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Seville (Sevilla)

Seville (Sevilla) is a port city in southwestern Spain on the Guadalquivir River (Río Guadalquivir). The capital of Sevilla province, it is located 337 miles (543km) southwest of the country’s capital, Madrid. Seville is also the capital and largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia. The city has a municipal population of about 690,000 (as of 2016), and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it Spain’s fourth-largest city.
The main purpose of this webpage is to show some photos taken during a visit here in the 2000’s.

Ruled by the Romans from the 2nd century BC, to the 5th century AD, Seville was taken by the Moors in the year 712. Ferdinand III conquered Seville in 1248. Seville is famous for its namesake oranges which are widely used for making marmalade. The city’s main industries have historically included agricultural machinery, chemicals, shipping and shipbuilding, and textiles.

The oldest part of Seville lies on the left bank of the Río Guadalquivir and is laid out in an irregular maze of narrow streets and alleyways, small enclosed squares, and Moorish-style houses. The layout becomes more spacious in the central district near the Cathedral of Saint Mary and the Royal Alcázars palace. More spacious and regular planning is found beyond the walls of the old city centre, where there are more modern residential and industrial districts.
Photos taken during a visit here in the 2000’s are shown below, followed by a brief description of some of the city’s main sights:

Some of the main sights throughout the city include the following:

① Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias (Located in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville’s old Jewish Quarter, and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the three buildings here - Catedral de Sevilla, The Royal Alcázars of Seville, and Archivo de Indias form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of the city. The city is well known for its large 15th-century cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, or Catedral de Santa María de la Sede in Spanish), which contains the tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus and paintings by renowned artists Goya and El Greco. This five-nave building is the largest Gothic structure in Europe. Most of it was constructed 1402-1506 on the site of the city’s principal mosque, which had been built by the Almohads in 1180–1200 on the site of an earlier Visigothic church. The cathedral’s interior includes many fine artworks, including paintings by Murillo and Zurbarán. Standing next to the cathedral is the Giralda minaret, one the mosque’s few surviving portions and an impressive tower that is considered the masterpiece of Almohad architecture. It was incorporated into the cathedral as its bell tower.
The Royal Alcázars of Seville (Reales Alcázares de Sevilla), historically known as al-Qasr al-Muriq / The Verdant Palace, is a royal palace which was built for the Christian King Peter of Castile (Pedro the Cruel). It is considered the finest surviving structure from the Moorish period. Originally sited here was a 10th-century Abbadid Muslim Alcázar, or residential fortress, built for Moorish rulers. After the Christian Reconquest in the 1360’s, Moorish architects created the Mudéjar-style buildings for Christian royalty seen here today. As well as being the finest example of Mudéjar architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, the palace contains Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque design elements from earlier stages of construction. The Spanish royal family still occupy the palace’s upper floors when they are in Seville. The Royal Alcázars of Seville, with its many rooms and exquisitely landscaped gardens are one of the city’s must-see sights. Both the cathedral and the Alcázar are a testimony to the civilization of the Almohads, as well as that of Christian Andalusia.
Across from the Alcázar is the ancient Lonja, which became the Archivo de Indias. It contains valuable documents from the archives of the colonies in the Americas.) [See photos 1-15, above]
② Ayuntamiento (Also in Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville’s City Hall stands between the Plaza del San Francisco and the Plaza Nueva. The building was completed 1527-34 and the side bordering the Plaza de San Francisco is a fine example of the Plateresque style, favoured by architect Diego de Riaño. The Neo-Classical west front was built in 1891. Intricately carved reliefs on the southern façade depict historical and mythological figures, as well as emblems of the founders of the city, Hercules and Caesar. A small archway connects City Hall to the adjacent Franciscan monastery.)
③ Calle de las Sierpes (the “Street of Snakes” in English, is Seville’s main shopping street. It is located north of the cathedral and still lies within Barrio de Santa Cruz.)
④ Casa de Pilatos (One of the finest palaces in Seville, the Casa de Pilatos is located in Barrio de Santa Cruz, northeast of the cathedral. Today, it is the residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli. The 16th-century palace here is adorned with architectural and decorative elements associated with High Renaissance Italy and the Holy Land. It was built for the Marquis of Tarifa and was named so because it was thought to resemble Pontius Pilate’s home in Jerusalem. The Moorish and Christian architects incorporated into the building a central patio (the Patio Principal) adorned with azulejos (colourful ceramic tiles) and antique sculptures. In its corners are three Roman statues, and a Greek statue of Athena, dating from the 5th century BC. Various rooms which can be seen here, with a number of antiquities on display and leading off the Patio Principal, include the Salón del Pretorio, the Corredor de Zaquizamí, the Salón de Descanso de los Jueces, and a rib-vaulted Gothic chapel. Also, a tiled staircase leads to the upper floor, where further rooms are filled with family portraits, furniture and antiques.)
⑤ Hospital de los Venerables (A home for elderly priests located in the heart of Barrio de Santa Cruz. It was begun in 1675 and completed about 20 years later by Leonardo de Figueroa, and more recently was restored as a cultural centre, which includes exhibition galleries and the fine Baroque Hospital church (guided tour available) – not to be missed here is the sacristy ceiling’s trompe l’oeil depicting The Triumph of the Cross by Juan de Valdés Leal.)
⑥ Museo del Baile Flamenco (Museum of Flamenco Dance. On Calle de Manuel Rojas Marcos, Barrio de Santa Cruz, this museum celebrates the tradition of flamenco with exhibits on all aspects of the art; dancing, singing, and guitar.)
⑦ Iglesia del Divino Salvador (Also in Barrio de Santa Cruz and dating from 1679, this former mosque is now a Baroque Roman Catholic church and has an elaborate altar and a soaring nave. It is a six-minute walk from the cathedral and normally included with the cathedral entrance ticket, which can also be purchased here.)
⑧ Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija (Palace of the Countess of Lebrija, in the northwest of the central quarter of Barrio de Santa Cruz, is a house-museum dating from the 16th-century and remodelled between the 18th and 20th centuries. On display here is a collection of art, including Roman mosaics and other antiquities, as well as paintings by European masters, European decorative arts, and Asian art; all housed within a richly-decorated aristocratic Sevillian mansion.)
⑨ Torre del Oro (the Tower of Gold formed part of the walled defences, linking up with the Reales Alcázares. It was built as a defensive lookout in 1220 by the Río Guadalquivir, with a companion tower on the opposite bank. Throughout its history, the tower has had different uses, including for defence, as a gunpowder store, a chapel, a prison, and as port offices. Today, it houses the Museo Marítimo (Naval Museum). The Torre del Oro is in the south of the El Arenal quarter, a district of the city which it would have guarded. El Arenal used to be an area containing munitions stores and shipyards, and is bounded by the Río Guadalquivir on its southwestern side and Barrio de Santa Cruz on its eastern side.
⑩ Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza (This splendid white bullring dominates the El Arenal quarter of Seville. Built from 1761-1881, it is not only the city’s most famous bullring, but also considered the most magnificent in Spain. Its arcaded arena can hold some 14,000 spectators and corridas have been staged here for more than two centuries. There is also a Bullfighting Museum here, which contains portraits, posters and costumes, including a purple cape painted by Pablo Picasso. Next door to the Plaza de Toros is the modern Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville’s opera house and theatre.
