The Giralda Tower in Seville | 5 master features across civilisations to look out for

The Giralda Tower in Seville | 5 master features across civilisations to look out for when you visit

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links

Presiding over the city of Seville for almost a millennium is the Giralda, a monument that stands as testament to the fusion of architecture, reflecting the cultures and civilisations that has enriched this historic city.

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Many define it as special while some say it is just built of stone. The Giralda Tower in Seville is indeed unique. It gives a sense of permanence, and perspective on the passage of time across civilisations as well as the union of cultures that is emblematic of the passionate and mysterious Andalusian capital in Southern Spain. Perhaps also, because the iconic Giralda Tower in Seville was born of the Almohad dynasty, a minaret to the then famous mosque and now, is a Renaissance style bell tower for Cathedral Santa Maria de la Sede (simply known as Seville Cathedral) today. The Giralda Tower remain as one of the most iconic symbols of Seville since the Middle Ages.

The Tower offer charming views over the bijou city — Patio de los Naranjos, sounds of guitar music, close-up of the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world and the exotic flamenco rhythms that never fail to seduce and charm you.

Giralda’ means “one that turns” in Spanish and takes its name from the weather vane at the top of the tower (the bronze sculpture).

The Giralda Tower or La Giralda (in Spanish) of Seville Cathedral is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1987, along with the Real Alcázar and the General Archive of the Indies. It is a popular attraction, accessed from within Seville Cathedral. We highly recommend that you go. La Giralda will not disappoint. Access to Giralda Tower is included in the Tour to the Seville Cathedral.

This guide shares a brief history of the Giralda Tower, features on what makes the tower unique and ways on how to explore the monument.

Planning a short trip to Seville?

The following resources may be helpful also:

Best tips for the Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville

Seville Cathedral and Giralda Fast Track Entry

The Giralda Tower in Spain

I | History of the Giralda Tower in Seville

The Giralda Tower was born in 1184 as a minaret to the mosque that was built in 1176. The base of the minaret was in cut stone and the main body of the minaret was built in brick, with a later addition of a small secondary shaft at the top of the tower. Crowning the minaret were four golden balls and metal spheres to top the tower. In addition to bricks sourced locally, recycled marble were used from old Umayyad masterpieces. It was the biggest mosque in the Andalusian territory and the pride of the Almohads during their reign.

1 | The design of the minaret

The mosque had a rectangular floor measuring 113 by 135 metres decorated in Cordoban style with stucco and wood, embellished with sandalwood, ivory, ebony, gold and silver. Its base was a square at street level. The foundation was built with solid stones and the tower consisted of two sections, the main shaft and a smaller shaft with a series of ramps so a horse or donkey could carry the Islamic leader to the top of the tower five times a day so he could call for prayers.

2 | From a minaret to a bell tower

However, when Seville was reconquered in 1248 by the Castillian Christians, the mosque was converted to a cathedral. In doing so, some exits and archways were closed off and a number of small chapels were created. The minaret was used as a bell tower.

3 | Rebuilding of the mosque/cathedral

 Giralda Tower and Seville Cathedral Seville
Giralda Tower and Seville Cathedral, Seville as it is today, 2021 | Image: © TTS photographer

Following the earthquake, rebuilding of the Cathedral commenced. The construction project brought together the best artisans in the trade from all over the Castilian empire, as far as the Netherlands and Germany. Work was entrusted to the famous architect of the time, Hernan Ruiz II. The Cathedral was completed in 1506, after some 106 years.

Known simply as Seville Cathedral, it is the largest Catholic Cathedral of Gothic style in the world.

Recommended read: Seville Cathedral

II | What makes the Giralda Tower in Seville unique | 5 features to lookout for when you visit

The Giralda Tower in Seville
the Renaissance belfry tower at the La Giralda in Seville

There are no great ornaments that adorn La Giralda but its uniqueness lies in its marriage of architecture between a fine example of Arab design of the time and the 16th century Renaissance additions, along with its famous bells in the belfry.

