Sevilla Cathedral & Plaza de España

Sevilla Cathedral & Plaza de España

Old Town Sevilla is a pedestrian haven. There are one way streets for cars, but the roads are so narrow that drivers are forced to slow down. Amazingly, I have yet to hear anyone lay on the horn. If this were NYC, you’d be assaulted by the sound of honking left and right. This Old Town is surprisingly quiet aside from the baseline humming of human activity. We decided that Spaniards are much quieter than their neighbors in Italy. We also finally felt at ease traveling, as there is none of the aggression like what we’d encountered in Marrakech and Fez.

Our first stop for the day was the Sevilla Cathedral, which is the third largest cathedral in Europe, and the largest Gothic church anywhere. After the Moors were defeated, and Sevilla conquered by Ferdinand III the King of Castile in 1248, the Christians constructed this cathedral between 1401-1528 over the original mosque.

The size of the cathedral is hard to capture on photo.
The chaotic array of architectural designs is so confusing, I find myself not able to look away. It almost looks like something out of a fairytale, or a Disney cartoon.
Instead of a long narrow nave, this one is square in shape because the church needed to cover up the entire footprint of the old mosque.
An organ with more than 7,000 pipes
One of the main attractions in the cathedral is Christopher Columbus’ tomb, carried by four pallbearers representing the 4 kingdoms of Spain – Castile, Léon, Aragon, and Navarre.
By the way, Christopher Columbus was Italian, and he never made it to Asia as he had proposed he would do by sailing west.
The ornate underside of the tomb
The intricately carved designs of the cathedral ceiling

The following are some other interesting finds in the cathedral.

The two protectors of the Sevilla Cathedral and Giralda – Santa Justa and Santa Rufina. Painting by Goya.
A 1,000lb silver-plated monstrance
The torso of the angel is made out of the world‘s largest pearl.
Eighty-foot tall gold plated wall depicting the story of Jesus
A 5,000lb silver-plated monstrance. The silver was pilfered from Mexico in the 16th century.
The chapel of St. Anthony, who is known as the patron of “lost things”, will help you find what you’ve lost. Ironically, this painting of St. Anthony itself was stolen, but later recovered in NYC. Since St. Anthony was able to “find” himself, Joe and I decided to try it out. Joe prayed for lost gold and silver 🤷🏻‍♀️, and I prayed for lost mojo and speed. I’ll find out if my wish comes true this coming April in Boston.
The flag of Ferdinand III (depicting the lion of Léon and the castle of Castile) was raised over the minaret when the Moors were defeated in 1248.

The only structure of the original mosque that was left untouched was the minaret – now called the Giralda Tower. Back then, the muezzin rode a donkey up to the top 5 times a day for call to prayers.

We got a chance to pretend we were donkeys, and hoofed 12 floors (according to my phone) to the top of the tower.
Along the way, you get to appreciate the Moorish keyhole doorways.
Church bells have replaced the muezzin’s call
As we headed towards the exit, we started seeing more moorish designs that were left intact.
The exterior of the minaret/Giralda Tower
Ironically, this is possibly my favorite part of the cathedral – the beautiful Moorish entryway. Flying buttresses just don’t do it for me.

Touring the largest gothic church can be surprisingly tiring. So instead of spending another few hours touring the Royal Alcazar, we decided to take it easy after lunch, and relax at the Plaza de España

We stumbled upon the beautiful Plaza Del Cabildo on our way to the Plaza de España.
The expansive Plaza de España
The colorful tiles show historical scenes and maps of all the provinces of Spain – ordered alphabetically. Hence the name Plaza de España.

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