Our hotel Monte Triana has a superb location very close to one of the most visited sights in Seville, the Giralda. This is the name given to the bell tower of Seville Cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See.

Our hotel Monte Triana has a superb location very close to one of the most visited sights in Seville, the Giralda. This is the name given to the bell tower of Seville Cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See.

The tower was built over several historical periods. The lower two thirds date from the 12th century and correspond to the Almohad minaret annexed to the main mosque, while the upper third is a Christian construction added to house the bells. The Giraldillo statue sits on top of a sphere at the top of the bell tower.

La originalidad de la Giralda ha servido como inspiración a numerosas torres posteriores de países como Rusia, Polonia, incluso Estados Unidos.

The total height of the Giralda, including the Giraldillo, is 104 metres. For centuries it was one of the highest and best known constructions in Europe and the tallest tower in Spain, taller than towers like Big Ben (96.3 m) and the Tower of Pisa (55.8 m). The Giralda was declared a Heritage Site in the 1980s.

The Giralda’s originality has inspired subsequent towers in countries like Russia, Poland and even the United States.

The construction of the Giralda, as a minaret of the main mosque, the remains of which we can still see from the Patio de los Naranjos, began in 1184. Works were begun by the architect Ben Baso. The minaret was 82 metres tall and was the tallest building in Europe in its day. Works were completed in 1198 with the placing of 4 gilded bronze spheres at the summit of the tower.

Its style is reminiscent of major 12th-century Hispano-Maghrebi works such as the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque in Marrakesh and the never-completed Hassan Tower in Rabat, which is considered to be a sister tower to the Giralda.

When Seville was conquered by King Ferdinand III the Saint in 1248, the mosque was consecrated as a cathedral. The 4 spheres fell during an earthquake in 1356. The spheres were replaced by a belfry and later, under the direction of architect Hernán Ruiz, a full bell tower was added, as well as a statue at the top representing faith. This statue, which doubles as a weather vane (the largest statue cast in bronze in Renaissance Europe), is known as the Giraldillo. It is 3.5 metres tall and was probably made by Juan Bautista Vázquez the Elder.

The name Giralda comes from the Spanish word girar meaning ‘to turn’ and means “weather vane in the shape of an animal or human figure”.

The Giralda has a total of 24 bells, the most of any cathedral in Spain.

New York’s former Madison Square Garden contained an Americanised replica of the Giralda, which was taller than the original (134 metres) and was one of the first skyscrapers in that city. The statue of Diana which topped the tower is still kept at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. New York's Giralda was demolished in 1925.

There is another replica in Kansas City, which is twinned with the city of Seville.

It is well worth going up the ramps of the Giralda (only the final section has stairs). You travel back in history, submerging yourself in a world which imbued the city with its culture for centuries. From the upper viewpoint there are marvellous views of the entire city and nearby towns. The viewpoint is ideal for photography lovers.

You can walk to the Giralda from the Hotel Monte Triana in about 20 minutes, passing through much of Triana and the Historical Centre.