Spain-Morocco 2015

Sevilla: the largest Gothic church in the world

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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Giralda Tower, formerly a Moorish minaret from which Muslims were called to prayer, it became the cathedral’s bell tower after the Reconquista.

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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.

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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.

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Sevilla: Moorish art and architecture

4 Comments

  1. Basia
    July 22, 2015 at 11:55 am — Reply

    Oh my gosh that ALTAR. Wow.

  2. July 22, 2015 at 10:28 pm — Reply

    I am enjoying your blogs a great deal .I do however take issue with the reconquista or competetive ethic rather than the cooperative ethic that the spainards displayed . Given the Muslims contributed to the philosophy agriculture and economy I don’t see the need to rid the Muslims as they did, or for that matter as aggressively as Isabella and Ferdinand seemed to demand .Given we are all of the abrhamic faiths there could have been more of a mudejar approach to the benefit of everyone. Spain’s economy may not have suffered so extensively with the constant fighting to which they refer . The Muslims were not communists purporting a non religious stance and a country whose influence needed to be rid of . As a Christian I am not proud of the Triumph of faith It was the triumph of imerialism Piercing the pomegranate of Granada is also a sad commentary It was grandiose thinking in that era against those who were their neighbours Yes a vanished world

    • July 23, 2015 at 3:44 am — Reply

      Thank you for your comment Karen, I am glad you are safely at home.

  3. Karen
    July 24, 2015 at 8:36 am — Reply

    Once again thanks for your blog Each day I review the splendours of what we saw in each city especially in Spain.your investigative journalism has paid off for each of us
    I just sent the site to our monsigneur who I know will especially enjoy the gothic cathedral of Seville
    Thank you Joanna
    Rest at home is good I’m arising each day from the brain fog that was our amazing pace !!!

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