The sculpture that crowns the Giralda is popularly known as "the Giraldillo" and is a real symbol in Seville, as long as the tower itself. It symbolism is not clear, but some people say that it depicts the victory of the Christian faith.
It was made by Bartholomew Morel, carried out between 1566-1568 intended to be a "weathercock" or "giralda", giving the name to the tower by which it is universally known. It's a woman dressed with tunic, holding a warrior's shield in one hand, and a palm branch in the other. It measures 3.5 meters height and weighs 128 kilos.
El Giraldillo was completely restored in 2004 after centuries suffering the weather. Before moving again the sculpture to its original place on top of the tower we enjoyed a historic exhibition of the Giralda in front of the public. We'll never see it so close again. You can see some picture of this exhibition.
Nowadays you'll see an exact copy of the Giraldillo on the ground, in front of the Puerta del Principe (Prince's Gate), the Cathedral's entrance for tourists. This sculpture was placed on top of Giralda when the original one was under restoration.
Link to the next tip
And finally we're with the most famous sight of the Cathedral and, for sure, of Seville itself, La Giralda! This is the Cathedral's belfry, worldwide famous thanks to its mix of Arab and Christian art.
This tower is, with the Oranges Trees Courtyard, one of the few remains of the ancient Almohad mosque, considered to be the sister of the minaret in Marrakech (Morocco). Undertaken by Ahmed ben Baso, the foundations, estimated at 8.5 meters, are of ashlars of stone to a height of a few 2 meters above the current ground level. Some stones actually come from the remains of Roman and Arab constructions. The tower got a total height of 82 meters, being the tallest construction in Seville (at least until the construction of Torre Cajasol).
The minaret was crowned for four spheres of golden bronze but it was destroyed as a result of earthquake of 1356. The current bell tower was made by the Cordovan Hernán Ruiz III between 1558-1568 reaching a total height of 103 meters in total.
It's possible to climb the Giralda using its inside ramp. In my opinion it makes the exercise a bit easier than with regular stairs because it was prepared to reach the top riding a horse and the elevation is not so bad. Good luck!!
Link to the next tip
One of Seville's most impressive structures, it was originally the Mohammedan minaret and attached to a mosque. La Giralda was later converted into the bell tower of the Seville Cathedral. It's well worth climbing to the top for some stunning views of the city.
The Giralda was once the minaret for the mosque in Seville. It is now the belltower for the Cathedral of Seville. You can climb the 34 ramps to the top. It's not a terribly difficult climb really, ramps are somewhat easier than stairs. It was built so that a man on horseback could ride up and down the ramps, though as I remember that might have been a tight fit. Before you knock yourself out climbing all those ramps though, remember that the privilege will cost you 9 euro. I wonder what it must have been like in earlier times, the guy guarding the top floor yells down that he needs this or that, with no pulley system or an elevator system the guys downstairs would have to schlepp the cannon (or whatever it was) all the way up those ramps! One thing you will notice at the top of the Giralda, you will get to see just how huge the Cathedral of Seville is, seeing the Patio de los Naranjos and the complex. Good view of the city.
At first you might not notice it, but the upper third of the Giralda has a different design from the 16th century that includes the bells. At the very top is the weather vane, the little figure of the Giraldillo, one of the symbols of Sevilla.
The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville and used to be a minaret. It is the symbol of Seville. One unique feature is that there are no stairs but ramps to get to the top of the tower. On the way up there are several windows, so you get different views of the city and of the cathedral.
Most children find cathedrals and towers pretty boring stuff. However the Giralda Tower at the Sevilla Cathedral is something that most children really enjoy.
The Giralda Tower in Seville is a former Almohad minaret that when it was built was the tallest towers in the world at about 320 feet. It is an outstanding example of Baroque and Gothic architectural styles being molded together seamlessly. The tower still is visible above all else as you walk around the old city of Seville.
What makes the tower so unique is that instead of stairs there are a series of thirty four ramps to ascend. These ramps were built so as to allow the muezzin to ride a horse to the top of the tower to yell the Adhan, or Islamic call to prayer. This makes the tower a kick for kids. They run this tower like it is a race course. Many wonder how many floors there is to the top. Of course not having stairs also makes it interesting for those of us older folks who do not like stairs. As a great bonus feature there are cut outs every two ramps or so that allow you to step back and take a great view of the city below you. Watch your step however because you likely hear a group of screaming children running up and down the stairs. Unfortunately they aren't ringing the church bells or calling the faithful to prayer. It would be a lot quieter if they were.
Several towers around the world have been built based on the principles of the Giralda Tower. The one that is most significant to me is the Ferry Building tower in downtown San Francisco on the bay.
