Seville Cathedral and Alcazar
La Giralda tower, Seville Cathedral, and the Alcazar combine to form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower is a minaret, a “masterpiece of Almohad architecture,” according to UNESCO. The cathedral is larger than St. Peter’s in Rome and a 37-meter main altar of carved statues completely covered in gold. The monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus is held aloft by a quartet of larger-than-life figures. La Giralda, the emblem of Seville, began life as a minaret and is all that’s left of the city’s Great Mosque, destroyed to build the cathedral.
The Alcazar opposite was begun by the Moors in 712 and continued after the Christian re-conquest by King Pedro in the 1300s in the ornate neo-Moorish style called Mudejar. The rooms and salons are breathtaking, and the gardens a joy to stroll in, shaded by fragrant orange and lemon trees. Adjoining on the east is Santa Cruz, the former Juderia (Jewish Quarter), a neighborhood of whitewashed homes, iron balconies, and flower-filled courtyards.
Seville has much to offer with cobblestone lanes and stroll the palm-lined promenades. Elegant edifices, old-fashioned street lamps, and horse-drawn carriages create a magical ambience, and the sights are as stunning as the atmosphere.