Here are some features across civilisations to look out for when you visit:

1 | Design of the Giralda Tower in Seville

Giralda Tower Seville
The Giralda Tower in Seville, Andalusia, Spain | Imaga: © TTS photographer
the Giralda Tower in Seville
close view of the Giralda Tower in Seville, Andalusia, Spain

When Seville Cathedral was constructed in the 16th century, the architect, Hernan Ruiz II also constructed an extension to the solid stone tower of two shafts and winding ramps. The Christian Renaissance style belfry was added to the top of the tower to house the bells. The belfry was constructed between 1458 and 1568. With the addition of the belfry, the tower stood at 96 metres.

La Giralda Seville

2 | The Bells at the Giralda Tower in Seville

3 | Giraldillo Seville — a symbol of victory

The Giraldillo was originally called the Triumph of the Victorious Faith, to symbolise the victory of Christianity over the Muslim world. It was regarded as the largest sculpture of European Renaissance, weighing at more than 1000 kilograms. It embodies a sculpture of a woman about 4 metres high and 4 metres wide carrying a flag pole and a cross, symbolising the victory of Faith. She is made of bronze and is held together with metal bars, while being supported on a vertical metal axis. The vertical axis allows the statue to rotate around like a weather vane.

The unique design of the Giralda Tower in Seville appears to have inspired some countries or states to replicate their very own towers. More on this, below.

4 | The 35 ramps at the Giralda in Seville

Visitors can visit the belfry and reach the top of the tower via a series of ramps and a short flight of stairs.

ramps at the Giralda Tower in Seville | timelesstravelsteps.com
information on the three sections of the architecture visitors shall encounter | © TTS photographer
ramps at the Giralda Tower in Seville | timeless travel steps
ramps wide enough to walk up | © TTS photographer
ramps at the Giralda Tower in Seville | TTS
windows for light & views | © TTS photographer

There are 35 ramps, wide enough and gently inclining, winding around the perimeter of its core to the top of the tower. You get to walk in the footsteps of history as these are the very same ramps that were placed instead of stairs to ease the journey of a horse that carried the Islamic leader to the top of the tower five times a day so he could call for prayers back in the 12th century.

There is a short flight of stairs to reach the top for spectacular vistas over the historic city of Seville.

5 | The Views over Seville from the Giralda Tower

For a 360 view of the historic city of Seville, you need to reach the belfry. As you climb to the belfry, up the 35 ramps, you can stop at each ramp and look out the windows to view the surroundings. At the belfry, you can walk around the four sides for spectacular views of Seville.

panoramic view from belfry of the Giralda Tower Seville eastern end of Saville Cathedral
panoramic view from the belfry of the Giralda Tower Seville eastern end of Saville Cathedral
View of Patio de los Naranjos-Courtyard of the Orange Trees
View of Patio de los Naranjos-Courtyard of the Orange Trees from the belfry of the Giralda Tower Seville. Image shows the garden of orange trees, enclosed by buildings of the Seville Cathedral complex.

III | The Giralda Tower in Seville has inspired other buildings

There are some towers across the world that appear to have borrowed their design from the La Giralda. Here are just a few as examples.


IV | How to visit the Giralda Tower

There are so many ways with a good selection of ticket options to visit the Giralda Tower for best experience. You could select from either to visit on your own by pre purchasing your ticket online or select to join a guided tour. Both options are available by pre purchasing your ticket online and both include priority access. Your experience will be significantly enhanced if you opt for a guided tour as you will learn of the history from a knowledgeable guide.

TTS recommends the following three best ways to experience the La Giralda to suit your interests:

Giralda Tower

1 | Explore independently by pre purchasing a ticket online that gives you skip-the-line access.

Check availability here >>

Giralda Tower tours

2 | Join a small group guided tour with priority access to Seville Cathedral and La Giralda.

Learn more about this option and check availability here >>

Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

3 | Explore all three monuments in half a day with a guide and priority access. Learn all there is to know about these iconic landmarks from your expert guide.

Learn more about this option and check availability >>

SEVILLE TRAVEL

Spain Travel Advice

Seville Spain 37.3891° N, 5.9845° W
Seville Spain
37.3891° N, 5.9845° W

UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Royal Alcazar along with Seville Cathedral, & General Archive of the Indies.


