Welcome back to Traveling with Krushworth.
This past May, I travelled by myself to Spain. This was my second solo adventure and it started with me landing in Madrid. After seeing the sights of the nation’s capital, I headed south by train to Cordoba and finally onto Seville.
Today’s posting features the amazing Seville Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the world and the third largest church on Earth.
First things first. For those who have never travelled alone, know that it is a hectic experience. I got off the train at Santa Justa station and immediately, my first task was to find the bus station, which ended up being across the street.
Travel Tip: If you’re standing at a bus station and you’re worried about how to get to your destination, make sure you ask lots of questions to those around you (if they look relatively normal). This helps to avoid possible confusion and getting lost.
Thank you to the young man who pointed me onto the correct bus and told me which stop to get off at. I probably would have ended up in another city without his assistance. My hotel was at the far north end of the city’s historic district.
Once at my accommodations, I almost immediately set out towards Seville’s heritage core. Even though I had my map in hand and excitement to boot, my day was derailed when I became horribly lost. Yet, I ended up seeing Seville’s Metropol Parasol, a massive wooden structure in the Plaza Encarnacion.
Although the art installation is not that far off the beaten path, I ended up getting even more lost (I’m not that great with maps) and was absolutely exhausted by the time I saw Seville Cathedral. The hike from my hostel to the cathedral, which was supposed to be 20 minutes, ended up being a lot longer, because I hadn’t got the hang of the streets yet.
Built in the 16th century, it is the largest cathedral in the world.
Medieval Spaniards wanted to trumpet the glory of Christendom, as it had only been a century since the last Moors were driven from the continent. The cathedral is a must see attraction in Seville. The lines are long, but manageable if one attempts to enter early in the morning or late afternoon.
Inside the cathedral, travellers must see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. A revered figure in Spain, today’s North American historians are split. Certainly, he was the first European to arrive in the New World, but others see a genocidal monster due to his massacres of the local people.
Still, there is no doubt his 1492 voyage and the lesser known second voyage ushered in a new and turbulent world history.
It’s easy to wander around Seville Cathedral with your mouth agape. There’s gold everywhere, unbelievable altars and one can peer into age forgotten sacristies.
Seville’s main altarpiece is glittering with gold, which was plundered from the Inca empire. Beautiful craftsmanship, yes, but the bloodshed during New World expeditions remains astounding.
The power of the Roman Catholic Church has been on display for centuries.
The cathedral’s famed Giralda bell tower is the last remaining structure from the Moorish days.
Constructed as a minaret for the mosque that once stood in the cathedral’s place, the Christians demolished the mosque, but kept the minaret as a bell tower. Today, tourists can walk up the sloping steps (built so the imam could ride to the top on a donkey) to the top for an incredible view out over Seville. The entrance to the tower can be found inside the cathedral.
Travel Tip: In the squares outside Seville Cathedral, tourists must watch out for Roma women and their rosemary scam. They will come up to you and thrust a sprig of rosemary into your hands. Some say it is a gift, but others just slap it into your palm.
If you take it, they will lead you away to read your fortune. Then, they demand money. It takes some practice, but do not stop, ignore them and keep on walking. The cathedral is the worst site for this in Seville. Other areas, such as the Barrio Santa Cruz (La Juderia) are safe havens away from this.