We arrived in Seville on a direct flight from Bologna. I had my backpack wrapped at the airport as there’s no way to secure it and I’ve read of straps being ripped off.

Seville was a Muslim city from the year 712 until 1248, a period of over 500 years. One conspicuous architectural remnant of the period is the the cathedral bell tower, known as the Giralda. It was built in 1198 during the Almohad period as the minaret of the main city mosque . The Renaissance top was added in the mid 16th century. An interesting difference to medieval towers in Italy is that an internal ramp in brick leads to the top. Most Italian towers have wooden steps.

It is thought to be based on the minaret at Marakesh. I took the photo below during a trip to Morocco a few years back,

Minaret Marrakesh
Minaret Marrakesh
There are many other smaller examples in Seville as after the reconquista many of the city’s mosques were converted into churches.

bell tower seville

Inside these churches though the decoration is in a particularly exuberant version of the baroque style.

This large pilgrim’s shell above a pulpit was designed to project the sound.

Another beautiful representation of the moorish style is the Real Alcàzar or royal palace . Whilst it was started in the moorish era, much of it was built in the 14th century by Christian kings using Muslim workmen. It’s still a royal palace today.

alcazar seville
Seville is a very interesting city, retaining much if it’s old character with lots of narrow winding streets.  The architecture is noticeably different to other European countries, with the Islamic style heavily influencing design. Our hotel is a good example and was once a private house.

casa imperial hotel
Colourful tiles are common in Seville and have a long tradition of usage dating back to moorish times. Here’s an example from our hotel and a typical street sign. 

Casa Imperial Seville

Seville really comes to life at night and there are crowds of people on the streets until quite late drinking, eating tapas and watching their kids playing. No wonder they have a long afternoon siesta.
I got the first stamp in my credencial, or pilgrim’s passport, at Seville Cathedral and finalised my backpack. I weighs 11kg without water which is a bit heavy but I’m having to carry cold weather gear for the last weeks  of the walk in Galicia.

I’m all ready for my first day’s walk on Monday – 22 km to Guillema.

seville via de la plata. stamp