In June 2019 I had the opportunity to visit Andalucía for a second time that year. In March I visited Granada, Córdoba, Antequera and Ronda with my family. This time I went for work and could add some days. I made a nice trip starting in Antequera and then to Écija, Carmona, Alcala de Guadaíra, Sevilla, Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez de la Frontera, Vejer de a Frontera, Tarifa and Algatocín. Sevilla, however, was my main destination. Here Kurt Hielscher made most photos like from the Torre del Oro, La Giralda, Real Alcázar, Casa de Pilatos, El Palacio de las Dueñas and Il Convento de Santa Paula. Here the results.
Torre del Oro
Torre del Oro, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher
Torre del Oro, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar
In advance I had done my research to make sure I had enough time to be able to visit all the places. And I rented a bike. By bike, it was quite easy to manouvre quickly through the city and try to capture all the photos Kurt Hielscher made here over 100 years ago. I found all the places, but not in every case I was able to make the exact same photo. By bike, I could also enjoy the city at it most considering the modest amount of time I had for discovering Sevilla. Ofcourse the Torre del Oro, the Tower of Gold, was one of the easiest places to find but I needed to go on a stairs in between two of the terraces of a restaurant and a bar to get the best angle. At the evening before I already went to check the beautiful view from the Puente de San Telmo over the Guadalquivir river and made a nice selfie.
Selfie: view from the Puente de San Telmo on the Torre del Oro.
Unfortunately the entrance door to the upper deck of the magnificent La Giralda tower next to the impressive Cathedral of Sevilla was closed for public. The view on the city was stunning though. I was also impressed by the Cathedral and the grave of Christopher Columbus. Circling up to the top of the tower with some 35 turns amongst the crowds was a different story as well as getting the right place to make the photo, or better said: à place to make a photo. People crwding one another to make a shot. Next time, I will have to make a call to the major in advance to get a VIP acces to the upper deck.
View from the upper deck, the top of the Giralda, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher. I was close but the entrance was close for tourists.
Built in 1184-1195 La Giralda was the highest minaret in the world at the time. During the Reconquista Sevilla was conquered by the Christians in 1248. The Mosque was turned into a Cathedral in 1401 with La Giralda as its clocktower. The tower is 97 meters high and has 25 bells, the oldest of which was cast in 1400.
View on Sevilla halfway up to the top of La Giralda. Can you see the Torre del Oro?
"No", was the short but clear answer I received when I entered the Bodega Santa Cruz Las Columnas at the Calle Rodrigo Caro when I asked if there was a stairway up to the top of the building where I determined that Kurt Hielscher made this photo. I showed the 5 or 6 bartenders the photo from Kurt Hielscher and all were clear about it. To go up wasn't going to happen via the Bodega. I did see a painting with the same picture hanging on the wall made from the same position and I made a photo from it as well as a photo from the turret on the top of the building. When I got out of the Bodega, I saw the next door standing open, I took my chances and got in, but I was stopped to go upstairs by a man, who also told me that it was not possible to go up. So, this is my best shot.
View from the turret on top of the building where today the Bodega Santa Cruz Las Columnas is situated in the Calle Rodrigo Caro, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
View on the Giralda from the Calle Rodrigo Caro, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar
Selfie with a view on the gardens of the overwhelming Real Alcázar, 21st of June 2019.
It was a wonderful day that I ended here in the Real Alcázar. For many a highlight of a visit to Sevilla. For me, my visit to Sevilla was a series of highlights. No wonder, Kurt Hielscher took so many photos here!
For me, my visit to Sevilla was a series of highlights. No wonder, Kurt Hielscher took so many photos here!
The palace complex of the Real Alcázar is probably the oldest royal palace in Europe still in use as such. It is one of the best examples of Mudéjar architecture. It dates back to 913 AD and is UNESCO World Heritage since 1987 and indeed, it is stunning and there's so much more to it than this small Patio de las Muñecas, the Dolls Courtyard. Check also the photos I made from the famous ceiling of the Salón de Embajadores to understand the beauty of the Real Alcázar.
Patio de las Muñecas, The Dolls' Courtyard, within the Real Alcázar, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Patio de las Muñecas, The Dolls' Courtyard, within the Real Alcázar, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
The stunning Salón de Embajadores with a littlebit of ceiling within the Real Alcazár (3x), 21st of June 2019. Photos: Casper Molenaar.
