Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saint Mary of the See (and there's no SP)

a view of the bell tower
There's a song that goes, "Sevilla tiene una cosa que solo tiene Sevilla" - Seville's got something that only Seville has got. It's true - it's got the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the third-largest church, and the final resting place of our friend Chris Columbus. Officially, it's the cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (as in, The Holy See, not seeing and not the sea-sea). 

tired of walking? catch a ride (or a few zzzs) outside the cathedral
If you only visit one cathedral in Spain (I know - there are lots to choose from!), visit this one. The Giralda bell tower is 105 metres high and provides spectacular views of the city. The design is based on the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, yet another example of Moorish-Hispano blends in architecture (although the statue on the top, "El Giraldillo", was added in 1568, representing the triumph of Christianity in Spain - never a people not to press a point, these Spaniards).

the spectacular vaulted ceilings and enormous organ 
When I lived in Valencia during my third year of uni, I went to Seville to visit friends for Easter. We saw hauntingly spiritual processions on Good Friday - it's the only time I have ever seen a crowd of Spaniards standing quietly, in near silence - and we attended Easter Morning mass at the cathedral. I can hear the triumphal organ fanfare as I reminisce. So joyful, so victorious, resounding through the nave, accompanying the congregation as we poured into the streets.

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