The Giralda Tower
The Giralda rises victorious above Seville’s horizon and its 35 ramps recount the story of the city’s Roman, Islamic and Christian inheritance.

Visit the Giralda of Seville

Usually, a building is worth visiting as a whole. However, there are certain constructions that are so magnificent and special that it’s worth visiting each part that conforms them separately. Normally, in those cases, each element possesses its own history and is a unique treasure in itself. Such is the case of the Giralda, the bell tower of the famous cathedral of Seville, in Spain.

History of the Giralda

The tower was built in the 12th century, but not as part of a catholic church but as a minaret for a mosque. When you visit it, if you happen to find ancient Roman inscriptions on the tower’s base, don’t think that we’re lying about its construction period. What happens is that the Muslims used stones from ancient Roman monuments to build it.

Actually, there are several destinations in southern Spain where you can still find a rich coexistence between Jewish, Christian and Islamic architectonic styles, but if you want to see the valuable contribution each of these religions made to the history of this area, Seville should be your destination of choice.

Arab History in Seville

When the Giralda was built, the Almohads governed the region and it was them who ordered the construction of the minaret. This monumental work was built by joining load-bearing walls with 35 ramps that remain intact. And in case you wonder why they are so broad and high, the fact is that they were designed like that so that two people could climb them at the same time on horseback. You’ll have to climb them on foot, so prepare for a good workout, and in case you lose track of your progress, simply look at the signage on the ramps; they’ll help you count the number of flights you’re missing.

Spanish Reconquest

After the Christians reconquered Spain, a devastating earthquake destroyed the mosque and, unfortunately, only two parts of the structure survived: the Patio de los Naranjos (Court of the Oranges), which can still be seen from the tower’s windows, and the minaret. Later, when they built a gothic cathedral where the mosque used to stand, they decided to rescue the tower, so they added some elements in order to transform it into a belfry.

The name Giralda comes from the word girar (to spin) and it means “she who turns”. It refers to the 4-meter tall bronze sculpture that tops the belfry and that represents the victory of faith.

Giralda Bell Tower

In your trip, visit the cathedral first because you can only access the Giralda from inside the building. After the long climb, enjoy the rewarding 360-degree view of Seville and try to spot the city’s main buildings. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to listen to the bell chimes while being there.  

Because reading is where the journey begins...
  • Save on Hotel Rates

    On weekdays, hotel fees in Seville are lower. Take this into account if you’re planning a short stay.

  • Choose the Best Travel Season

    One of the best months to visit Seville is January because the weather is dry and cold in the mornings, but by noon the sun is up and warm.

  • Enjoy a Siesta

    Siesta time in Spain is between 15 and 18hrs, so it’s probable that at that time you’ll find the streets empty. It will be the perfect moment to take pictures without people standing in the way.

  • Wear comfortable shoes

    Wear comfortable shoes and clothes when you visit the Giralda. The climb to the top is tiring but it’s worth it.

  • Learn More

    Reserve a guided tour to the Giralda by visiting the Cathedal of Seville’s official website.

  • Tour for Free

    Entrance to the Giralda is free on Mondays, so plan your visit on that day.

  • To The Giralda on Horseback

    There is no stairway to climb up the Giralda. Instead, there are 35 ramps that were built in such a way that they could be climbed up on horseback.

  • The Sculpture of Faith

    The Giralda, a huge statue created by sculptor Juan Bautista Vazquez El Viejo that represents Faith, was named like that because it turned with the wind.

  • The Giralda in New York

    There used to be a replica of the Giralda in New York, but it was destroyed and, instead, they build the Madison Square Garden in that same spot.

  • The Original Giralda

    The Giralda was built in the 12th century in the Almohade style and with a height of 76 meters.

  • A Terrible Earthquake

    The Giralda was originally adorned with three spheres which were brought down by an earthquake in the 14th century.

  • Architectural Details

    The brick ornamentation you can see at the Giralda is called sebka and it consists on small arches which, together, form rhombus shapes.

  • La Giralda moderna

    En el siglo XVI, el arquitecto Hernán Ruíz confirió su aspecto actual a la Giralda.