéjar artesonado, is the Capilla de la Granada, which has some Visigoth fragment reliefs on the arches. and was probably employed as an Islamic place of worship.

On the East side of the patio de los naranjos is the Biblioteca Colombina, which was established in the 13C and contains 13-15C manuscripts and books of hours, and also some works with notes by Columbus himself!

Some of the contents of the library a gift from Fernán Colón, Columbus´s son. The Western end of the patio is bordered by a 17C baroque single-aisled Sagrario, which is now the parish church.

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