Essential Information:

Seville Cathedral

Add: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

Hours: 10:45 – 5:00 pm




What’s new on TTS


There are no great ornaments that adorn  this historic monument in Seville but its uniqueness lies in its marriage of architecture between a fine example of Arab design of the time and the 16th century Renaissance additions, along with its famous bells in the belfry. Here are 5 master features to look out for when you visit the Giralda Tower via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/There are no great ornaments that adorn  this historic monument in Seville but its uniqueness lies in its marriage of architecture between a fine example of Arab design of the time and the 16th century Renaissance additions, along with its famous bells in the belfry. Here are 5 master features to look out for when you visit the Giralda Tower via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Guided Tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda

Guided Tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda

[Tickets]

Enjoy a skip-the-line access and a guided tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda with this popular entry ticket.

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What to expect in this Guided Tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda Ticket

Guided tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda
Seville Cathedral

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 for its historical, artistic and religious interest, the Seville Cathedral along with the infamous Giralda Tower is one of the most visited monument in the Andalusian capital city in Southern Spain. Visit this iconic landmark with a knowledgeable guide who will ensure you will learn everything there is about this incredible monument.

Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world and was a mosque in the Middle Ages. Stroll around the magnificent cathedral and learn about how a 12th-century Almohad mosque was transformed into the world’s largest Gothic Cathedral over a span of 100 years. Admire the altarpiece and the domed ceiling of the Chapterhouse, as well as keep an eye out for the decorative details from its years as a mosque. There are 81 stained glass windows that will completely blow you away with its intricate designs. Admire works of art by masters such as Alejo Fernández, Pedro Roelas, Murillo, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Valdés Leal and Goya.

Recommended read: Complete Guide to Seville Cathedral

Giralda Tower Seville

guided tour of seville cathedral and giralda
Seville Cathedral and Giralda

After exploring the world famous Cathedral, climb the 35 ramps of the Giralda Tower to the belfry for 360 view of the historic city.

Recommended read: The Giralda Tower in Seville | 6 master features across civilisation to look out for when you visit


What does the Guided Tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda Ticket include:

1 | Skip-the-line entry;

2 | Official guide;

3 | Entrance ticket;

4 | Giralda Tower;


Know before you go

1 | Skip-the-line;

2 | Instant confirmation;

3 | Mobile ticketing;

4 | Special health and safety measures are in place.


Check availability for Guided Tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda

Check availability and buy your ticket/s with your preferred tour operators:


Recommended read: The Real Alcázar of Seville | A Guide to the BEST 22 Unmissable Highlights in the Alcázar Complex

Tickets for Guided Tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda


From: £25.26 per person. Check availability with your preferred tour operator:


Other BEST SELLING Tours in Seville:

Seville Cathedral and Giralda Fast-track Entry

Guided tour > Alcazar, Cathedral and Giralda

Skip-the-line Ticket to the Royal Alcazar (not a guided tour)


TRAVEL ADVICE

Due to recent global health and safety issues, please adhere to travel guidelines in the country you are travelling to. While we at TTS work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out, as some attractions may be closed due to local restrictions.

For the latest on Travel Guidelines, please go to the following Official portals:

Travel abroad from England Advise

Travel abroad from Scotland Advise

Travel abroad from Wales Advise

USA Travel Advisories

Travel between European Countries

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




What’s new on TTS


Enjoy a guided tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda, one of the most visited monument in the Andalusian capital city in Southern Spain via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Enjoy a guided tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda, one of the most visited monument in the Andalusian capital city in Southern Spain via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Best tips for the Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville

The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville

[Tickets]

Visit the best of historic Seville in half-a-day — The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda Tower of Seville, Spain.

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The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville are three very popular attractions in the Andalusian capital city that commands a rich flow of visitors every year. Therefore, long queues are expected on any given day.

Visiting tips for the Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville

The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville can be explored independently by purchasing individual tickets to each attraction. However, the need for a guidebook may be compelling to appreciate the mind-blowing architecture, the historic journeys, and the marriage of cultures that are evident in these UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On the other hand, the combination ticket to visit the Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville is the Best Seller, offer great value and comes with a professional guide.

Note: Tickets sell-out during peak times. Avoid disappointments and guarantee your entrance by pre-booking online.


