The Ibero-American Exhibition took place in Seville in 1929. Numerous buildings and squares were constructed... for this occasion. Bordered by a semicircular building, the Plaza de España in the Parque María Luisa is magnificent and once served as the pavilion of the host country Spain.
The giant building is flanked by two towers, whose shape clearly take their lead from the architecture of the Giralda. At the base of the building, the provinces of the country, alphabetically ordered, are presented, each depicting a map and a historical event. Between the arches above are busts of prominent figures in Spanish history, including the Catholic kings, Columbus, the Pinzón brothers and the poet Miguel de Cervantes. A channel which represents the Atlantic is carved into the semicircle of the square. It is crossed by four bridges with balustrades made from ceramic that symbolize ancient Spanish empires, as explained by coats of arms on the ground; in the middle are Castile and León, on the outside Navarre and Aragón.more
The origins of the Alcázar, the royal residence of Seville, can be traced back to a governor’s palace... which was built at the order of the Umayyad Caliphate in the 10th century, but the oldest preserved parts date from the time of the Almohades (Patio del Yeso). After the reconquest of Seville in 1248, the complex served as a residence for the kings of Castile. In the 14th century, Pedro I. el Cruel (the Cruel) had it expanded to include a palace in Moorish style.
The Palacio del Rey Don Pedro, which was largely built by workers from Islamic Granada, is the showpiece of the whole complex. Its centerpiece is the Patio de las Doncellas (the Courtyard of the Maidens), which is surrounded by galleries. The original gardens have just recently been opened to the public. The quadratic Salón de Embajadores (Ambassadors' Hall) has a magnificent arched dome which symbolizes the firmament with its star ornamentation. The extensive gardens were designed in the 16th and 17th century. With their magnificent flowers, fountains and pavilions, they form an oasis far away from the bustle of the city. The Alcázar is used by the royal family to this day as a residence when they are staying in Seville.more
This spacious, 86-arce (35 ha) park was originally part of the Palacio San Telmo until the infanta María... Luisa Fernanda, widowed Duchess of Montpensier, gave it as a present to the city in 1893. In 1929, an exhibition of Ibero-American states took place here, for which several historical pavilions were built, some of which have been preserved. The gardens with their shade giving tall trees, statues, fountains and colourful ceramics is an oasis in the dust and bustle of the city.
The Plaza de América is bordered by three buildings that represent typical Spanish architectural styles. The Pabellón Real was built in the shapes of Isabelline Late Gothic. The Pabellón Plateresco represents the style of the Spanish Early Renaissance and today houses the Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum). A showpiece of the collection is the "Tesoro del Carambolo", a gold jewelry treasure of the mysterious Tartessos civilisation. The Roman section contains, among other things, mosaics and sculptures from Itálica. The Pabellón Mudéjar opposite, which draws on the motifs of Moorish architecture, houses the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (folklore museum). Of the monuments in the park, the memorial to the poet Adolfo Gustavo Bécquer, which is a romantic allegory of love, is particularly worth seeing.more
The ruins of Itálica are located about 8 km (5 mi) north of Seville. The settlement was founded by the... commander Scipio Africanus after his victory over the Carthaginians in 206 B.C. for the Roman veterans released from the army. The city served as a military post and had a population of several thousand people. Itálica is the birthplace of the Roman Emperors Trajan and Hadrian. At the beginning of the 2nd century, the latter added a villa quarter to his hometown. While the old core settlement, the "vetus urbs", lies below the town of Santiponce, excavations have uncovered the remains of the new Hadrianic town, the "urbs nova". This area is accessible to visitors.
The relatively well preserved amphitheatre is one of the largest Roman examples in the world. It could hold approx. 25,000 spectators. Cardo Maximus, the main axis of the city, starts to the left of the theatre. When you walk through the old cobbled streets, you can see the remains of homes arranged around an inner courtyard, an atrium, roads, fountains and springs. Only a small fraction of the mosaic flooring, including the mosaic of the planets, is still located on site; many have been taken to the Archaeological Museum of Seville.more
The palace was built for the governor of Andalusia, Don Pedro Enríquez, and his wife Catalina de Ribera... in the 15th century. Their son, Don Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera, first Marquis de Tarifa, completed his parents' work when he returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Popular opinion maintains that Don Fadrique wanted to build a copy of the Palace of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. Today, the Casa de Pilatos is the main residence of the Duke of Medinaceli.
