...all the while admired by the city. Throughout much of the world, the Giralda is the instantly-recognized icon of Seville. The Giralda is a monument whose beauty is singular and magnetic.
The Giralda is a fabulous montage of the many centuries of Seville’s history that have come and gone. The monument’s confluence of different architectural styles is a reflection of the cultures that have risen and fallen in Seville. The result, eclectic and remarkable, is fascinating.
Originally a minaret for Seville’s primary mosque, the first section of the Giralda was built in the Almohad style by architects Ibn Basso and Ali de Gomara. In 1356, the four bronze spheres that had crowned the tower fell to the ground and were destroyed.
The bell tower is in Renaissance style and was designed by Hernán Ruíz in the 16th century. At the peak of the bell tower, at 104 metres high, a special weathervane can be seen: el Giraldillo, another symbol of Seville.
The historic centre of Seville – the largest in Spain – radiates from the Giralda. Indeed, dozens of towers and belfries throughout the city seem to have been built as respectful salutes to their precursor, the Giralda.
From the massive, mushroom-shaped monument called the Setas, you can enjoy a gorgeous panoramic view of the Giralda.tweet
It has recently been discovered that the Giralda’s original exterior was not the brick that we can see today, but rather it was bright red in colour. Although the exact dating of the red exterior over the centuries has not yet been precisely determined, we do know that the Giralda was red during the Almohad era and the Renaissance.
Centuries-old paintings and engravings testify to the Giralda’s former colour. With proof of the bell tower’s earlier appearance, we can better appreciate some of the works that indicate the Giralda’s surprising tones.
For example, in Murillo’s famous 1666 painting of St. Justa and St. Rufina, which you can see hanging in the Seville Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla), the Giralda looks quite red!
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Keep in mind...
1. There are 25 bells in the Giralda, 24 in the belfry plus 1 higher than the rest – in the attic. When they are rung for important holidays and events, the sound is absolutely spectacular.
2. The name of the Giralda is taken from the weathervane, the Giraldillo. Giraldillo means “weathervane on a tower with a human or animal figure”.
3. In the Seville Cathedral’s Door of the Prince (Puerta del Príncipe), you can see an exact replica of the Giraldillo.