Sala de Embajadores, Real Alcazár, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher
Sala de Embajadores, Real Alcazár, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar
Ancient tunnel at the Real Alcazár, 21st of June. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
At the end of the day, when I had made all the photos I wanted, I went to the stunning Plaza de España, a must visit. The famous 1929 for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition built square to symbolically make peace with the former colonies. The 52 benches with tiles that depict all Spanish provinces was interesting for me to improve my geographic knwoledge of Spain. The Plaza was not there when Kurt Hielscher made his photos.
Casa de Pilatos
Only seconds after the opening of the Casa de Pilatos on an early sunny morning I entered the Casa de Pilatos. I experienced a few minutes of total happiness when I was alone for a few minutes just before a schoolclass came in. Till that moment I did not make any Kurt Hielscher-photo yet. I just enjoyed the place. I was stunned and got sucked into the beauty of the Casa and its serenity that I almost forgot where I came for: to take the photos again Kurt Hielscher made. Then the crowds came in starting with a group of secondary school pupils. The Casa de Pilatos is a real gem, situated just outside the city center leaving most tourists behind, but it can still be crowded, as I noticed. I can just recommend to arrive early and experience some quite moments like I did.
Main courtyard in the Casa de Pilatos, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Entrance to the Casa de Pilatos, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Entrance to the Casa de Pilatos, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Main courtyard of the Casa de Pilatos, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Main courtyard of the Casa de Pilatos, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Portada de la Casa de Pilatos, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Portada de la Casa de Pilatos, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
It was not so hard to find this window, but I was not sure if it was the same one, so I asked. The employee was amazed by the photo from Kurt Hielscher, because of the differences. Het told me the Casa was damaged during the civil war of 1937 and built up again with materials from other damaged buildings in the Sevilla. It must have been then when reconstruction efforts had led to these differences. He was asking himself if there was any photo of this particular window from the period before 1937, so it might be of great value for the museum.
Reja, Casa de Pilatos, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Reja, Casa de Pilatos, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Palacio de las Dueñas
Yhe main courtyard of the Palacio de las Dueñas, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar
Fountain in the main courtyard of the Palacio de las Dueñas, 1914-'19. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Fountain in the main courtyard of the Palacio de las Dueñas, 21st of June 2019. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Metropol Parasol, the largest wooden structure in the world, designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer, opened in March 2011. There is a walking path on top of it with a stunnig views on the city, but I did not walk it. I had my bycicle "Tour de Kurt Hielscher." Photo: Casper Molenaar, 21st of June 2019.
Il Convento de Santa Paula
Leaving the stunning Casa de Pilatos, I cycled to another gem here in Sevilla: the Convento de Santa Paula. I rang the doorbell and a nun opened the door. I had checked the opening hours in advance and had a pretty tight time schedule. I tried to explain where I came for, but we could not really communicate and tried to make things clear with hands and feet. She made me wait for another nun, who turned up after a while and said: "aha, first you have to see our museum", which I did and I took a few photos. Then I had to wait another while for another nun who had the key for the patio in which Kurt Hielscher made his photo. We left the Monastery's gate and I thought I was getting fooled, but we went in the next door and there it was: the patio with the as characteristic as impressive door to the church. Unfortunately I was not allowed to get in. But I was allowed to stay in the patio as long as I needed to make the photo and enjoy the atmosphere, as long as I made sure I would close the door behind me upon leaving.
p.41, Il Convento de Sta. Paula, Sevilla
p.41, Il Convento de Sta. Paula, Sevilla
The Monastery dates back to 1473 and is located in the San Julián district in the old city center of Sevilla. It was founded by Doña Ana de Santillán and today it is runned by nuns of the Order of San Jerónimo. The building is listed as a historical monument since 1931. The cover of this church is one of the most interesting and preserved ones in the city. Completed in 1504, with the Mudejar and Gothic styles going hand in hand as some of the decorative elements appear typical of the Renaissance. It was executed by the sculptor Pedro Millán with the collaboration of the ceramic artist of Italian origin Francisco Niculoso Pisano.
The City Town Hall, with the first photo by the hand of Kurt Hielscher and the others by me. In Sevilla I stayed nearby the Ayuntamiento, which I accordingly passed several times a day. On one occasion, when it was open, I dared to get in and asked some policemen if it was able to get to the 1st floor to make a photo like Kurt Hielscher did over a century ago. It was not possible though I showed a copy of the old photo and my page on Facebook. This is what I could make of it from the ground floor.
View from the top of the Giralda. Well almost from the top, Kurt Hielscher came a few meters higher. Below: view from halfway to the top. Photos: Casper Molenaar, 21st of June 2019.