January 10, 2014

0959, 0960 SPAIN (Andalusia) - Cathedral, Alcázar and General Archive of the Indies in Seville (UNESCO WHS)

0959 Seville - Aerial view of the Cathedral
and The General Archive of the Indies

Situated in the fertile valley of the Guadalquivir, on the both banks of the river, Seville is approximately 2,200 years old, and the passage of the various civilisations has left it with a distinct personality. The mythological founder of the city is Hercules, but in reality was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis. Conquered by the Vandals and the Visigoths during the 5th and 6th centuries, in 712 it reached into the hands of the Moors, who have named it Ishbiliya.

0960 Seville - The Gold Tower and the Giralda

After more than five centuries of Muslim rule, in 1248 Ferdinand III incorporated it into the Christian Kingdom of Castile. The discovery of the Americas transformed it in one of the economic centres of the Spanish Empire, as its port monopolised the trans-oceanic trade. Coinciding with the Baroque period, the 17th century represented the most brilliant flowering of the city's culture, but then began a gradual economic and demographic decline. Its Old Town, very well preserved, is the third largest in Europe. Cathedral, Alcázar and General Archive of the Indies form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of the city.

The General Archive of the Indies is the repository of extremely valuable archival documents illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines. The building itself, an unusually serene and Italianate example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, was designed by Juan de Herrera, the architect of the Escorial. The origin of the structure dates from 1572 when Philip II commissioned a building to house the Consulado de mercaderes (the merchant guild of Seville). The building encloses a large central patio with ranges of two storeys, the windows set in slightly sunken panels between flat pilasters. It became the Archivo General de Indias in 1785.

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See was built between 1401 and 1519, after the Reconquista, on the former site of the city's mosque. After the completion it supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, and now is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. The interior is the longest nave in Spain, and is lavishly decorated, with a large quantity of gold evident. The builders used some columns and other elements from the ancient mosque, including its minaret, which was converted into a bell tower known as La Giralda, the city's most well-known symbol. The cathedral is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus.

The Torre del Oro was built by the Almohad dynasty in the first third of the 13th century as a watchtower and defensive barrier on the river. A chain was strung through the water from the base of the tower to prevent boats from traveling into the river port. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river, due to its building materials (a mixture of mortar, lime and pressed hay). The tower is divided into three levels, with the third and uppermost being circular in shape and added in 1769. Today is a naval museum.

Seville - Wikipedia
Cathedral, Alcázar and General Archive of the Indies in Seville - UNESCO official website
General Archive of the Indies - Wikipedia
Seville Cathedral - Wikipedia
Torre del Oro - Wikipedia

Sender 0959, 0960: Ana
Sent from Seville (Andalusia / Spain), on 12.06.2013
photo 0959: Paisajes Aereos
photo 0960: Alfonso Duran

No comments:

Post a Comment