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The Perfect Weekend SEVILLE

Once the heart of the Moorish empire, southern Spain’s capital is rich with cultural traditions and impressive architecture, yet it’s also a city that lives in the moment. Amble cobbled streets lined with orange trees, flit between atmospheric bars for tapas, and stumble across spontaneous displays of flamenco, the dance that was born here

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS BA, easyJet and Ryanair fly direct to Seville from the UK (from £90; Buses leave from the airport to the city centre every 20 minutes (single £2;; a taxi costs about £20. A Sevilla Card offers free entrance to key attractions, guided tours and discounts at shops and restaurants (£27 for 72 hours).

The monument

La Giralda, on the northeastern side of the cathedral, was the minaret of the mosque built in the 12th century; the belltower section dates from the 16th century, as does the weathervane that represents ‘faith’

‘Let’s construct a church so large, future generations will think we were mad,’ said the architects of Seville in 1402 when they began one of the most ambitious building projects in medieval history. And they did. Seville Cathedral is Europe’s largest Gothic building, with an interior that could house a football stadium. It’s built on the site of a 12th-century mosque, and the original minaret still stands beside it, now repurposed into a belfry. This trellis-brick tower, La Giralda, has become an emblem of Seville and the Moorish-Christian heritage that defines the city. Begin with an ascent via 35 gently inclining brick ramps, built to allow a muezzin to ride a donkey to the top for the call to prayer. Chinks of the city are revealed through castle-like slit windows as you climb, but the real reward is the glorious panorama from the top. After absorbing the views, descend to wander the vaulted cathedral, home to artworks by Goya, and to pay your respects to the world’s most famous traveller, Christopher Columbus, who is buried here.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - September 2016
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