Sevilla: the largest Gothic church in the world
Jamón is the Spanish word for ham. In English it refers to certain types of dry-cured ham from Spain. There are two primary types of jamón: jamón serrano (meaning ham from the sierra or mountains) and jamón ibérico (ham from the Black Iberian pig). You can see them everywhere you go. Spanish people eat a lot of jamón.
The Cathedral in Sevilla is the world’s largest Gothic church and the third largest church in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. Until 1401, there was a big mosque here.
One of the highlights of the Cathedral is the tomb of Christopher Columbus carried by four kings. They represent the regions of Castile, Aragon, Leon, and Navarre. The cross held by the king of Leon has a pike end, which is piercing a pomegranate, the symbol of Granada-the last Moorish-ruled city to succumb to the Reconquista in 1492. (Rick Steves)
And now… the largest altarpiece ever made, with 44 scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary carved from walnut and chestnut, blanketed by a staggering amount of gold leaf. The work took three generations to complete.
Giralda Tower, formerly a Moorish minaret from which Muslims were called to prayer, it became the cathedral’s bell tower after the Reconquista.
A 4,500-pound bronze statue symbolizing the Triumph of Faith caps the tower and serves as a weather vane. The Triumph of Faith means the triumph of the Christian Faith over the Muslim one. All these details with very powerful messages: first the pierced pomegranate and now the vane on top of the former minaret. One faith was conquered by another, and the triumph was visibly marked.
With UNESCO recently listing flamenco as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, we should remember that flamenco is in Seville’s blood. One of its centres is the district of Triana, in Seville, where Andalucia’s Roma people use it to sing about their lives and struggles.