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The Giralda

The Giralda (18A)

Without a doubt, one of the best-known parts of the Cathedral is La Giralda (or Bell Tower), which has become the city’s postcard. The base is the minaret for the mosque that previously stood on this site, built in the 7th century under order of sultan Abu Yacub Yusuf Ad-Almanzur, known more commonly as Yusuf I. 

The tower was built under the direction of Ben Basso, and as you can see at the base, they used the remains of some Roman buildings. It measured 82 metres in height and in its time was the tallest tower in the world.

Alí de Gamara completed it in 1198, when it was crowned with four enormous spheres of varying sizes, made of gilded copper, which glowed magnificently in the sunlight. Sadly, the spheres were lost when they fell during the earthquake of 1356, and the Sevillians erected a small bell tower in their place. 

It was in the year 1558 that architect Hernán Ruiz began to build the current body of renaissance-style bells, which brought the tower to the height of 103 metres. And the ringing of its 26 bells is a joy to all Sevillians. 

Crowning the new set is a bronze statue, representing Victory of Faith in Christ. The statue weighs 128 kilogrammes and is supported by a globe. Despite its weight, it spins on its own axis like a weathervane. This is why it is known as “El Giraldillo” (the “little weathervane”), which is where the name La Giralda comes from. 

In 1987, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you feel like making the climb, you can go to the top of the tower. It’s a long way up, but you’ll find that you can make it without much effort, because instead of stairs there are 35 wide ramps. It is believed that it was built this way so that the sultan could ride his horse to the top to enjoy the beautiful views of the city. 

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