Here is a little about each of the historic sites that the Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville event covers:

Seville Alcazar

The Alcazar in Seville is a top visitor attraction in Andalusia, and in Spain. A rich flow of visitors every year spend hours admiring the Mudéjar architecture of beautiful rooms, magical courtyards and the lush colourful gardens to be inspired by the oasis of calm that surrounds the palace. Therefore, long queues for entry at any given time is not surprising. In addition, they have a visitor limit of 750 a day which means there is a chance you may not access the palace even if you had been in the queue for hours. The best tip to avoid disappointment is to pre-book online for a guided tour with priority entrance or skip-the-line ticket.

Recommended read: The Real Alcázar of Seville | A Guide to the BEST 22 Unmissable Highlights in the Alcázar Complex

Seville Cathedral

The Seville Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflecting its cultural and historic importance. This glorious monument is the world’s largest Roman Catholic of Gothic style and its sheer size awes visitors almost immediately as they set sight. Seville Cathedral stands as a symbol of the Christians reconquest over the Moors. It was built on the site of a 12th century Great Mosque, over a course of more than a century, from 1401 through to 1506.

There are many highlights within the Seville Cathedral. The unmissable majestic sight must surely be the thirty metre tall altarpiece that is gilded in finest gold. Gold was brought back from the New World during the age of Christopher Columbus.

Another main attraction for visitors is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus himself. The tomb is held aloft by four bearers, representing the four kingdoms of Spain during Columbus’ time — Castille, Aragon, Navara and Leon.

The Great Chapel and Charter House are also compelling sites to spend some time on.

The Giralda

The Giralda is the Bell Tower of Seville Cathedral and is a World Heritage Site of Seville. This magnificent icon was built in 1195 as the minaret of Aljima Mosque. The Giralda reflect a rich fusion of Moorish, Roman Hispalis and Latin epigraphs interweaved perfectly in its architecture.

The Giralda Tower stands at 103 metres, giving sweeping views of the city of Seville from its platform. It also has 24 bells. The Tower has no stairs or lifts. There are 34 ramps, and the climb is not for the faint-hearted.


About the recommended tour: The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville

Enjoy a visit to three of the most popular attractions in Seville historic centre in one tour which could easily fill half a day. In this tour: The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda is likely to sell out in peak times, so pre-book online as soon as you know your travel plans.

What to expect in the Alcazar, Cathedral and Giralda tour

1 | Skip-the-line access to all three monuments;

2 | A professional guide;

3 | Learn the history, the many stories and inside scoop which only the locals know about the monuments and Seville city from your knowledgeable guide;

4 | Explore the Alcazar, one of oldest functioning palaces in Europe;

5 | Opt for either a small-group or private guided experience;

6 | Tour duration is 3 hours;

7 | Mobile ticketing;

8 | Safety and health measures apply.

Georgina suggests: Take a bottle of water with you. You will definitely need it at the Giralda.


Pre-book Online. Check availability with your preferred tour operator:

Tickets to the Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville

In cooperation with our trusted partners: Get Your Guide and Viator

From £42.00 per person: Check availability with your preferred tour operator



Spain Travel Advice

Seville Spain 37.3891° N, 5.9845° W
Seville Spain
37.3891° N, 5.9845° W

Essential Information on the Real Alcázar of Seville :

UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Seville Cathedral, & General Archive of the Indies.

Where: Plaza del Triunfo

Nearest Metro station is Puerta de Jerez.

Phone: 954 50 23 24

http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/

Hours: Apr-Sept: 9:30 am to 7 pm | Oct-Mar: 9:30 am to 5 pm


Essential Information you need to know before your visit:

Visitor capacity

The Palace has a maximum capacity of 750 visitors. When it is full, it is full! Waiting times can be extremely long during peak times. Avoid the queues, save time and book ahead your skip-the-line tickets.

Skip-the-Line Tickets:

Seville Alcazar Priority Entrance + Guided Tour

Guided Tour of Seville Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

Skip the Line Ticket to the Real Alcázar of Seville

More ticket options >>


What’s new on TTS


The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville are three very popular attractions in the Andalusian capital city that commands a rich flow of visitors every year. Visit them in half a day without queuing! via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville are three very popular attractions in the Andalusian capital city that commands a rich flow of visitors every year. Visit them in half a day without queuing! via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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