Climbing La Giralda Tower in Seville

La Giralda: From Minaret to Bell Tower

Seville is a city steeped in history, a melting pot of cultures, and the site of some of Spain’s most recognizable landmarks. One of them is a tower that, when it was built, was the tallest building in all of Europe. Seville is home to a number of historic landmarks, including the iconic Giralda Tower.

Every year, hundreds of people from all over the world climb to the top of the bell tower of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Seville. We promise you won’t be disappointed if you make the trip to Sevilla.

During your time in Seville, you must climb Giralda. If you want a different view of the city, you need to go to the top area. After making the way up the tower’s 35 ramps, you finally reach the last 17 stairs that lead to the coveted observation deck. The Maiden sculpture, which stands at 4 meters, may be seen from the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. From the heights of the Giralda in Seville, the impressive statue watches us.

La Giralda Tower, Seville
La Giralda Tower, Seville

History of La Giralda Tower

In the year 1000 of the Christian era, construction began on the first body of the tower of the Cathedral as a minaret of the grand mosque and, simultaneously, as an astronomical observatory, the second such structure created by the Arabs after the one in Baghdad, located in the same palace of the caliph.

Gever, Zuever, or Hever, the creator of algebra, is the master builder who deserves credit for this. At the time, the scientific expertise of the Greeks, Indians, and Arabs was unparalleled.

The great Arab mathematician Mohamed Ben-Mura, who flourished until the middle of the ninth century, was credited by the Arabs with this insight. The fact that the same master builder created both skyscrapers explains why they seem so similar to one another.

The Seville minaret started off with just the first body and a skinny 14-meter-tall tower topped with colorful tiles and four big golden spheres stacked on top of each other.

This design remained in place until 1396. Its stone bases, which were laid 15 meters below, settled securely in the clayey soil under Seville. There were remnants of the entrance and major front of the long-lost Roman circus among the stones utilized. There may be two gravestones that were miraculously preserved at the tower’s corner facing the Episcopal Palace.

La Giralda Tower in Seville
La Giralda Tower in Seville

On August 24, 1396, yamur, the collapse of the Earth’s axis, was caused by a powerful hurricane followed by earth tremors.

The tower was abandoned after the tragedy, but its long golden jetty served as a weather vane until the 16th century when it was replaced with a wooden bell tower. In 1400, a belfry supported by four pillars and housing Seville’s first public clock replaced the city’s original bell tower.

The tower, which was supposedly miraculously rescued by the city’s patron saints, Justa and Rufina, in 1504, when another earthquake struck with its epicenter in Carmona, was once again subject to close observation.

Christian architect Fernand Ruiz oversaw construction at the time. Without disturbing the tower’s otherwise harmonious tone, he chopped off the higher sections of the tower. In order to complete his intervention in 1568, he used the internal square and reinforced the huge arches on the top of the watchtower.

The existing Christian structure, with the bell tower, was erected in the sixteenth century. Hernán Ruiz II, the project’s supervisor, brought a prototype to the City Council for approval. The Lilies’ body, represented here by the four bronze jars at its corners, comes next. Above this is a second, Renaissance-style body, made by the cannons, stars, dome, and dome, all the way up to the top of the Faith.

La Giralda Tower, Seville, Spain
La Giralda Tower, Seville, Spain

The archives of the Cathedral provide a precise record of the weekly payments paid to the masters who contributed to the decorating of the Giralda. Sculptor Juan Bautista Vázquez was likely in command during these years, but there is no evidence of this in the archives.

Starting in November 1566, the ornamental program ran all the way until August 13, 1568. Canon Francisco Pacheco sculpted a faith-based weather vane and added 52 reliefs to his theological scheme. Since the tower’s restoration took place during the Counter-Reformation, all of the ornamentation celebrates the ultimate success of the Catholic religion.

The unique architectural design of La Giralda Tower

A trip to Seville would not be complete without seeing La Giralda, an architectural marvel. This well-known structure rises to a lofty 104 m in height. La Giralda is a stunning example of Moorish and Renaissance architecture that dates back to the 12th century when it was constructed as a tower for the Great Mosque of Seville.

The tower’s brick and stone construction, decorated with elaborate geometric patterns, is a stunning example of Islamic architecture. Its arched windows and corridors and exquisitely carved decorative embellishments set it apart. The stark contrast between the ochre and white colors elevates its beauty.

The bell tower of La Giralda, created by Hernan Ruiz, is the building’s most eye-catching feature.

Night View of La Giralda Tower, Seville, Spain
Night View of La Giralda Tower, Seville, Spain

The Renaissance period saw its addition, which fused Islamic and Christian styles. El Giraldillo, the bronze weather vane atop the dome-shaped building, is a sign of victory and adds visual interest.

Views of Seville’s skyline are magnificent when tourists ascend the 35 ramps in place of steps. These ramps were built specifically for the use of mounted guards, a fascinating fact that speaks to the tower’s historical significance.

Some weird facts about La Giralda Tower

The unusual tale of the Giraldillo’s relocation from its original foundry in the Porvenir neighborhood is fascinating. The sculpture was moved from the artist’s home to the Cathedral on July 26, 1568, with the assistance of 18 local Moors.

The statue atop the tower has several different names, including “of the victory,” “Giraldillo,” and “the Saint Joan and the Dummy,” but its official name is “Faith Triumphant.” According to the RAE, Giralda denotes a tower vane depicting a human or animal.

To facilitate the ascent of the person in charge of summoning the prayer of the faithful on horseback, the tower’s interior features 35 ramps that lead to the body of windows at the very top. Once he reached the top, he would be responsible for ringing the bells. There are currently 24 bells in this structure, which are activated by an automated mechanism.

Wide View of La Giralda Tower, Seville, Spain
Wide View of La Giralda Tower, Seville, Spain

What was true up to the eighteenth century is confirmed on the tower’s west side. What we thought we saw in engravings and paintings is actually happening right in front of our eyes. Some murals and polychrome paintings have virtually vanished, yet their ochre-colored remnants may be detected on wet days.

According to the inscription located beneath the northernmost balcony, they were included in Francisco Pacheco’s original iconographic program. These styles may be observed in Miguel de Esquivel’s (1621) picture of Saints Justa and Rufina.

All traces of these frescoes have long since been erased, rendering them lost permanently. But the two “machones” on either side of the first balcony of the tower remain, once housing statues of Saint Isidoro and Saint Leandro and Saints Justa and Rufina.

How to get to La Giralda Tower in Seville?

Giralda Tower is easily accessible from everywhere in Seville due to its central location. The tower is easily accessible on foot from everywhere in the city and is a major landmark. Using the Seville subway system: Stop: Puerta de Jerez on Line 1. If you’re using the bus, get out at the Jardines de Cristina stop on lines C4, C3, 5, 41, 42, C1, and C2. Get on the A4 west or east, or the A66 up north, and then the A92 south.

La Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain
La Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain


La Giralda Tower, the bell tower of the Seville Cathedral, rises magnificently over the city center. Its magnificent design and imposing stature entice visitors to scale its old spiral staircases and take in the panoramic vistas of the city below. Visit La Giralda and learn about Seville’s captivating history, which has a timeless attraction.

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