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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Saturday in Cadiz: Gateway to Moorish Spain

Ceiling of the Seville Cathedral (very Gothic)
The Emerald Princess entered Spanish waters around 5:00am under a bright, nearly full moon with a destination of the port city of Cadiz, gateway to the Atlantic and Moorish Spain. Cadiz has been a commercial port for 3000 years going back to 1100 B.C. when Phoenician merchants from Tyre established a port here.  The Spanish plain has always been a superb place for growing olives, fruit and vegetables.  The territory has been fought over for hundreds of years going back to the Tunic Wars.  You remember that in World History, right! 
Well, Rome took control over Spain in 218 B.C. and developed it into a productive colony.  After the fall of Rome it was occupied by the Vandals and Visigoths until the Moors invasion in 711 A.D.  The Moors soon spread their brand of Islam as far north as the Pyrenees but they soon lost northern Spain.  It was in the south that the Moors built three beautiful cities; Seville, Cordoba and Grenada and they flourished as cultural centers.  Interestingly enough, my USAF roommate, Bill Muzenski and I made a trip in our VW van down from W. Germany through France and Spain in 1968 to Grenada.
Back to history! The Moors lost Spain in 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella captured the citadel of Grenada.  If that year sounds familiar, it was the same year that Columbus sailed across the Atlantic and found the New World.  And as they say.... the rest is history.
Mary Alice and I decided to do separate things today because I've always wanted to photograph the ancient city of Seville and she needed a non-walking, stay on the bus tour. So we got off the ship and I got her to her bus and I found my bus for Seville. 
My tour departed the docks at 8:30 and the route to Seville was along the E5 for about 1 1/2 hours.  The tour guide asked everyone to be back at the bus by 2:45 pm.  After taking us to the Seville Cathedral I was on my own. 

The Seville Cathedral is the third largest in the world.  It is the largest Gothic church in the world.  It has flying buttresses and very high ceilings.  Here is a timeline of the history of this church.
A minaret converted into a statue of Mary

1181-1198:  Seville's Main Mosque and minaret were built using bricks.  The Mosque's courtyard was conserved as it is today; an orange tree grove.
1218:  The Mosque was consecrated as a Cathedral
1134-1517:  Construction work began on the Gothic Cathedral.  The project began on the western section.  Stone was used as the building material.
1528-1601  The Renaissance period saw major works in the chapels and annexes.
1618-1758  The influence of Baroque art is seen in the Parish Church of El Sagrario and two smaller chapels.
1825-1928:  The last major works in the Cathedral, three main doors and the southwest corner.

I waited in line for an hour to get inside after paying the 9 Euro entrance. All I can tell you is, "It was worth the wait."
The first things I noticed inside were the supporting pillars.  Enormous. There is a central altar that does not allow any person to get close.  It is made of gold.  There are stain glass windows at the top of the ceiling with various catholic saints depicted.  There is an actual chapel to the side, as big as any church.  There was a wedding happening while I was there.  It was not open to the public. By the way, Christopher Columbus is buried inside the cathedral.
I wanted to go inside the Alcazar, the Moorish castle from the 1400's which is right next to the cathedral but it also had a very long ling to get inside.  I passed on the Alcazar.  I did walk around the old quarter, saw the bull ring, and the University.  I looked up and it was 2:00pm and I decided to head toward the bus.  You don't want to get left behind 100 miles away or so in Seville with the ship leaving Cadiz at 5:00pm.
I had the front seat to myself so I stretched out as best I could and closed my eyes.  The next thing I knew, we were in Cadiz.  MA was in the room waiting on me.  She had a great time on her tour also. They toured Cadiz and outskirts in a bus and MA decided this is a beautiful place for us to come back to someday for a beach vacation!  Cadiz too has a cathedral plus a wonderful shopping and dining area, all right by the pier.  There are hop-off hop-on bus excursions there too.  We think they are a fantastic way to get to know a new city.  Next time!

Our next port of call is Gibraltar.  We may not get off the ship.
Altar of Gold
Old Quarter Bar
Narrow Streets

While in line we were entertained by a flamenco dancer and guitar player and singer.


  1. A very impressive sight and the photography is the best.

  2. Waouh Cathedral of Sevilla is wonderful! See you in Monaco ! Kisses


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