Countries<Spain<Andalucía [Andalusia]<Sevilla< Catedral, Alcázar y Archivo de Indias de Sevilla

Catedral, Alcázar y Archivo de Indias de Sevilla(Sevilla)

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These three buildings, located in the heart of the city of Seville, form a monumental ensemble that illustrates the most important events in the history of the city and for this reason were declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.

Although from very different periods and with numerous modifications over time, the three monuments have in common their close relationship with the universally significant event of the discovery of America in 1492, particularly symbolic in this respect is the Archive of the Indies, the former fish market located between the Reales Alcázares and the Cathedral, the scene of the city's increasingly intense commercial relations, which came to house all the historical and diplomatic collections relating to the American colonies in 1790.

The Cathedral, completed in 1506, was the last great church that the sailors, conquistadors and settlers saw when they left for the Indies, and whose forms and dimensions served as a reference point for all of them, from Columbus to Hernán Cortés. The Reales Alcázares, where the Casa de la Contratación was established in 1502, was the headquarters of the scientific institution that controlled American navigation. The Cathedral, with its five naves, is the most extensive Gothic building in Europe. Renowned architects and sculptors came to Seville for its construction, using the great mosque built by the Almohad caliph Abu Yacub Yusuf in the 12th century as the basis for the Magna Hispalensis. Only two elements remained from the Almohad construction: the Patio de los Naranjos and the lower body and the minaret, the latter of which was rebuilt in the 16th century and is the finest Mannerist bell tower in Europe. It was then crowned with a bronze weathervane known as the Giralda, hence its current name, which is "Torre de la Giralda", which has led to the weathervane being called "Giraldillo".

As for the Alcázar, it is also an example of the main phases of the city's history. This palatine fortress, built by the Muslims to control the Guadalquivir, was a royal residence from the 12th century onwards. With Pedro I, the palace located inside the Alcázar was built in the Mudejar style and although the decoration of the rooms, fountains and pavilions was modified over the centuries, the original layout of the Alcázar did not undergo substantial changes. It is currently the oldest Royal Palace in use in Europe.

Finally, the Archive of the Indies was originally built to house the increasing number of merchants who needed a space to conduct their business and settle lawsuits, hence its name, also known as the Lonja. Its construction began in 1583 by Juan de Herrera and lasted until 1784. It is currently one of the three general archives of the Spanish State and holds the funds produced by the institutions created by the crown for the government and administration of the Spanish overseas territories.

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