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Seville Cathedral: El Patio de los Naranjos

An aerial view of El Patio de los Naranjos

This area is the old courtyard or inner court (=patio) of the Almohad mosque. It is reached by the Puerta del Perdon, a portal with an entrance arch still preserving its Almohad shape, that of a pointed horseshoe arch. Its plaster decoration was carried out by Bartolomé López in 1522.

The large gates which shut off the enclosure also date from Almohad times as does the decoration of large bronze plates with which they are covered. Their large Almohad doorknockers are of excepcional quality and are enhanced by an elaborate decoration of plant motifs (=ataurique). It should be noted that these doorknockers are exact reproductions of the originals forming part of the cathedral theasure.

The front of the Puerta del Perdón was refurbished in 1520 and decorated with a group of terracotta sculptures by the sculptor Miguel Florentin. This artist made the images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the sides, the Virgin and Gabriel the Archangel above those mentioned before, and the great relief of the cleansing of the Temple above the arch of the gate.

The patio, the former shan of the mosque, was altered considerably in the course of successive restorations, although its original structure can still be seen in the pillars supporting pointed horseshoe arches. In its centre there is a modern fountain taking the place of the former sabil. Howevwe, the upper basin of this fountain is Visigothic, and it was part of the original Almohad fountain where the Seville Muslims may have performed their ablutions before entering the mosque.

Originally the patio had three galleries of which only two are preserved since that on the western side has disappeared as it was demolished to build El Sagrario Church.

Portal of El Perdón

These galleries or naves no longer have their original roofs and the so-called nave del lagarto(=lizard) is covered by a 16C Mudejár roof which was not designed especially for this place, but which comes from a vanished Seville convent. The name nave del lagarto comes from the stuffed crocodile which hangs under the ceiling and was placed there as an exvoto as in other cathedrals. Above the door of the nave leading to the exterior of the cathedral there is a Gothic painting from the beginning of the 16C representing The Crucifixion.

The portal facing the Patio de los Naranjos is that of the Cathedral crossing on the northern side. It is called the entrance of La Concepcion and remained unfinished when the church was built initially. It was left like that until 1887 when it was completed following a design by the architect Adolfo Fernández Casanova. The architect kept to the Gothic style of the rest of the building, which is why it is in perfect harmony with what was built in carlier centuries despites its late date.

Portal of El Patio de los Naranjos (Entrance of La Concepcion)

HISPALIS Net Catedral Puertas Coros

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