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Visit the Giralda in Seville

Visit the Giralda together with the Alcázar and the Cathedral

The most beautiful and easy way to discover the three most important monuments of Seville with our guides in Spanish, English, French and Italian, preferential access and the best price guaranteed. Learn about the legends and history, as well as the architecture and art of these fascinating buildings that have made Seville one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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The Giralda is the icon by which Seville is known worldwide. The bell tower of the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world stands out for its beauty and elegance, and is, without a doubt, an essential visit for anyone who is in the city.

Visitar La Giralda

Climbing the 35 floors of ramps until you reach the body of bells is to enter the purest history of Seville, a timeless journey that falls in love with sight and memory to open the doors of the Seville sky.
Vista Lateral de la Catedral y de la Giralda

Subir a La Giralda

Sevillians say that the greatest treasure of Seville is being able to contemplate it from the top of the Giralda. The views of the Turris Fortissima they are an emotional stimulus that elevates the splendor of the Andalusian capital, an experience that in times past was only available to the nobility, royalty and high clergy.

La Giralda y la Catedral desde el suelo

Schedules the Giralda of Seville

The schedules displayed on our website are the official ones of the Cathedral Chapter, although they may be modified by cultural activities and worship.

From 09/01 to 06/30

Monday to Saturday: 10:45 – 19:30 h. (vacate from 19:10h.)
Sundays: 14:30 – 19:30 h. (vacate from 19:10h.)

Access to the Giralda will have a special control and limited capacity, indicating the time of visit to each visitor at the entrance. 

From 07/01 to 08/31

Monday to Saturday: 10:45 – 19:30 h. (vacate from 19:10h.)

Sundays: 14:30 – 19:30 h. (vacate from 19:10h.)

HolidaysTo consult

How to get to the Giralda in Seville

The Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede is located on Avenida de la Constitución s/n and constitutes the heart of Seville. It can be accessed by various means of transport.

PlaneFrom Seville Airport. (AENA Customer Information: +34954221404). AE Special Bus to Jardines del Cristina Station.
TrainFrom Santa Justa Station. (Information Stations
RENFE: +34912432343). Take the commuter train to San Bernardo Station. Take Metrocentro to “Archivo de Indias” stop.
Bus(TUSSAM: +34954975304). Lines: C4, C3, 5, 41, 42, C1 y C2.
Stop “Jardines del Cristina”.
Tesoro de la Catedral

Seville Cathedral and Giralda of Seville Ticket Price

General admission: 11,00 € online / 12,00 € at the box office

Reduced ticket*: 6,00€ online / 7,00€ at the ticket office (Pensioners over 65 years old / Students up to 25 years old).

* Proof of age must be provided by official document.

954 214 971 – Plaza Virgen de los Reyes

Frontal del Órgano de la Catedral

Seville Cathedral and Giralda free of charge

Free admission*: Citizens or residents of the Archdiocese of Seville / Children under 13 accompanied by an adult / Disabled persons over 65% and one accompanying person if required / Nationally unemployed persons.

There are 80 free tickets available on Thursdays (excluding public holidays) with an entrance time of 14:45h., only available on online sale.

* Proof of identity by means of an official document.

The online purchase has an administration fee of 1€.

Giralda of Seville and Cathedral

The Giralda is to Seville as the heart to the human body. When in 1401 the Cathedral Chapter decided to build a new Cathedral in the Gothic style, they did not hesitate to keep the minaret of the old Aljama mosque as the tower of the new temple.

Such was her beauty that it kept the yamur, a Muslim symbol, until more than a century after the christians conquered when it collapsed due to an earthquake. After several attempts, in 1565 Hernán Ruiz II added the current crowning, completing one of the most complete and balanced eclectic towers in the history of art.

Located free on the east façade of the Cathedral, it serves as a link with the old wall of the mosque that surrounds the current Patio de los Naranjos. As an anecdote, and until the construction of the Alamillo Bridge and the Pelli Tower, it was the tallest building in Seville due to an urban planning order that prohibited building above its height.

The entire cathedral setting, including the Giralda, the Archivo de Indias and the Alcázar were declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 by UNESCO, and make up one of the most important historic- artistic ensembles in Europe.

Giralda of Seville History

Almohad period

In 1147 the Almohads entered the Iberian Peninsula with the aim of unifying Al-Andalus, a fact they achieved in 1175 under the command of the Caliph Abu Yacoub Yusuf, the same one that conquered Seville from the Almoravids in 1147 and that in 1172 made it its capital.