The palace is fascinating because of its successful combination of different architectural styles. It is set around a courtyard, which is one of the most beautiful examples of Mudéjar style with its tiled panels and stucco decorations. It is surrounded by two-storey arcades. A Renaissance fountain from Genoa splashes in the centre of the courtyard. Statues adorn the four corners of the courtyard, including a statue of Pallas Athena, a Greek original from the 5th century B.C., and a statue of Minerva from the ruins of Itálica. The stairwell is crowned by a fantastic dome, which is a copy of the dome of the Ambassardors' Hall in the Alcázar. The palace has two small, very beautiful gardens.more
The Hospital de la Caridad is a foundation created by Don Miguel de Mañara in 1662. Coming from a wealthy... family, he was a well-known man about town until he became deeply religious through a stroke of faith and placed his life in service of the poor and sick.
The baroque hospital church, the facade of which is covered with ceramic on the two upper storeys, is considered one of the most important structures in the Sevillian Baroque. Juan de Valdés Leal painted two masterpieces for it and the visitor's attention immediately is drawn to them at the entrance: "In Ictu Oculi" ("Allegory of Death") and "Finis Gloriae Mundi" ("The End of the Glory of the World"). They remind us of the transitoriness of life and material wealth. Of the six paintings by Bartolomé Esteban Murillos that show the works of charity, only two remain in the church today. The main altarpiece with a representation of the the mourning of Christ created by the sculptor Pedro Roldán.more
The approximately 231 ha (530 acre) Isla de la Cartuja (Carthusian Island) is located north of the city... district of Triana between the Guadalquivir and a canal which was built to protect against flooding. The area owes its name to the Carthusian (cartuja) Santa María de las Cuevas founded in 1399, in which Christopher Columbus stayed for some time. After deconsecration, the monastery was sold to English entrepreneur Charles Pickman in 1839, who set up a ceramic factory there. In the course of the preparations for the Expo, which was held under the motto "The Age of Discovery" on the Carthusian Island, the factory was relocated. Today, the former monastery houses the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, a museum and exhibition forum for modern art.
After the Expo, the futuristic exhibition buildings were largely demolished. Some were converted and incorporated into a Parque Tecnológico (technology park). In the area around the artificial lake, the fun park Isla Mágica was created, which was opened in 1997. Its entertainment programme and the attractions revolve around the discovery of the New World in the 16th century (http://www.islamagica.es). The former Pabellón de la Navegación (Navigation Pavillon) is anticipated to be accessible again in 2009 and offer an exhibition on shipping in the Atlantic.more
The Museo de Bellas Artes is one of the top art museums in Spain. It is housed in the former convent... (Convento de la Merced), which is already worth a visit alone thanks to its courtyards adorned with flowers and azulejos. The present day Baroque design of the convent dates back to the plans of the architect and sculptor Juan de Oviedo y de la Bandera from the year 1603. The church was completed as early as 1612. There is a monumental staircase in the centre of the convent buildings, around which the three courtyards and the main cloister are arranged. Soon after the deconsecration of the convent in 1835, it was decided that the rooms would in future be used as a museum.
The painting collection of the museum contains excellent works by Baroque masters such as Zurbarán, Velázquez, Valdés Leal and Murillo. Paintings from the 19th and 20th century are also represented, including "Las Cigarreras" ("The Cigarette Makers") by Gonzalo Bilbao, which portrays everyday life of the workers in an old tobacco factory. The sculptures by the Juan Martínez Montañés and Juan de Mesas are also worth seeing.more
Until well into the 18th century, all Spain's traffic of goods and people with its colonies went through... the ports of Seville as the city had a trading monopoly. In 1785, Charles III had the documents that had until then been stored in various locations brought together in a central archive, the "Archivo General de Indias". It was decided that it would be based in the merchants' exchange building which was constructed in the 16th century next to the cathedral. To this day it is the world's most important colonial archive.
