The Giralda is the biggest gothic cathedral in the world and the third biggest temple after Saint Peter “basílica” in Rome and Saint Paul in London. Around 1401 the decision to build the Cathedral onto the near-demolished mosque grounds was made. The dean, Don Pedro Manuel, determined it would be the biggest Christian temple ever built. The best architects (Diego de Riaño, Juan Gil de Ontañón and Hernán Ruiz II, took charge of the works altogether with the most prominent stonecutters. Its consecration took place in 1507.
It has nine access gates. The eldest is the Forgiveness gate, the former mosque gateway. In 1522 it was decorated with a relief alluding the ejection of the merchants from the temple. The gate of the Birth, also called San Miguel, is the one used by the fraternities at Easter for their accession in the temple. These brotherhoods leave the temple through the Palos gate, by the Giralda. The gate of the Prince is exclusive of the royalty.
The Lizard gate links the temple with the Orange Tree Courtyard. It is named after the woodcarving representing such animal on the top or it. The internal floor is distributed in five naves oriented towards the east and it’s a perfect rectangle measuring 116 meters long and 76 meters wide, matching the size of the original Almohad mosque. In the side naves, there are chapels interspersed between the buttresses. The magnificent windows lighting inside, are made by Flemish and German artists in the 16th century. Its last restoration was made in 1930.
Stand out paintings such as Goya’s Justa and Rufina’s, Murillo’s Inmaculada, Alejo Fernandez’s Adoration of the Mages, and other Zurbaran and Valdes Leal works. A distinguished sculpture is Martínez Montañés’ Christ of the Mercy.
In the Royal Chapelle we can contemplate the burials of Peter I the Cruel, Alphonse X the Wise and the urn of the incorrupt corpse of Fernando III the Saint, and the picture of the Virgin of the Kings, the city’s patroness. Christopher Columbus’ tomb it’s found in the axis of the Cathedral entrance.
The Giralda is the symbol of the city of Seville. The current belfry was the former minaret of the mosque and it’s a great Almohad style masterwork. It has a height of 97,5 meters or 101 meters including the Giraldillo. There aren’t stairs to get the top, but several ramps which allowed the sultan to get there on horseback.