Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville (1987)

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Spain 1965. Cathedral of Sevilla.

Together these three buildings form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville. The cathedral and the Alcázar – dating from the Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century and imbued with Moorish influences – are an exceptional testimony to the civilization of the Almohads as well as that of Christian Andalusia. 

The Giralda minaret is the masterpiece of Almohad architecture. It stands next to the cathedral with its five naves; the largest Gothic building in Europe, it houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The ancient Lonja, which became the Archivo de Indias, contains valuable documents from the archives of the colonies in the Americas.

  • Spain 1965. Cathedral of Seville with the Giralda Belfry. 

Seville is a city in southern Spain, capital of Andalucía Region and of Seville Province, a port on the Guadalquivir River. Many landmarks in the city date from the Middle Ages, such as the Alcázar, a royal palace built by the Moors in 1181. 

 Spain 1992. Souvenir sheet. Joint issue between Spain, Italy and the United States in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of The Americas.

Traces of early Moorish civilization are also evident in the small, winding streets, the low, white houses with balconies, the courtyards, and the fountains, as well as in the remains of a wall that once surrounded the city.  

A vast Gothic cathedral, started in 1402 and finished in 1519, stands on the site of a 12th-century Muslim mosque. The cathedral houses world-renowned paintings by such famous Spanish artists as El Greco, Murillo, and Zurbarán. 

  • Spain 1991. Cathedral of Seville. 

Spain 1991. Cathedral of Sevilla.

Spain 1998. The Giralda, the belfry of the cathedral of Seville.

Spain 1978. Europa stamp. La Lonja (stock exchange), Seville.

The Giralda, the cathedral's bell tower, standing more than 91 m (more than 300 ft) high, originally served as the minaret, or calling tower, for the mosque. The Archives of the Indies, a large collection of books, manuscripts, and documents on the history and administration of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, has been stored at the Casa Lonja in the city since 1785. 
  • Spain 1998. The Giralda.
  • Spain 1978. Europa Stamp. La Lonja (stock exchange), Seville. 

Called Hispalis during ancient times, Seville was captured in 45 BC by Julius Caesar. After the 4th century AD, Seville was ruled by the Vandals, the Visigoths, and the Moors. It flourished as a cultural center under Moorish domination, which lasted from 712 until 1248. It was then conquered by Ferdinand III of Castile and León. 

The University of Seville (1502) is located in the city. The university was originally founded in 1256 as a development of certain schools of Latin, of Semitic languages, and especially of Arabic by Alfonso X, called the Wise, who was king of the former Spanish kingdoms of León and Castile. 

These schools, together with courses in arts and sciences, were united in 1260 as General Literary Studies. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella formally created the university in 1502. The papal bull (document) of Julian II authorized the canon of Seville to erect buildings and in 1509 instruction began. The college of medicine was founded in 1748 at Cádiz by Pedro Vergili and is the oldest medical school in Spain. There are also faculties of philosophy and education, science, law, fine arts, information science, and pharmacy. The University of Seville has about 75,000 students and 3300 faculty members. In 2005 the city of Seville celebrated the 500th anniversary of the university's Faculty of Pharmacy.  

Spain 2005. The 500th anniversary of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Seville. Stamp #1.

Spain 2005. The 500th anniversary of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Seville. Stamp #2.

The opening of America to Spanish commerce in 1492 proved very profitable for the city as trading developed rapidly between the two continents. By the 17th and 18th centuries, Seville had become the leading center of Spanish culture. The Spanish-American Exhibition of 1929, an expression of Ibero-American relations, was held in Seville. A world's fair, Expo '92, opened in Seville in April 1992. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Spain (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Spain-section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 19 jul 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
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