Today was an incredible day. We went to Seville which is such a beautiful city (so much so that we have more pictures in today’s blog then we have ever had and it was very hard to get them down to this number)
The first 8 pictures are from the Spanish Square which was built for the 1929 Ibero-American exposition to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits. The Spanish Square complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain. By the walls of the Plaza are many tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain (7th picture). This place blew us away with its beauty and intricate tile work. A little bit of modern history, this square was used as the set for Naboo in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. It was also used for 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and 2012’s The Dictator.
Leslie had no idea there was such a mix of history in Spain. There are Roman ruins, Moorish castles, mosques and churches all of varying ages based on when the different groups occupied the area. Pictures 12 – 19 show the Alcázar of Seville which is a royal palace originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Spain, being regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of mudéjar architecture (a mixture of Muslim and Christian architecture styles) found on the Iberian Peninsula. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence (it is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe). This palace was used in the movie Kingdom of Heaven and as the set for the Water Gardens in the fifth season of the Game of Thrones.
The next 8 pictures are from the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See. It is the largest Gothic cathedral, the largest cathedral in the world and the third-largest church in the world (the other two are basilicas). The cathedral was built to demonstrate the city’s wealth, as it had become a major trading center in the years after the Reconquista in 1248. In July 1401 it was decided to build a new cathedral. According to local oral tradition, the members of the cathedral chapter said: “Let us build a church so beautiful and so grand that those who see it finished will think we are mad”. They succeeded. It is incredible. Construction began in 1402 and continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish gave half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and laborers and other expenses.
The cathedral is also contains the tomb of Christopher Columbus (24th picture). This actually is a bit controversial as he was actually buried in Valladolid, Spain, then moved to Seville, then Santo Domingo, then Cuba, then back to Seville. The guide told us that a DNA test has proven that the remains in Seville are the actual remains.
The Giralda is the bell tower of the cathedral. It is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. It was converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista, although the topmost section dates from the Renaissance. We climbed 34 flights (luckily it was ramps) to get to the top. It was a beautiful clear day and we had fantastic views of the whole city (last 3 pictures).