La Giralda, the popular name for the famous bell tower at Seville Cathedral, comes from the striking sculpture come weather vane that now tops the tower. It effectively means “she who turns” – from girar, to turn, and giraldillo, the term for a turning weather vane. Needless to say, this name encouraged restless me to make the winding climb up the tower.
The interior of the 104 metre high tower consists of 35 ramps, built to allow those on horseback to reach the top of the original Moorish minaret tower. This easy ascent is now open to tourists (after a long wait in a queue), though the Renaissance style top that was later added by Spanish Christians adds 17 steps to the effort.
As I made the ascent, my walk mapping app seemed to struggle with my constant turning, and generated the crazy red map above. The walk is gentle and the ramps are wide enough to allow the easy passing of the many tourists that are ascending and descending on the same ramps. The ascent was far easier than that zig-zag plan suggests.
The ramps are also blessed with viewpoints so that you can take a view of the city and absorb the details of the tower and the Cathedral as you climb.
It is fun to admire the views from a gradually increasing height.
At this point, ramp 34, you know you are close to the top, and once you have climbed the steps you are at bell level .
If you have heard the bells striking from below, you’ll be very glad they aren’t ringing while you are at their level – they are very lively and very loud!
You can do a full circle of the tower at this level and enjoy the wide views.
I hope you enjoyed that spiral walk. If you get to Seville and want to do the walk yourself, do check out the opening hours in advance and get your ticket in advance if you can. Seville is a very popular city and its main sites gather long queues. The easiest way to get an advance ticket for the Cathedral and the tower, is to visit the Church of El Salvador and buy a combination ticket that you can then use immediately, or the following day, to enter the Cathedral through the priority door.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 20 June 2016
Part of Monday Walks