“The Cathedral and the Alcázar of Seville bear exceptional testimony to the civilization of the Almohads and to that of Christian Andalusia dating from the Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century. The Giralda, which influenced the construction of many towers in Spain is a masterpiece of Almohad architecture.” UNESCO
The “Twelve Treasures of the Kingdom of Spain” was a contest/poll that was conducted by the Spanish Television Company Antena 3 and the radio broadcaster Cope. The final results were announced on 31st December 2007. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the eight out of the twelve that I have visited. Third in the competition was the Cathedral of Seville and I am going to have to cheat a little on this one.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral was the largest cathedral in the world and is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus. It was included in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the adjacent Alcázar Palace complex.
Seville Cathedral was built to demonstrate the city’s wealth, as it had become a major trading centre in the years after the Reconquista in 1248. In July 1401 it was decided to build a new cathedral since the structure of the current building, an ancient Muslim mosque which had been converted into a Christian church, had been very badly damaged by the 1356 earthquake. According to local tradition, the members of the cathedral chapter said: “Let us build a church so beautiful and so great that those who see it built will think we were mad”.
Well, I don’t know about the members of the cathedral chapter but we must have been mad because although we visited Seville we didn’t go inside the Cathedral!
After visiting the Bull Ring we returned to the Cathedral square, the Plaza del Triunfo, and had to make a choice between visiting the Cathedral or the Palace and because of Micky’s aversion to churches we chose the Palace. Micky has never explained this issue that he has with the house of God and we have never asked – I have always assumed that he fears either Divine retribution for some terrible misdemeanour or terminal conversion to the Christian faith.
I would have liked to have seen the Cathedral but the Palace was a good choice because the fourteenth century building was a jewel box of patios, halls and gardens. It has been the home of the Spanish Monarchy for seven hundred years and the upper floors are still used by the royal family today as its official Seville residence.
When we paid the entrance fee it was still overcast but by the time we had been around the interior the sun was out again and we had a very enjoyable hour walking around the extensive gardens decorated with tiles and containers and the wall top walks with views over the city gardens.
When we had finished we left and walked back to the Cathedral and then into the network of narrow streets to make our way back to the car park and a return to nearby Carmona.
Perhaps one day I will go back to Seville and this time pay the entrance fee and visit the Cathedral.
So, that is the top three – Cordoba, Altamira and Seville and I have seen them all but now I will have to move on to no. six in the list because so far I have not visited no. four, the Alhambra Palace in Granada or no. five the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillard in Zaragoza.
Even more reasons then to return sometime to Spain.