⑪ Museo de Bellas Artes (The Museum of Fine Arts is located in the restored Convento de la Merced Calzada, in the northern part of the El Arenal quarter. The building was completed in 1612 and is designed around three patios, with the Patio Mayor being the largest. The convent church is noted for its Baroque domed ceiling. The collection of Spanish art and sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts focuses on works from medieval to the modern era, in particular from Seville School artists. It is considered to have the best collection of painting in the country, after the Prado in Madrid.
⑫ Iglesia de la Magdalena (A large Baroque church in El Arenal by Leonardo de Figueroa and completed in 1709. It was constructed above a medieval church built after the Christian conquest of the city in 1248. Of note here are the three-portal façade, the buildings interior decoration, and a fine collection of various artworks)
⑬ Hospital de la Caridad (a baroque charity hospital building in El Arenal. It was founded in 1674, and still cares for the aged and infirm.)
⑭ Basílica de la Macarena (Away from the heart of the city, the Basilica of Santa María de la Esperanza Macarena is a Catholic temple located at Calle Bécquer in the La Macarena neighbourhood. The basilica was built in 1949 and is the headquarters of the Brotherhood of La Esperanza Macarena. A Catholic church, it is famous for housing The Virgin of Hope, a revered jewel-encrusted wooden statue. The church here butts on to the 13th-century Iglesia de San Gil, where the image was housed until a fire in 1936.)
⑮ Convento de Santa Paula (Otherwise known as Monasterio de Santa Paula and located northeast of the heart of the city, this is a 15th-century convent known for its sacred-art collection which is on show here in a museum in two galleries. The convent was founded by Doña Ana de Santillan in 1473 for the Jerónimas (Hieronymite) nuns. The church was built between 1483 and 1489. Today, the community of nuns here come from a number of continents and they are known for the sweets, marmalade, and jams that are made here from a special recipe which has been perfected over time. Products made by the nuns can be purchased in the shop.)
⑯ Parque de María Luisa and Plaza de España (The area south of the city centre is dominated by the extensive Parque María Luisa. A large area of the park originally formed the grounds of the Baroque Palacio de San Telmo (1682) and many buildings within the park were built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Princess Maria Luisa, who gave her name to the park, donated a chunk of the grounds of the Palacio de San Telmo to the city in 1893. In preparation for the Exposition, the park was landscaped by Jean Forestier, who was director of the famous Bois de Boulogne in Paris. The legacies of this grand Exposition which can be seen today are the not-to-be-missed Seville highlight of Plaza de España, decorated with scenes from Spain’s regions on detailed ceramic tiles, and the Plaza de América. Both plazas are the work of Aníbal González. On the Plaza de América, in the Mudéjar Pavilion (Pabellón Mudéjar), is the Museum of Arts and Popular Customs (Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares). Inside the museum are displays on traditional Andalusian folk arts. The Neo-Renaissance Pabellón de las Bellas Artes built for the Exposition now contains the provincial Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum of Seville). Items on display here are from various times and places, including the early Palaeolithic period, Phoenician, Greek, and Roman times (the latter being statues and fragments discovered at the nearby archaeological site at Itálica), as well as Moorish and Mudéjar artefacts from the Middle Ages. With plenty of paths, statues and water features, the park here is truly a place to spend some time. [See photos 17-30, above]
⑰ Universidad (Located just south of the Royal Alcázars and north of Parque de María Luisa, is a site forming part of Seville University. Here is the former Real Fábrica de Tabacos (Royal Tobacco Factory). During the 1800’s, ¾ of Europe’s cigars were manufactured here, rolled by some 10,000 female cigar makers. It was these cigarreras, as they were known as, who inspired French author Prosper Mérimée to create his infamous Romani heroine Carmen, for his 1845 novella of the same name. Carmen has been adapted into a number of dramatic works, famously including the opera by Georges Bizet. The factory complex was built in 1728-71 and is Spain’s second-largest building, after El Escorial, just outside Madrid.
⑱ Barrio de Triana (Located across the Río Guadalquivir from El Arenal, this historic quarter was named after the Roman emperor Trajan. Once Seville’s gypsy quarter, it remains a traditional working-class district, and has an atmosphere seemingly independent from the Seville seen on the other side of the river. Like Barrio de Santa Cruz, it is a compact maze of narrow streets, alleyways, and squares, but it is distinctively different in character. For centuries, this part of the city has been famous for its potteries, as well as its Romani (Gypsy) community. Here, shops may be found selling authentic Andalusian ceramics. The area also boasts a number of riverfront restaurants, many of which have outdoor terraces overlooking the historic monuments of Seville.)
⑲ Isla de la Cartuja (Located across the river and north of the city centre, this was the site of Expo ’92 and since then, large-scale redevelopment has been transforming it into an area known for its exhibition halls, museums and leisure activities. Located here is the Isla Mágica theme park, with its roller coasters and water slides. At the heart of Isla de la Cartuja is the 15th-century Carthusian monastery, Monasterio de Santa Maria de las Cuevas, where monks lived until 1836. Columbus stayed and worked here and his body was kept in the crypt of its church between 1507-42. The monastery was restored for Expo ’92. Nearby, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo displays modern artwork by Andalusian and Spanish artists, as well as by international artists, such as Louise Bourgeois. Furthermore, Isla de la Cartuja is a host to a number of live music venues which appeal to young professionals and university students alike.)

Also worth mentioning here is Seville’s Fiestas: The April Fair takes place two weeks after Easter; life in the city moves over the river to the fairground, where there is plenty of drinking and bullfights in the afternoons. Santa Semana (Holy Week Festival) takes place March/April when between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, over 100 gilded floats bearing religious images, known as pasos, parade through the city streets – a spectacular sight. In May/June during the Feast of Corpus Christi, boys dressed in Baroque costumes dance before the cathedral’s main altar.

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