Think about Spain for a moment… go ahead, I’ll wait.
Most of the images that come immediately to mind are in fact typical of the south & of Sevilla, in particular. Sevilla’s spirit —partially through clever marketing— has captured everyone’s imagination. But the city truly lives up to its reputation. An ambiance exists in Sevilla, even when crowded with tourists, that is difficult to put into words. I imagine every visitor goes there to feel a bit of the city’s special vibe for themselves.
Thinking ahead to next year & some of the places in Spain & Portugal I’d like to cover with Endless Mile, top on the list is the cathedral in Sevilla. How many times have I been inside? Too many to count. How many times would I return? As many as I possibly can.
Like Sevilla itself, the cathedral contains a special something which is very easy to perceive.
During my guiding days, I laughed along with tour members about how many cathedrals we visited in Spain. Sure, there were lots of other monuments along the way but cathedrals stood out, speaking volumes about Spain’s devout past. Being such a central part of everyone’s lives for centuries, cathedrals functioned as early museums & as an expression of a people’s soul. Considering Spain was one of the most powerful countries in the world, that religious message can be almost overwhelming today.
But deconstructing a cathedral & examining it in sections helps understand such a large & complex structure. In fact, Spanish cathedrals are great for that… the main altar & choir are usually smack dab in the center & walled off. They get in the way of expansive views & Sevilla’s cathedral is no exception. Focusing on details first is really the only way to make sense of it all:
And there are plenty of details: glorious ceilings, tons of wealth on display & of course the tomb of Christopher Columbus… well, maybe he’s there, maybe not.
Crowning this treasure is the Giralda, the original tower of the mosque. Named for its spinning weathervane added after the city’s reconquest, the Giralda has great views of the Patio de los Naranjos & the city itself.
I’m anxious to return & start investigating a little deeper into the cathedral’s history… especially with all the great material that’s online these days. I just discovered detailed architectural plans made in 2007 & an original 1888 photograph of the damage caused by a collapsed, central column. Something I’d heard about but had never seen. Can’t wait to find more goodies like this & share them with everyone: