Seville was a Roman "colonia" since 45BC. The important city got looted by the Vandals in 428 and developed into a Bishopric seat under Visigothic rule. After the Moors had defeated the Visigoths in the Battle of Guadalete, the conquered Seville and made it the capital of a province. Normans devastated Seville in 844 but Seville got rebuilt and flourished under the different Moorish dynasties.
In 1248 Seville was conquered by the troops of Ferdinand III of Castile. The emigration of hundredthousands of Moors to Northern Africa led to a decrease of economics in the whole area. Seville recovered in the 16th and 17th century, when it became the hub of Spanish maritime trade. During this period, the port of Seville had a monopoly on overseas trade. Vespucci and Magellan planned and started their voyages here.
The Cathedral "Catedral de Santa María de la Sede" was erected between 1401 and 1519 on the remains of the Great Mosque of Seville, built in the 12th century.
With about 11,520m² this is the third-largest church in the world as well as the largest Gothic church. The Cathedral in Cologne covers about 7,900m².
The Great Mosque of Seville was dedicated in 1172 and completed 1198. It was a rectangular building 113m x 135m inculding a minaret ("La Giralda") and a courtyard. After the conquest the mosque was converted into the city’s cathedral. The orientation was changed and it got divided into chapels by new walls. In 1401 it was decided to build a new cathedral and replace the mosque, that had served as a cathedral. In 1551, 5 years after construction ended, the crossing lantern ("cimborrio"), collapsed and was rebuilt. It collapsed again in 1888, and work continued until 1903.
The cathedral of today is 115m long and 76 m wide. There are five naves, the vaultig over the central one is 42m high.
The builders preserved some elements from the ancient mosque, best seen around the "sahn", now named "Patio de los Naranjos" (place of the orange trees). Three of the former four wings around the patio still exist and have horseshoe-arches.
I was suprised to see this crocodile here, as crocodiles in churches are a rare species. The story behind starts with Berenguela, the beautiful daughter of Alfonso X. Now the Emir of Egypt wished for her hand in marriage.
He sent a magnificent embassy to Seville with exotic gifts. Among these gifts were an elephant tusk and a giant live crocodile. The crocodile lived for many years and converted to Christianity before it died. A wooden model was carved, and covered with its skin, and this was hung here. And the Emir never got the girl.
Tagged: , Sevilla , Seville , Vandals , Visigoths , Moors , Normans , Ferdinand III , Vespucci , Magellan , Great Mosque of Seville , Catedral de Santa María de la Sede , Seville Cathedral , Catedral de Sevilla , crocodile , Patio de los Naranjos , Andalucía , Andalusia , Spain