La Giralda, the profoundly beautiful bell tower of the Seville Cathedral
by Catherine Petit
I went up to the roof bar of my hotel in Seville because I had been told it was very nice. The blue sky for a roof, a breeze for air-conditioning and many white sofas with coffee tables and areas of raised tables with bar stools for enjoying the afternoon or evening, but that is not what is important, or why I came up here.
I went upstairs to see how beautiful Seville is, and I was blessed.
I sit in awe of the cathedral, seeing how large it is. Seeing the flying buttresses from here, I am amazed at how they brace the Cathedral walls. You cannot see their beauty from the streets below. I sit there and wonder how on earth it was possible to build such a lovely building. I have been inside many times and have seen the huge pillars holding up the roof, but to see the buttresses from my elevation left me without words.
The sun was setting. Below me the street lights in Plaza Nueva came on. At first, they were emerald green, and then they changed to white. As I was watching the streetlights, I noticed the Giralda (Faith, the weather vane on top of the building) wave to me. I do realize that it was the wind changing direction, but “waving to me” sounded so much better in my head.
Staring at her, I watched her dance in the wind, she is so graceful. Seeing her reminded me of the real reason she is up there. She was placed there by the Sevillians many years ago to show that faith is the most important of all virtues.
As the sun set, the lights that illuminate the Cathedral and the Giralda came on. The site took my breath away. It is hard to describe something so immense, so beautiful, so old, and so lovely in the setting sun.
There are statues, gargoyles, beautifully carved filigree, all decorating the exterior. Each statue has something placed near it to indicate which disciple, or which saint, or which person it represents. There are some people here that can name each and every one of the statues, and there are many.
As I glance around the cityscape, I notice another church that is not too far from my location. I have been told it is San Salvador, and I have walked around this church and gone inside to see the beauty within. But tonight, I am seeing the beauty on the outside. The rounded dome is gorgeous. Blue tiles, with gold, and a gold cross on top. It is a very large church, but nowhere near the size of the Cathedral.
Again, the setting sun illuminated the dome increasing the beauty not seen before.
Seville never ceases to amaze me. It is a beautiful city, and I always look forward to “getting lost” somewhere and finding great beauty.
Related post: Adventures in Spain, see various chapters in this magazine.
Featured image(La Giralda)/Pedro Lozano, CC BY2.0
Panoramic view of Seville dominated by the Cathedral/Paul Van DerWerf, CC BY2.0
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