Seville is one of the most famous cities in Spain. Outstanding monuments of the city, which is extremely rich in monuments, are the cathedral, the Alcázar and the Archivo de Indias. The originally Moorish Alcázar was rebuilt in Mudejar style from 1364 and is considered one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain. The overseas expeditions were once prepared in its admiralty hall. The cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. The minaret of the former main mosque was integrated into the church building (“La Giralda”), as was the orange tree courtyard. The cathedral houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus and chapels with important paintings by Murillo, Velázquez and Zurbarán. The Archivo General de Indias holds over 40,000 files, maps and documents on colonial history.
|Official title:||Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias in Seville|
|Cultural monument:||monumental, 130 m long Cathedral of Santa María with a 23×20 m retable in the Capilla Mayor, which shows scenes from the life of Jesus, and the tomb of Christopher Columbus; also La Giralda, once a minaret, now a bell tower and a symbol of Seville, made of brickwork with a diamond-like pattern; the fortress and palace, called “Alcázar”, decorated with colorful ceramics (“azulejos”) and stucco; Archivo General de Indias in the Casa de la Lonja (stock exchange) with 43,000 bundles of files and 7,000 old maps and plans on Spanish colonial history|
|Location:||Seville, Guadalquivir River|
|Meaning:||extraordinary testimony from the time of the Almohads and the Christian reconquest of Andalusia|
|712||Arab settlement of Ishbilja|
|1184||Construction of today’s Giralda|
|1248||Reconquista under Ferdinand III, called the Saint|
|around 1364||Construction of the Alcázar|
|1391||Pogrom against non-Christians|
|15.-17. Century||“Golden age”; Trade monopoly for the Spanish overseas territories|
|1526||Marriage of Charles V with the Portuguese Infanta Isabel|
|1583-98||Construction of the Casa de la Lonja|
|1785||at the request of Charles III. Preservation of all documents about the discovery of America in the Archivo General de Indias|
|1833||Puerta Mayor of the cathedral with 39 figures of saints completed|
Abundance to the point of madness
“Let’s build a cathedral so magnificent and so big that the whole world thinks we’re insane,” the Catholic Council is said to have said when it decided to build the cathedral in Seville. He had the Almohad mosque built by the Moorish archenemies torn down and on the rubble in 1401 the construction of a house of worship began, which in its dimensions overshadowed everything that had been there in Spain so far. According to extrareference, the five-aisled Santa María de la Sede is the third largest cathedral in the world with 69 vaults, 25 chapels and seven gates. If you enter it through the Puerta de San Cristóbal, the interior rises like a stone mountain; Not only as a repentant sinner does one feel small and inconspicuous in this house of God.
In the center of the church is the tomb of Columbus, with which Seville thanked him for the trade monopoly with the overseas colonies and their heyday in the 16th century. His sarcophagus rests on the shoulders of four oversized male figures who allegorically represent the kingdoms of Castile, Navarre, León and Aragon. However, it is not known for sure whether his bones are actually in this coffin. Because in the crypt of the cathedral of Santo Domingo there is another coffin with his name.
All that remained of the mosque was the Patio de los Naranjos, the fountain courtyard for the ablutions prescribed in the Koran, the richly decorated “Gate of Forgiveness” and the minaret. On the slender, reddish shimmering tower, the typical arches and flame-like rhombus patterns are repeated, which unfold their fascinating effect in the play of light and shadow. The minaret, decorated in such a filigree manner, sticks to the gray church wall like a foreign body. To crown their almighty faith, the church leaders added a bell storey and the four-meter-high female bronze figure “Giraldilla” to the minaret, so that at 93 meters it comes closer to heaven than many a church tower.
Right next to the cathedral rises the Arab Alcázar, the oldest royal palace in Europe. Although it was significantly expanded under Christian rule, it clearly bears the signature of Moorish architects: These masters of decorative art created what is perhaps the most beautiful Mudejar palace in Spain, at the same time light, airy and opulent in its play with mosaics, patios and arcades. In the exuberance of the imagination, they descended into overflowing, fragile ornamentation. While the simple outer walls made of clay suggest an almost poor desert castle, the inside is a fabulous abundance of splendor. The ornamentation of tiles and stucco in the numerous halls, which are grouped almost randomly around the inner courtyards Patio de las Doncellas and Patio de las Muñecas, are pure luxury. With goldsmith work, Horseshoe arches, geometrically patterned tile bases and the carved vaulted ceiling, the Salón de los Embajadores can confidently be considered the showpiece of the Alcázar. In later epochs, shiny tile pictures were added under their glaze, which historically document battles and show motifs from the New World. In the south of the palace are the playful gardens with their labyrinth of exotic plants, bushes, fountains and statues, in which Don Juan may already be turtling and Carmen rattling the castanets.
Shortly before the turn of the 17th century, a Renaissance building was completed near the Alcázar, in which the Casa de la Lonja was housed. In the commercially sober commodity exchange, traders conducted their business, haggled over the prices for black slaves, shifted gold and silver that they had stolen from the subjugated Incas and Mayas. In 1785 the Archivo de Indias was set up here by royal order, in which the previously scattered documents about the New World were collected for the first time. With more than 40 million documents between cardboard lids and dust blankets, this is probably the largest fund of the history of the discovery and conquest of Hispanic America.