At that time, the mosque of Ibn Adabbas(where today the Church of El Salvador is located), the main mosque of the Isbiliya Almoravid, was left small by the increase in population. It was then that the caliph ordered the construction a great mosque with 17 naves and five domes that would exceed even the Cordoba mosque.

The works of the minaret of the new aljama mosque of Isbiliya started in 1184 by the master builder Ahmed Ben Baso who built a stone plinth with Roman ashlars from different buildings and the necropolis to streng then the foundations and the base of the tower. As our guides will explain, you can see Latin inscriptions on different Roman tombstones at ground level. Around 1188, the master builder Ali de Gomara took charge of the work, who decided to finish the two remaining sections of the tower in brick, the first topped with merlons or battlements and the second, a lantern on which the tower top would go.

When the caliph Abu Yacoub Yusuf came back to Isbiliya in 1195 to launch the campaign against the Christians, the minaret was almost finished. That same year the Almohads defeated the Christian troops of King Alfonso VIII of Castile in Alarcos, a fundamental victory to stop the Christian advance on Al-Andalus. To celebrate it, the caliph commissioned the master builder Abu-Layt al-Sigilli an yamur with four golden apples to finish off the minaret of the aljama mosque in Seville, which was completed in 1198.

The construction of the minaret was considered as an architectural enterprise to consolidate the power of the caliphate. Structured in the classic manner of the Almohad minarets with a central prism with a square base and another that covers it, an interior space is created occupied by 35 ramps wide enough for the muezzin to climb on horseback and call the people to pray.

Of the more than 50 meters of construction that are currently preserved from this period, the most characteristic is the sebka decoration in the lateral streets of the tower, a decoration of diamond grids based on lobed and mixtilinear lines.

According to some Arabic texts of the time there was no “in the world of Islam construction as grandiose as that”, referring to the minaret of the mosque of Isbiliya, which could be seen even on a day’s march and which functioned as a great spiritual beacon when the sun reflected on the golden balls of the yamur.

Such was the admiration that it caused that when the Muslims handed over the city to the Christian troops of King Fernando III El Santo and proposed to destroy the tower, his son the infante don Alfonso sentenced: “for a single brick that was taken from it, he would put them all to the knife”.

Christian period

In 1248 the Christians conquered Isbiliya, ending more than five centuries of Muslim rule. From that same year the mosque was consecrated by the Sevillian Chapter to be used as a Cathedral. It is then that the minaret became a bell tower, although the yamur due to the beauty of the set remained. More than a century later and due to the precarious state of the Almohad building, it was decided to build a new temple of such magnitude that anyone who saw it would think it was a real folly. And it was decided to keep the minaret and two wall stretches that surround the current Patio de los Naranjos.

In 1356 an earthquake broke the iron bar that held the balls of the yamur and it collapsed. After several attempts to finish off the bell tower in a dignified way and with the economic boom that Seville experienced after the conquest of America in 1492, the Cathedral Chapter proposed to finish off the old minaret in a grandiose way. After rejecting in 1555 the project of Diego de Vergara, chief architect of the Cathedral of Malaga, who proposed a pyramidal wooden top, the Chapter of Seville approved in 1558 the design of the Cordovan architect Hernán Ruiz II, a body of bells in a Mannerist style that as a great monstrance would finish off the Christian bell tower. The work was completed in 1565 and also included frescoes by the painter Luis de Vargas, which have now been lost.

The Renaissance construction was structured in five bodies that would give shape to four belfries with six bells each. In ascending order: the body of bells, which is the one that visitors can access today; the clock body, with a clock from the 18th century; the body of stars or of the well, with a Latin inscription that runs through the four faces of the tower; the body of Carambolas, of circular plant; and the plume, which ends in a dome on which the Giraldillo sits. The result was a bell tower that appeared to be an architectural unit, but which, however, is the sum of two parts that are distant both chronologically and stylistically, perfectly integrated thanks to the experience and knowledge of Hernán Ruiz II in real and ephemeral architecture, as well as his magnificent mastery of other minor and decorative arts. At that time, the bell tower of the Cathedral was called Major Tower either Tower of Santa Maria.

In order to consolidate the triumph of Christianity over Muslim culture, which was already implicit in the construction of the new Cathedral on top of the old Aljama mosque, it was decided to finish off the Major Tower with a “Colossus of Victorious Faith”. For this, the largest bronze sculpture of the entire Spanish Renaissance was made.

The sculpture, apparently, was designed by Luis de Vargas, modeled by Juan Bautista Vázquez “the Old” and cast by Bartolomé Morel, who also made the pedestal in the shape of a ball that is at his feet and that symbolizes the orb of the world. The statue measures about three and a half meters and weighs about 1200 kilos and was completed in 1568.

