Build in the 15th century, the Seville Cathedral is the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world. Its bell tower, originally a minaret and nowadays known as La Giralda, is probably the best known symbol of the city.
The cathedral is built on the site where once the Moorish main mosque of the city stood; after the Christian conquest of Seville it was converted into a cathedral. But in 1401, the mosque being badly damaged in 1356 by an earthquake, it was decided to build a huge new cathedral in the Gothic style.The story goes, the members of the cathedral chapter decided to “…build a church, so great and beautiful that those who´ll see it will think we were mad.” In 1402 it´s construction began, and it took little over a century to finish the building. Only a few years later, in 1511 the dome collapsed, and works on the cathedral were resumed. The dome again collapsed in 1888, due to an earthquake.
Of the 12th century mosque some parts still exist, in particular the courtyard, now the Courtyard of the Orange Trees or el Patio de los Naranjos, with the beautifully crafted Puerta del Perdón (Door of Forgiveness), and of course it´s minaret, better known as la Giralda.
As you might know, Muslims call to prayer from a minaret. Climbing the 105m (343ft) high Giralda is a quite a job, so the Moors constructed stairs that can be climbed on horseback! But no horses nowadays, you just have to walk all the way up… On top of the tower stands a four-meter high bronze statue that represents Faith; it runs with the wind. In Spanish a weather vane is called Giralda, thus the nickname of the tower.
September-June: Mon- until Saturdays: 11.00h-17.30h. Sundays: 14.30h-18.30h.
July and August: Mon- until Saturdays: 09.30h-16.30h. Sundays: 14.30h-18.30h.
Due to the celebration of acts of worship and other cultural activities, exceptions to the schedule are made.
Normal entrance fee is €8,- ; for students (until 25 years) €3,-
More information at http://www.catedraldesevilla.es/