Around 80 million documents are stored here. Approximately 40,000 folders contain documents from the 15th century to the late 19th century, including contracts, city plans and maps, emigration applications, one of which was submitted by the poet Miguel de Cervantes, and much more. Of particular importance are letters from Columbus and the log book of his first voyage as well as the Treaty of Tordesillas in which the New World was divided up between Spain and Portugal in 1494. In changing exhibitions, visitors are given access to parts of the treasures that are archived here.more
The museum was founded by the famous flamenco dancer and choreographer Cristina Hoyos, who in this way... wanted to contribute towards bringing the difficult art of Andalusian flamenco closer to a wider audience. The museum is located in the heart of the old town in a palace dating from the 18th century.
The exhibition explains the peculiarities of flamenco, its style and rhythms, with a focus on flamenco dance. It is shown how from flamenco, which was initially only practised in private circles, became an internationally recognised art which today can be experienced on large stages such as the Paris Opera House. A multimedia show rounds of the trip to the museum. The museum shop sells CDs and DVDs as well as various accessories.more
The Torre del Oro, one of the symbols of Seville, is located directly on the bank of the Río Guadalquivir.... The name means "the gold tower", which is probably because the masonry was once covered with golden shimmering tiles.
The twelve-cornered tower was built in the early 13th century under the Almohads as part of the fortification of the port. A heavy chain was attached to the tower with which the port was closed off at night. A great deal of damage was caused to the tower by the severe earthquake in Lisbon in 1755, which had repercussions all the way to Andalusia. It was supposed to be torn down once, but this plan was fortunately able to be blocked. Today, the tower houses a small maritime museum (Museo Naval), which documents the maritime past of the city. Boat trips on the Guadalquivir depart from the jetty right next to it and give visitors the opportunity to view the city from an entirely different perspective.more
The Río Guadalquivir has always been the lifeline of Seville. Although it is more than 600 km (370 miles)... long, making it the third longest river in Spain, it is only navigable for a short stretch from the Atlantic to Seville. But this brought wealth to the city in the past after Seville was granted the monopoly on the whole overseas trade with the Spanish colonies.
Today, the promenade along its banks, the Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, on which the Torre del Oro and the bullfighting arena are located, has become a popular place for leisurely walks, especially when it finally gets a bit cooler at nightfall. There are a few terrace restaurants on the riverbank, but it is mainly the many bars and good restuarants on the opposite side, on the Betis riverside road in the district of Triana, that tempt people over. A ride on one of the excursion boats which land near the Torre del Oro is very pleasant.more
Visiting a convent in Seville always means finding a bit of peace and quiet at last. This nunnery founded... in 1475, whose church is dedicated to St. Paula, a pupil of St. Hieronymus, also has a small museum and sells home-made sweets.
The visitor first of all enters into a courtyard, which gives a feeling of well-being thanks to its absolute quietness. An elaborately designed portal, whose ceramic decoration was created by Niculoso Pisano, leads into the church. In the tympanum is a coat of arts of the Catholic kings. The single nave church is covered by an artistic wood-panelled ceiling from the year 1623. A likeness of St. Paula adorns the high altar, which dates from the 18th century. The museum is located on the top floor of a side building. It houses valuable exhibits, including furniture, book illumination and sculptures as well as various paintings, predominantly from the 17th century. The convent's kitchen produces home-made delicacies that are sold to visitors, including jam and fruit jelly; the quince jelly is said to be especially tasty.more
Cigars were once rolled where students now jostle. The imposing building of the "Fábrica de Tabácos"... (tobacco factory) was built in the 18th century. After the closure of the factory in 1954, it was converted to be then on used by the university. With a floor area of 250 x 180 m (820 x 590 ft), its the second largest building in Spain.
