La Giralda was once the minaret of a mosque that stood on the spot where Seville Cathedral is now. Constructed between 1184 and 1196, La Giralda was one of the three major minarets built by the Almohades, a Moroccan Berber dynasty that took control of Spain in the 12th century. The other two minarets are in Rabat and Marrakech. After the Reconquista in 1248, the Christians claimed La Giralda for their own, and it’s been the bell tower to Seville Cathedral ever since.
You will see La Giralda long before you get close to it. It towers over the cathedral and the neighboring rooftops. Take a moment to appreciate the artisanship of the belfry, and the large bronze statue of a woman representing faith that tops the tower. These were actually late additions to La Giralda, added in the 16th century and taking it to its current height of 341 feet (104 meters). Towards the bottom of the tower look for the stones with inscriptions relating to the Roman emperor Augustus. The original minaret was constructed using the remains of Roman monuments.
Stand at the top of La Giralda and cast your eye across the rooftops of Seville. Look out for landmarks like Royal Alcázar and Plaza de España. Exceptional bird’s-eye views of the city, as well as privileged peeks of the gargoyles and buttresses on the upper reaches of Seville Cathedral, are your reward for making your way to the top. The tower itself demands attention too, with intricate trelliswork and carving making for a simple yet attractive aesthetic.
Access to La Giralda’s interior is via Seville Cathedral. End your tour of the cathedral’s vast nave by climbing the gently inclining ramp to the top of the tower.
La Giralda is located in Seville’s Old Town, on the east bank of the Guadalquivir River. The tower is close to other major attractions, such as the Royal Alcázar and City Hall. La Giralda shares opening hours with the cathedral, and the admission fee is included with cathedral entry.