Sunday, August 9, 2009

Catedral in Seville (Santa Maria de la Sede)

Depending on the criteria one uses, this is considered the largest church in the world. It was impossible to stand back far enough to photograph, whether standing outside or inside. Actually it is the third largest church in Europe, and the largest (area- wise) gothic church in the world. Taking 120 years to build, the site originally held a mosque that was torn down in 1401.

(the cathedral is to the left in the photo above)

looking across the square and standing in the doorway of another building....

The main entrance

There are restoration braces supporting a few of the enormous pillars in the church. They keep the building from collapsing while research is being conducted on whythe pillars are cracking.

The oval dome of the chapter room.

The Giralda Bell Tower, one of the remnants of the Moorish Mosque that formerly occupied the site.

The Bell Tower exemplifies the elegant simplicity of Moorish design. There is a ramp that spirals to the top of the tower because it was designed to accomodate a rider on horseback who would ride to the top of the tower (33o feet) five time a day to give the Muslim call to prayer.

When I would climb a tower or to the roof of a church, I would try to imagine what was needed to build these large buildings, especially with all the details that can only be seen from close up. As I was walking up the Bell Tower, my question was anwered in a series of displays that showed the tools of the builders and craftsmen that constructed the Cathedral. Seeing this made the size of the construction seem all that more impressive.

View from the tower, overlooking Sevilla.

I really loved this view from the tower - a you progress from up close to distant view, I could see the oldest parts of the city and the new bridges crossing over the river.

Patio de los Naranjos / The Court of the Oranges: this is also a remnant of the original mosque. The fountain where Muslims stopped to wash their hands, face and feet before praying can just be seen in the center.

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