Surrounded on three sides by a moat, the building is reminiscent of barracks. The main gate is crowned by a statue of Fama (fame). The factory once had a workforce of over a thousand women, the "cigarreras", who were known in the city for their self-confident manner. It was no coincidence that Prosper Merimeé, the creator of the novella "Carmen, made his main character, the gypsy Carmen, a worker in this factory. The working conditions were anything but pleasant. Many women slept there and brought their children with them. There was even a jail for rebellious ladies. If you enter the building today, you will find little to remind you of a factory. Today, the lecture theatres of students of law, history and philology surround the courtyards.more
The town of Carmona, located some 30 km (18 miles) east of Seville, is one of the most charming places... in Andalusia. Under the Romans, the town already acquired great important and retained this even under the Arabs. In the 14th century, the fortress complex of Carmona was the preferred residence of King Pedros I. el Cruel.
The old town surrounded by a massive wall contains a series of historic buildings from various centuries. The main square is the Plaza de San Fernando, where you can savour the pleasant ambience over a drink. Worth seeing are the Iglesia de Santa María from the 15th century as well as the Iglesia de San Pedro outside the city walls, whose bell tower reminds one of the Giralda. A pleasant walks takes you up to the Parador, which was constructed on the grounds of Alcázar Pedros el Cruel. From there you can see the expanse of the Guadalquivir. To the west of the town is an excavation of a large Roman burial ground (Necrópolis Romana) dating from the 1st and 2nd century AD in which predominantly burial chambers for the burial of urns have been found.more
The church, dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope), is located in the middle... of the La Macarena district, directly adjacent to the remains of the old city wall from the 12th century. In the church, an effigy of the Virgin Mary dating from the 17th century is worshipped, known in the vernacular as "Virgen de la Macarena".
The church in the style of Andalusian Baroque was built during the years 1941-1949 and was only furnished with murals in the 1980s. The high altar table forms a fittingly rich setting for the "Macarena", a processional effigy dating from the 17th century which decked in real clothing and a wig appears true-to-life. During the night of Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, the statue is carried to the cathedral in one of the largest processions of the Semana Santa. The magnificent carrying altar is exhibited throughout the year in the neighbouring museum, where you can also see the "mantos" (capes), crowns and other objects owned by "Hermandad de la Esperanza Mcarena" (Brotherhood).more
The historical city is a popular place to visit when staying in Seville, 57 mi (91 km) away. In 1548,... the same-named noble family founded a university here, which soon developed into a center of arts and sciences. Today, it is a branch of the University of Seville. Many churches and palaces remind of Osuna’s period of glory, most of all the Colegiata de Santa María next to the old university. The Renaissance church (16th century) is especially proud of its four paintings by José de Ribera in the sacristy. Opposite, in the Convento de la Encarnación, the cloister (18th century) adorned with colorful tiles is worth seeing. Among the palaces (mostly 17th century), the Palacio del Cabildo is the most splendid; its façade shows a relief depicting the Giralda of Seville.more
Located 57 mi (92 km) east of Seville, Écija is ridiculed as Andalusia’s “frying pan” in entire... Spain because the temperatures may rise well over 113 °F (45 °C) here in summer. The church towers adorned with tiles are typical of the city. After the earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, which had caused severe damage even here, they had been redesigned this way. A good place to start a walk through the city is the Plaza de España, where archeologists are just digging up Roman thermal baths and a Moorish cemetery. The floor mosaic (2nd century) in the city hall, which depicts an old Greek myth, dates back to the Roman era as well. Noble families allowed themselves the luxury of living in splendid palaces in the city. Lavishly painted with frescos, Palacio de los Marqueses de Peñaflor has one of Europe’s longest balconies.more
On the occasion of the EXPO 1992, the new green lung of Seville was created on a 15-acre (50 ha) wasteland... at the northern edge of the Isla de la Cartuja. At summer weekends the park fills with strollers, runners and bikers. Families enjoy a picnic or one of the many activities for children, reaching from painting and handicraft courses to dancing and a ride on the funny mini-railroad. Those who just want to enjoy nature will find what they are looking for, too. Two lakes in the central area, Lago Grande and Lago Chico, are surrounded by maquis. A large number of Mediterranean shrubs and trees can be found here; after rainfalls in spring and fall the most various flowers shine in between.more