The minaret of the old mosque was kept when, in the 16th century, the mosque was demolished to build the cathedral. Later on, an earthquake destroyed its top, replaced by a belfry and topped with a four meters high statue that turns according to the wind. Giralda is a Spanish name to weather vane.
“The first thing to do is to ascend the Giralda.”
from the 1830s ‘Handbook for Travelers in Spain’ by Richard Ford
First Things First — If it’s not the first thing you do, make sure you do it. The climb to the top of the 230-foot tall bell tower known as la Giralda, the emblem of Sevilla, is an easy one compared to other towers. Instead of stairs the builders used 34 ramps with a gentle slope to facilitate the climb. The view is well worth your effort.
Faith, standing 13 feet high, has crowned the top of the tower since 1568. The bronze sculpture was originally called Giralda, meaning weathervane, because it twists with the wind. As time went by, the tower became known as la Giralda while Faith came to be called Giraldillo.
The Giraldillo symbolises the Catholic faith. The Renaissance figure wears a tunic, with a warrior’s shield in one hand and a palm frond of peace in the other.
As you wait in line at Puerta San Cristobal to enter the cathedral, there is a copy of the Giraldillo to keep you company. In a most democratic fashion, the citizens of Sevilla were asked which they wanted at the top of the tower. The majority chose the original.
The Giralda is the minaret of the ancient Almohad Mosque. The slender body is made on brick in Almohad style. In 1568 Hernán Ruiz added the bell tower, crowned by a statue of Faith in the shape of a woman with classic Roman cloth, holding in her hands a shield and a palm. This figure is known as el giraldillo.
The way up consists of ramps instead of stairs, since the muezzin used to go up riding a mule five times a day to call to prayer. On top of the tower there are excellent views of the city.
Towering gloriously over the city of Seville, la Giralda is a surviving reminder of the Great Mosque of Ishbilia (i.e, the Arabic name for Seville). This minaret and its majestic mosque were built in 1198 AD by Almohads, during Moslem al-Andalus, and modelled after al-Koutoubia Minaret in Marrakech. So impressive was la Giralda to Europeans, it inspired the construction of church bell towers all over the continent. After the reconquest of Seville by the Catholics, the mosque was destroyed to make way for the largest cathedral in Europe, but the minaret and the adjacent courtyard were spared destruction and were incorporated into the construction of the Gothic cathedral, which began in 1401. Though it has remained largely intact, la Giralda was crowned with a Baroque bell tower in 1568. It is beautifully illuminated by night and is open to visitors during the day for exceptional vistas of the city of Seville. La Giralda is the uncontested symbol of the city of Seville.
The Giralda is the Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Sevilla and used to be (at least the first two thirds) the minaret of the Almohad Mosque of Sevilla back in medieval times.
Please read all the interesting details from the link below!
We heard that one had a fantastic view of Sevilla from the top of the Giralda, but since there was no separate entrance for the Giralda only (just in combination with the Cathedral), we did not climb it! Oh, by the way: no steps there, just ramps, so that the soldiers back then could go up on their horses!!!
Passion of a different sort. My foremost thought when writing this tip is to link this form of sacred music to the statues of saints lining the exterior of the Giralda. That aside, the spiralling minarets resembling conches set against Gothic arches, seem to be pretty eccentric for a religious place. Add to that, swaying palms (akin to a Middle Eastern scenary) at one side of its facade - you'd almost think a mosque is a better fit in the picture.
The girlada is one of the most touristic place to visit so maybe you'll find lots of people for going up. Anyway i suggest u go to the top 'couse you have a beautiful and amazing panoramic view of Sevilla and of the river Guadalquivir. If you have read the Dan Brown books, you can remember that "Crypto" (in italian titel, around the world the correct title is "digital fortress") is located here. I love to find the places that i have read into the books. Anyway the Girlada is great example of architecture, it's not hard to arrive to the top (there were also families with little children) and it gives you a great panoramic view of Sevilla. Just pay attention to the bells when you are on the top..sometimes(every hour), they ring, and you are just there, close to them
The Giralda used to be part of a mosque, but is now the bell tower for the cathedral. You can access it from inside the cathedral and though the walk up is quite long, the path is flat like a wheelchair ramp (the only stairs are in the top part) so it's not that tiring. On the way up, you'll see some historical objects and info on them, and once you get to the top, the view from up there is amazing!
The Giralda was the former minaret of the old Moorish mosque, today its the tower of the cathedral and as the city's landmark you surely can't miss seeing it!. In the time when it was built it was the highest building in the world. Today, including some additions made by the Christians with a huge bronze statue at its top, the Giralda measures 97,5 meters. Its woth the climb (not steps but sloped ramps) for the fantastic view over all the city from the top - not a lot of room though! Its beautifully lit up at night too.