The figure, made in Renaissance style in the manner of classical Greek sculptures, is specifically inspired by the representation of Pallas Athena, although there are various studies that claim that it represents Joan of Arc, including others that relate it to the Minerva’s Fountain from the Prussian treasure of Hildesheimer, from 1st century BC. In any case, the knowledge of the Italian Renaissance style of its creators is manifested.

Conceived as a weather vane, it iconographically represents a female figure, which some researchers believe is pregnant (which would also relate to the Immaculate Conception, the conception of Jesus as a symbol of hope), heroically dressed in a capacete (metal helmet) and military clothing in the classic manner, holding in her right hand a shield topped by a Latin cross and a palm leaf on the left, a symbol of Christianity.

Since it was placed as the top of the bell tower, it was a real spectacle to see a weathervane of these dimensions rotate, which is why it began to be known as Giralda, at the end of the 16th century. Over the years, the bell tower was popularly known as “Giralda Tower” and from the 18th century that name was given to the entire tower, leaving the name Giraldillo reserved for the weathervane.

From the year 1592 to 1980 different restoration and maintenance works have been carried out for the optimum conservation of the Giraldillo. In 1981, a polyester copy was made on a mold of the original to relieve the weight of the upper part of the Giralda, which was suffering. But it would be in 1997 when the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía carried out a deep and spectacular restoration. For this, a bronze copy was made in 1998 that replaced the original and culminated in 2005 with a great exhibition and the placement of the original Giraldillo by means of a crane almost 120 meters high.

Giralda of Seville in Art

As a symbol of the city of Seville, the Giralda has always been its best ambassador, appearing prominently in many artistic formats and represented by hundreds of artists throughout history. It was portrayed by painters such as Goya, engravers such as John Frederick, nineteenth-century photographers such as Jean Laurent or Vicente Cajasús, writers such as Juan Ramón Jiménez or the Álvarez Quintero Brothers have written poems about it, among many others from a long etcetera. Even the painter Amalio García del Moral, for more than 30 years, made a series of 365 representations of the Giralda at different times of the day and seasons of the year.

Its architectural impact can be seen throughout the world, from the bell towers of many churches in the Sevillian and Huelva provinces, such as San Pedro in Carmona or Nuestra Señora de la Granada in Moguer, to minarets such as the Hassan tower in Rabat, the tower of the hermitage of Cuatrovitas in Bollullos de la Mitación, the minaret of Koutoubia in Marrakech, the tower of Mansuariah in Tremecen. In the same way, there are various bell towers inspired by the Giralda around the world, such as the Basilica de la Purísima Concepción in Elorrio (Basque Country) or the tower of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and even some skyscrapers such as Freedom Tower in miami and The Wrigley Building in Chicago.

It would be Cervantes who renamed it in the second part of Don Quixote, who “He ordered him to go and challenge that famous giantess of Seville called Giralda, who is as brave and strong as made of bronze, and without moving from place to place is the most mobile and willful woman in the world”.

In painting it has a wide representation, thanks to the fact that it appears with the Saints Justa and Rufina, protectors of the city and specifically of the Giralda, which they would save from the collapse of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Perhaps one of the most famous works is the painting by Francisco de Goya that is in the Cathedral of Seville.

In addition, he has appeared in video games such as Assassin’s Creed or in Hollywood movies like Knight and Day either Mission Impossible. Likewise, the Giraldillo has been the mascot of the World Championships in Athletics, an honorary award from the world of flamenco or, as Golden Giraldillo, award given to the best film at the Seville European Film Festival.

Giralda Facts

La Giralda de Noche

How tall is the Giralda?

The ground plan of the Giralda is square, with a length of 13.61 meters on each side, although the base that supports the tower five meters below the ground is 15 meters on each side. The body of the old Almohad minaret measures 50.85 meters. Adding the height of the body of bells, it reaches 60.45 meters and with the rest of the bodies, not counting the Giraldillo, the height is 87.19 meters. Thus, the total height from the ground, adding the seven and a half meters of the Giraldillo and its pedestal, is 94.69 meters.

Cinco de las Campanas de la Giralda

Giralda bells

The Giralda has the bell tower with the largest number of bells of all the Spanish Cathedrals, specifically 24, of which 6 are clapper or knock and 18 are flip. They all have their own names. The oldest dates back to 1500, it is a striking bell and is called Bell of Santa Cruz. The largest, made in 1588, is a tumbling bell, called the Bell of Santa María Mayor and weighs more than 5,000 kilos.

