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
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