History of La Giralda, Sevilla, Spain
La Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral in Sevilla, Spain which was constructed in the 12th century by the Almohades, the ruling dynasty of Sevilla at that time. Under their patronage a huge mosque and attached to it a minaret had been built in Sevilla. It took 14 years to complete the minaret in 1198. This minaret was later converted into the bell tower known as La Giralda. The complicated design of La Giralda consisting of 2 separate walls connected by an internal ramp was designed by the architect Ahmad Ben Baso. A severe earthquake destroyed most of the mosque and only the courtyard of the mosque compound and the minaret stood unscathed. This was in 1356 when Sevilla was under the rule of the Christians who replaced the damaged mosque with a Gothic cathedral. Christian symbols like the cross and bells also replaced the original bronze spheres on the minaret, the final touch was added in 1568 with a Renaissance style belfry added by the architect Hernan Ruiz. The name La Giralda, which means weathervane in Spanish, comes from the large vane that sits at the top of the belfry. It is possible to climb to the very top of the bell tower by accessing the stairs from inside the cathedral. The magnificent view from the top of the tower of Sevilla is definitely worth the long climb.
La Giralda and How It Influenced the World
The fact that La Giralda’s design has been copied in recent times while building many towers all over the world, many of them in the US is testament to its enduring appeal. Examples of which are the Madison Square Garden In New York designed by Stanford White, the clock tower of the Ferry Building in San Francisco, the Wrigley Building in Chicago, etc.