Seville: Architecture at its Best

By: Gaizka Pujana

As such, it comes as no surprise that Seville is home to some of the most exquisite monuments in the world, spanning over the area's rich history and combining the cultures and art of the city's local inhabitants over the years.

A trip to Seville would not be complete without a visit to its Cathedral ' the third largest of its kind in the entire world. This impressive cathedral started out as a temple built by Goths on the ruins of a Roman foundation. The only sign of this temple can be found in the form of a small fountain in the stunning 'Courtyard of the Orange Trees' (Patio de los Naranjos). Moorish inhabitants of Seville soon transformed the temple into a mosque and many signs of the original decorations can still be found today.

With the re-conquest of Seville by the Christians in the 11th century, plans were soon underway to construct one of the largest cathedrals in the world. In fact, Seville's cathedral is considered one of the largest medieval and Gothic pieces of architecture that survive today. Many elements of the original mosque were incorporated into the cathedral, the most important (and impressive) being the Giralda that was used as a minaret by the praying Moors. The Giralda was converted into the cathedral's bell tower and is characterized by an interior devoid of steps the top can be reached via ramps only. The Giralda is almost 100 meters large and visitors can enjoy a fabulous view of Seville from this point.

The construction of Seville's cathedral went on for over five long centuries each time period incorporating specific architectural designs and building materials. Elements of Renaissance architecture are present, although, for the most late Gothic and Plateresque styles are particularly dominant. Gold and other precious metals abound in this great cathedral. Visitors will stand in awe of the cathedral's breathtaking Flemish glass works and a visit to the location's museum is an absolute must to see interesting religious artifacts that were used in the cathedral over the years.

Not far from Seville's cathedral is the Reales Alcazares (or Alcazar). This impressive building was developed from the city's Moorish Palace and plenty of Arabian design can be seen, despite the fact that the major part of today's palace was constructed after the Christian re-conquest in 1248. The building of this palace also spanned over 500 years and was influenced by architectural trends of this time span. As a result, the palace is an interesting blend of Arabian (Mudejar) and Renaissance styles, with its fantastic gardens a stunning mixture of designs.

Other constructions with particularly interesting designs in Seville include the city's bullring called Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza with its 116 asymmetrical balconies that date back to the 18th century. French architects, Bernadet and Steinacher also left their professional print on Seville through the construction of the famous Bridge of Triana.

In short, Seville's architecture tends to dazzle its visitors through beautiful design that epitomizes each era and relates the story of this wonderful city.

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