From the bell tower

From the bell tower

Spain's most valuble crown - 11,000 precious stones and the world's largest pearl(just under the angel)

Spain’s most valuble crown – 11,000 precious stones and the world’s largest pearl(just under the angel)

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Columbus tomb

Columbus tomb

Mural of St. Christopher from 1584

Mural of St. Christopher from 1584

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Columbus tomb - pallbearer

Columbus tomb – pallbearer

Oldest art in this church- dating back to 1248.  Gilded fresco of the Virgin Antigua

Oldest art in this church- dating back to 1248. Gilded fresco of the Virgin Antigua

Huge organ

Huge organ

work being done on this largest altarpiece

work being done on this largest altarpiece

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Cloister which was once the mosque's Court of Orange trees.  This and tower are the only remnants from the mosque

Cloister which was once the mosque’s Court of Orange trees. This and tower are the only remnants from the mosque

Cloister - the mosque was made of brick and the cathedral is built in stone

Cloister – the mosque was made of brick and the cathedral is built in stone

View of cathedral

View of cathedral

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Peacocks

Peacocks

Baptism of Christ by Murillo - 1656

Baptism of Christ by Murillo – 1656

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Alcazar Palace

Alcazar Palace

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Palace - 10th-century

Palace – 10th-century

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Palace gardens

Palace gardens

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Garden pavillion

Garden pavillion

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Lots of Oranges but very sour

Lots of Oranges but very sour

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Underground baths

Underground baths

Cold tomato soup tapas

Cold tomato soup tapas

seafood Paella

seafood Paella

1685 stained glass

1685 stained glass

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Huge silver altarpeice

Huge silver altarpeice

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The ramp that gets you up the tower and that they would ride up on a horse 5 times a day for the call to prayer.

The ramp that gets you up the tower and that they would ride up on a horse 5 times a day for the call to prayer.

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Bull fighting arena in the distance

Bull fighting arena in the distance

The orange tree cloister of the cathedral

The orange tree cloister of the cathedral

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The cathedral Treasury - the 16th -century chapter room where monthly meetings take place with the bishop.

The cathedral Treasury – the 16th -century chapter room where monthly meetings take place with the bishop.

Painting by Murillo

Painting by Murillo

The Cathedral entrance

The Cathedral entrance

Awesome first look as you walk in.

Awesome first look as you walk in.

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The Choir

The Choir

Massive candlestick holder dates back to 1560

Massive candlestick holder dates back to 1560

Pennant of Ferdinand III, which was raised over the minaret of the mosque on November 23, 1248, as Christian forces finally expelled the Moors from Sevilla.

Pennant of Ferdinand III, which was raised over the minaret of the mosque on November 23, 1248, as Christian forces finally expelled the Moors from Sevilla.

We had two goals to achieve today and that was a visit to the Sevilla Cathedral and Bell Tower and the Alcazar Palace.  Today was not as pretty as yesterday – overcast and a little cooler.  Both of these places are next to each other in the old town area so we headed down there about mid-morning.  Sevilla’s cathedral is the third-largest church in Europe (after St. Peter’s at the Vatican and St. Paul’s in London) and the largest Gothic church anywhere.  In 1401 the Reconquista Christians ripped down a mosque of brick on this site and it too  120 years to complete.  It has an amazing organ with 7,000 pipes but unfortunately we were not there at 10:00 am to hear it being played.  They are also still working on the high altar (going on for several years now) which is the largest altarpiece ever built.  A highlight of the cathedral is Christopher Columbus’ tomb.  He has also traveled a lot posthumously.  He was buried first in Spain, then in Santa Domingo, then Cuba, and finally- when Cuba gained independence from Spain – he sailed home again to Sevilla.  Columbus died in 1506 and 500 years later, DNA samples proved it to be his remains.  We also did the Bell Tower climb which was our easiest out of all the towers we have climbed.  It is a ramp instead of steps and goes 330 feet up.  The ramp is wide enough to accommodate riders on horseback, who galloped up five times a day to give the Muslim call to prayer.  The Bell Tower and the Cloister are the only remnants of the old mosque.  After a short rest (touring is a tiring business) at one of the numerous Starbucks in town, we went into the Alcazar Palace.  Originally a 10th-century palace built for the governors of the local Moorish state, this building still functions as a royal palace – the oldest in use in Europe.  The core of the palace features an extensive 14th-century rebuild, done by Muslim workmen for the Christian king, Pedro I (1334-1369).  Spectacularly decorated halls and courtyards have distinctive Islamic – style flourishes.  This mix of Islamic and Christian elements is a style called Mudejar.  In this palace Queen Isobel debriefed Columbus after his New World discoveries, Columbus recounted his travels, Ferdinand Magellan planned his around-the-world cruise, and Amerigo Vespucci tried coming up with a catchy moniker for that newly discovered continent.  The gardens are beautiful and extensive and it was late afternoon by the time we did the whole palace visit justice.  While in the old town area we stopped for a bite to eat and had some typically Spanish Tapa’s.