The Giralda of Seville

The Giralda of Seville

Last updated on November 12th, 2023

Guide to the Giralda of Seville

The Giralda is the symbol of Seville, the bell tower of the Cathedral. Let’s discover all the secrets of this unique monument.

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🙋🇬🇧 Small-group guided tour
A guided tour of the Cathedral & Giralda

The Giralda of Seville (Spanish: La Giralda) is the bell tower of Seville Cathedral and one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.

The Giralda is one of Seville’s most privileged vantage points, one of its symbols par excellence. Recognisable the world over, its silhouette has inspired a multitude of works of art and even very similar monuments, almost twins, making it quickly recognisable to anyone, even if they have never been to Seville.

It is also one of the best-known monuments of Moorish origin in the world.

It was originally built as the minaret of the Great Mosque of Seville in the 12th century, but it was converted into a bell tower after the Christian conquest of the city in 1248.

The Giralda in the background
The Giralda in the background

It is part of the Cathedral complex, to which it gives lustre and grandeur and is one of the most beautiful bell towers in the world.

It was originally built as the minaret of the Great Mosque of Seville in the 12th century, but it was converted into a bell tower after the Christian conquest of the city in 1248.

A brief history of the Giralda

The Almohad tower was inaugurated in 1182. It was inspired by its twin towers in Rabat and Marrakech, which are still standing today.

The Moorish touch of the monument is undeniable. Don’t miss the magnificent exterior decoration of the tower with the characteristic diamond or sebka work, which is a Muslim ornamental motif in the form of rhomboidal figures, apparently inspired by textile motifs or the silhouette of mountains.

It is made of brick and has a unique architectural style that combines elements of Islamic, Mudejar, and Gothic architecture.

With the Christian reconquest came the new architectural body of the building, built between 1558 and 1568, in Renaissance style, corresponding to the bell tower of what became the Cathedral of the city, formed by the body of the Bells, on which three other small bodies were placed, called the Clock, the Stars and the Carom, on which is the Top with the Sphere.

Upon it is the sculpture representing the triumph of Faith, which today is popularly known as the Giraldillo. This enormous 4-metre sculpture serves as a weather vane and was, in its day, the largest in Europe.

Replica of the Giraldillo
Replica of the Giraldillo

The Giralda is crowned by a bronze statue of a woman known as the Giraldillo. The Giraldillo is 4 meters tall and weighs 1500 kilograms.

The interior of the Giralda is very simple, without great ornamentation. The ascent to the bell tower is by means of ramps, designed with a gentle slope and with enough space to allow a horse to pass. This measure was taken to make it easier for the imam of the mosque to reach the top.

The climb is a walk suitable for almost everyone, requiring a minimal level of physical fitness. There are plenty of landings on the way up with nice views, perfect to pause and catch your breath.

The Giralda is part of the Cathedral complex, you will have to buy a ticket to the Cathedral and access from the inside to go up

The Giralda is a unique monument in the world and represents like few others the historical evolution of the city that houses it. In this tower, there are Roman, Moorish and Christian elements. It was originally conceived as a beacon tower of the main mosque of Almohad Seville. Roman architectural elements from the nearby ruins of Italica were used for its construction.

The Giralda’s Clock Bell

The visit. Climb the Giralda

The ascent is onerous, especially on the hot summer days of Seville, but it is worth it for the great panoramic views of the city. It is quite an experience for children. The climb up the Giralda is included in visits to the Cathedral of Seville.

We will have the chance to see one of the unique and most unrepeatable views of the city, so it really is worth getting to the top, for the wonderful sights we will see once up there.

It is worth a visit just to contemplate this lady of Moorish origin. One of the essential views of the monument can be seen from the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes just opposite it. The Giralda, majestic and, at the same time, very close, is shown to us in all its splendour, making us resemble specks of dust beside it.

The Giralda of Seville is a truly unique and iconic landmark. It is a must-see for any visitor to the city.

But if it is spectacular on the outside, with its 97.5 metres in height and crowned by the Giraldillo, which is the cherry on top of the monument, it is even more so when you go inside. Its 35 ramps, wide enough for a horse to pass, in fact, it seems that the person in charge of calling to prayer in the Moorish period of the monument used to do so, lead to the last 17 steps that take us to the visitable area of the monument.

The Bells The Cathedral is the Spanish church with the most bells, with 24 bells, 18 with turners and 6 with clappers, found between the exterior belfry and the Bells Room.

The largest or broadest is called Santa María la Mayor and weighs 5,362 kg, belfry, south side, followed in the corners of the bell room by San Miguel, with 3,548 kg, San Cristóbal, with more than 3,000 kg, Santiago, Santa Catalina and Omnium Sanctórum, 1,330 kg, and the Bell of the Clock Hours with 1,439 kg.

The Giralda offers stunning views of Seville and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower via a ramp

Timetables and prices

The Giralda is part of the visit to the Cathedral of Seville. Therefore, the monument has the same timetables and prices. See updated info in the report of the Cathedral of Seville.

From Mateos Gago Street
From Calle Mateos Gago

What would the Giralda have been like before the Christian reconquest?

The clue is in the Koutoubia of Marrakech, by the same authors. Judge for yourself. Same concept but without later additions.

The Archive of the Indies of Sevilla

School tours at the Alcazar of Seville