The Jars of Lilies

Already in primitive Christianity, a jar was represented from whose mouth vines came out and where birds drank, symbolizing the water of life that it contains. For its part, the scientific name of the lily is Lilium Candidum what does it mean “very white flower”, so it is associated with innocence and purity. According to the Bible, the lily is a symbol of election and providence and one of the Marian attributes that represents the Immaculate Conception for its purity and glory. In addition, it is also a symbol of femininity due to its bulbous shape, similar to the flower with the female reproductive system.

In 1568, on the body above the one with the bells, four jars were placed in the corners made by Bartolomé Morel under the design of Hernán Ruiz II, who was inspired by theaeolipians, a device that was used to analyze the winds and that is mentioned by Vitruvius in his work The ten architecture books. These jars would function as luminaries on important days of the year. In 1751 Basilio Cortes added lilies to the jars. Over time they deteriorated and will be replaced by the current ones made of cast iron in the second half of the 20th century, the work of Fernando Marmolejo.

The jars of lilies are the emblem of the Cathedral Chapter of Seville and its symbology has been so powerful throughout history that it is even used without the presence of the Virgin, as a sign in the buildings that are dedicated to her.

Replicas of the Giralda Around the World

The aesthetic paradigm of the Giralda, which has captivated millions of travelers throughout history, has not gone unnoticed by some in love with Seville, so there are several replicas of the Giralda in other parts of the world. Some of the most significant are:

The Giraldilla
of Badajoz.

Built in 1935 by the Giralda Stores. Despite the disappearance of the company, the building was preserved thanks to the fact that the building was acquired by Telefónica.

The Giraldilla
of Carmona

Giraldilla is known as the bell tower of St. Peter’s Church for being a faithful reduced reproduction of the Giralda that even has a Giraldillo and that was completed in 1783.

Giralda Country Club Mall in Kansas City

Built in 1966, it is one of the most spectacular and also has a reproduction of the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. It is curious that Kansas City and Seville were twinned in 1967.

Giralda of the University library of Leuven

Built in 1928, the tower gives grandeur to the Neo-Renaissance ensemble that houses one of the most beautiful libraries in the Netherlands.

The Giralda Hotel Biltmore in Miami

Built in 1926, it is a tribute to the passion that its owner had for Spain.

The Giralda
of Tarragona

It is located in the town of L’Arboc and has been, since 1902, the private residence of a married couple who fell in love with Andalusia, also building the Courtyard of the Lions in the Alhambra and a hall in the Seville Alcázar.

The Giralda
of Ecija.

The tower of the Church of Santa Maria is the tallest of the towers in that town and was built in the 18th century.

The Giralda
in New York

In Madison Square Garden there was a replica of the Giralda between 1890 and 1925. It was a synthetic representation of the Sevillian tower that exceeded it by about 100 meters and was demolished by an insurance company due to an unpaid mortgage. Despite its short existence, the unique building influenced other New York buildings such as the San Remo Building, at the foot of Central Park.

Photos of the Giralda in Seville

Anecdotes and Legends about the Giralda

There are countless stories, anecdotes and legends, some of which the traveler can discover with our guides. Here we list some of them.

  • There are two data that seem to be the first references to the name of Giralda linked to the bronze weather vane. One appears in a manuscript from the Colombina Library and dates from 1592. Another, from 1571, is a file from the Santa María la Blanca Church where it is expressed how to officiate the memory of masses for the salvation of the soul of Juana Martín“the Jiralda”and which is kept in the General Archive of the Sevillian Archbishop.
  • The tower is mentioned for the first time as Giralda in a work written by Agustín de Rojas Villandrando in 1603, in his book The entertaining journey.
  • Legend has it that, during the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which almost completely destroyed the Portuguese capital, Santa Justa and Santa Rufina held the Giralda for the most violent 5 minutes and prevented it from collapsing. For this reason, the tower became an iconographic symbol of the pottery martyrs.
  • At the foot of the Giralda is the Lizard Gate, known for an anonymous wooden carving of a crocodile dating from the 16th century and which, according to legend, was part of an offering made by the Sultan of Egypt to King Alfonso X “the Sage” to ask for the hand of his daughter Berenguela.
  • The copy of the Giraldillo made in 1998 has been in the lobby of Gate of the Príncipe since 2005.
  • In a niche, on the east façade, is the image of a Virgin who once presided over the Cabildos in the Corral de los Olmos, the former Seville Town Hall.
  • On the four faces of the body of stars appears the inscription«Turris Fortissima Nomen DNI Proverb.18”,verse 10 Old Testament proverb 18 (Turris Fortissima Nomen Domini) and what does it mean “the strongest tower is the Name of the Lord”.
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