In Practice on December 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm
The Plaza de San Francisco is one of Seville’s most regal, lined as it is with the facades of the Audiencia, the Ayuntamiento and the Adriatica’s curved corner, not to mention the terrace of balconied, 18th century town houses that would have accommodated the great and the good – chief benefactors of the city’s waning golden age. It’s one of those spots in Andalucia’s capital where you can stop for a moment, raise your nose in the air – otherwise scented with oranges or their blossoms – and still catch the reek of all the money that came pouring into this town, off the backs of South American slave miners for the most part, I would have thought.
Dark history aside, it’s a beautiful place, and rarely dark in this day and age. On the contrary, the plaza is sunny and colourful, a venue for everything from Christmas markets to Easter processions. At a distance from its southeastern corner, but tall enough to preside over it, is the Giralda – Seville Cathedral’s bell tower, symbol of Spain and former minaret, topped now with a 16th century addition: the belfry. People forget that the Moors built skyscrapers. The Almohads in particular – they erected the Giralda as well as its sister tower in Rabat in their native Morocco, both of them modelled on the Koutoubia minaret in Marrakesh. More
In Plenary on November 16, 2011 at 11:21 am
We love Seville; it seems to us just about the perfect city. Leafy, shaded parks that provide contrast and refuge from the warren of narrow streets in the old town. Majestic plazas and hidden plazuelas. The Giralda, a twelfth century Almohad minaret, emblem of Spain, and the cathedral to which it later became attached, the world’s third largest church. The cradle of flamenco across the river in Triana. The Alcazar with its insanely ornate mudejar palaces. The old juderia of Santa Cruz, its boulevards and squares lined with orange trees. The bull ring. The Torre de Oro. Everything, basically.
K is in her element with the big city shopping and I am in mine with…well, anything – as long as it isn’t shopping. What we share is the opinion that this is the best place to eat in Andalucia; were El Tapeo a country, this would certainly be its capital. If it has one minor flaw, and this is in fact the only criticism we can ever think of, it’s that it isn’t Granada. But let’s not quibble.
We part for the afternoon – K for the shops, me for this other thing I want to do. When we meet up again she hasn’t finished and suggests I go down to the cathedral for a look. For all it’s glory there has always been something inaccessible about the cathedral for me. More