During a recent trip to Seville, Spain I visited its Cathedral and marveled at the history and the pompousness of the structure. Inside the cathedral visitors find the “Giralda” the symbol of the city and initially the tower of Seville’s principal mosque. Yes, many times I heard that Moors occupied Spain for 8 centuries but never had a picture of what that looked like. Until my trip this past month of June 2015. Andalusia is the Spanish region where visitors experience the fusion of three religions; Islam, Judaism and Christianity all rolled up into one. It is simply breathtaking!
The Giralda is 97 meters high and is crowned with a weather vane known as the “Giraldito”, a giant bronze figure representing Faith Victorious, which gives its name to the tower.
The Cathedral – where according to legend it is the resting place of Christopher Columbus – is the largest Gothic temple in the world and the third largest in the Christian world. It was built on the original 12th century site of the principal Mosque of the city. Its enormous dimensions house valuable trasures. Inside the building you can see the incorrupt remains of the Christian King – and patron of Seville – Fernando III “The Saint” and the mausoleum that hold the remains of Christopher Columbus.
According to our guide, at one time scientists opened Columbus’ casket to discover that the corpse was not complete. Some parts are missing according to the guide even though nobody would be able to know which parts he said. He also said this might be due to the different moves the corpse/casket experienced before reaching Seville. Seville was chosen because of its port from where Columbus sailed to “discover” the new world.
It is also interesting to note that Christopher Columbus found America in 1492, the same year the Moors and the Jews were expelled from Spain. Plenty of scholars believe Columbus was a converted Jew, and not an Italian, but a Spaniard. I have also read about the stretching of the truth when it comes to the Catholic Kings sponsoring his exploration voyages, for they were not wealthy and the country was broke. Because of Spain’s expulsion decree of the Jews, it is believed it was them – Sephardi Jews – who sponsored Columbus’ voyages allowing for a way out of Spain to start a new life in the new world.
Research and DNA testing also show that an estimated 80% of Hispanics living in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas and Northern Mexico have Sephardi ancestry. All this because of the exile of the Jews from Spain to Latin America and their migration to the north of Mexico escaping persecution from the Mexican Inquisition. If this intrigues you as much as it intrigues me, please plan to attend the 2nd Latino Jewish Relations Conference to be held on October 17-18, 2015 at Rancho Viejo Country Club. Photos on this post were taken at the Seville Cathedral, and the featured photograph is of Columbus’ mausoleum.