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For over 800 years the tower of Seville’s magnificent cathedral (the Giralda) stood as the tallest structure in the city, built at 103 m. Completed in 1195, it was originally the minaret of the Aljama mosque before it became the bell tower of a Christian Church. The structure took 12 years to build.
The name Giralda means “she who turns” after the weather vane on top of the tower. The figure on the weather vane, called El Giraldillo, represents faith.
The Giralda, originally used for calling faithful Muslims to prayer and as an observatory, was highly valued by the Moors. There were plans to destroy it before the Christian conquest of the city in 1248, but a threat by King Alfonso X …
Seville’s cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The cathedral was built in the 15th century (1401 to 1506 A.D.) on the site of the 12th century Aljama mosque. Portions of the mosque survive within the Cathedral’s structure, most notably the belltower known as Giralda.
Seville’s Cathedral is very popular with visitors and unless you arrive early or late, you’ll likely have to wait in line to purchase your ticket. It’s one of the most magnificent churches I’ve ever seen, and I found it well worth the wait and price of admission. While you wait in line you’ll have time to study and enjoy some of the beautiful craftsmanship adorning the …
Berlin is an interesting and fun destination. Almost completely destroyed by bombs in World War II, it is mostly a newly rebuilt city, though with some interesting preserved historic sites. Economically the city is doing well and it has a young vibe because of its college and job scene.
While strolling through the city, I captured (as I always do), images of those signs caught my fancy in some way. These included:
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Grafton Street is a popular pedestrian walkway in downtown Dublin, with many historic buildings and a variety of shops, restaurants, hotels and bars. It is the main shopping street in Dublin. The street is lovely and the ambience conducive to window-shopping and a leisurely stroll.
Grafton Street begins at St Stephens Green and runs north towards Trinity College. It’s at the northern end that you find the statue of Molly Malone. The area is popular with street performers and has become renowned as a launch pad for musical acts, such as U2 front man Bono.
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During my travels I’ve started to focus on certain features of the destinations I’m visiting, especially signs and more recently doors. I find them to be quite interesting and often reflective of the folks that built and use them.
The doors we encountered in Poland were as about as expected. Strong, sturdy, solidly-built and often utilitarian, but with some having a unique and interesting artistic flare.
Here are some of the doors we saw in Krakow:
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While exploring the winding alleys and lanes in Seville’s old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, one of the people showing us around suggested we stop for a snack at a small tapas bar. We were all game because it looked like an interesting place.
Founded in 1870, Las Teresas has been run by the same family for almost a century. Las Teresas is what a typical, traditional tapas bar feels like and I was charmed by it. There are, of course, a number of Iberian hams (jamón) hanging from the ceiling. I loved the old feel to the place and how the walls were plastered with memorabilia. The food we tried was extremely good. The service was friendly and the clientele …
A friend once told me that good public art should capture your attention and “get you in the gut”. That’s certainly true of the Famine statues on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s modernized Docklands. These gaunt figures commemorate the Great Potato Famine of the mid-19th century (1845 – 1847), referred to as An Gorta Mór –“the great hunger”. The location is historic as it was the site of the first voyage of the famine exodus on the ship Perseverance. The work is entitled “Famine” and was presented to the People of Ireland by Norma Smurfit in 1997.
During the great famine approximately 1 million Irish people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, reducing the island’s population by about 25%. …
St. John’s Co-Cathedral occupies a square block in the historic walled city of Valletta and has an unassuming plain exterior, but a beautiful ornate interior and a fascinating history (e.g. Knights of Malta) that certainly makes it well worth exploring.
St. Johns Co-Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It was built by the Order of St. John in 1572, completed in 1604 originally with a relatively plain interior, with the fancy baroque interior you see today completed in the late 17th century. The church is considered one of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture in Europe.
St. John’s remained the church of the Order of St. John until the Order was expelled from Malta during the French …