The massive Church of the Redeemer stands at the place of the first mosque of Seville, which was built... here in the 9th century and renovated in the 12th. The only remains, the Patio de las Abluciones and the foundation walls of the minaret, on which the bell tower was built later, can be found at the northern edge of the complex, at Calle Córdoba. Nowadays, the church exclusively reflects a Baroque style. It was built in 1678 after the mosque, used as a church for a long time before, had been torn down eventually. The impressive façade and the domes were designed by Leonardo de Figueroa, who had made a name for himself as the architect of a series of prestigious buildings in Seville. After its restoration (2003-2008), the Iglesia del Salvador shines in new splendor.more
Doña Regla Manjón Mergelina, the countess of Lebrija, was a passionate collector of archeological artifacts.... From 1914, she had the family palace from the 16th century redesigned as a pseudo-Roman manor house. She acquired floor mosaics (2nd/3rd century) from Itálica, which have been adorning the patio and the neighboring halls since then, and fitted the premises with further original findings from the ruins of the Roman city. Although the palace is still the property of the noble family, it can be visited (entrance fee). The collector’s items are exhibited on the ground floor. The colorful tiles originate from the initial building designed in the Mudéjar style. The private chambers of the countess may only be entered in the company of a museum guide.more
There are two big arenas in Spain, in which every famous bullfighter has to appear once: the arenas of... Madrid and Seville. However, the Seville arena is worth seeing even without the bullfights as it is one of the oldest and most impressive in Spain.
The building of the stone arena was started in 1761 on the site of a simple wood construction. It was not fully finished until 1880. The terraces are roofed in the upper part and hold nearly 13,000 spectators. Unlike other arenas, the Seville arena is not a perfect circle but slightly oval. Above the main gate, the Puerta del Principe, is the Palco Real, the box reserved for the royal family. A museum has been created in a part of the former storerooms exhibiting photos, costumes, posters and other witnesses of the history of bull fighting in Seville.more
The City Hall of Seville is considered one of the most magnificent Renaissance buildings in Spain. It... was built from 1527. Its size and splendour were meant to reflect the importance and wealth of the city, whose ports at the time were the most important in the kingdom acting as a hub for trade with the Americas. The building was converted and extended in the 19th century.
The main facade on the Plaza San Francisco shows the playfulness of the Plateresque style. If you look closely, you can see busts of figures associated with the history of Seville: the hero of antiquity Hercules, the legendary founder of the city, Julius Caesar, who fortified the city and surrounded it with walls, and Charles V, during whose reign the City Hall was constructed. Inside, the Sala Capitular (Chapter House) is particularly worth seeing. It has a coffered ceiling which is decorated with reliefs of the Spanish kings up to Charles V. The upper floor houses, among other things, the library and archive. Among the paintings of the 17th century, works by the painter Francisco Zurbarán are of particular interest. Today, the main entrance is located in the neo-classical annex on the Plaza Nueva dating from the 19th century.more
Directly next to the walls of the Alcázar lies the picturesque quarter of Barrio de Santa Cruz, which... forms part of what was once the largest Jewish district in the city. However, only the course of the roads provides a reminder of Medieval Seville, the buildings are mainly from 17th-19th century. Although since its restoration in the 1920s the district has a somewhat stage-setting feel, it is nevertheless nice to wander along the narrow alleyways with flower-adorned patios. Numerous bars and restaurants entice you to linger a while.
The most significant structure in the district is the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes, an old-age home for poor priests built in the 17th century. It is used as a cultural centre for changing exhibitions today. Arcades surround the square-shaped courtyard on the ground floor. You can marvel at frescoes by Juan de Valdés Leal and his son Lucas in the church. The largest square in the district is the Plaza de Santa Cruz, on which the most important synagogue of the Jewish congregation once stood. The middle of the square is adorned by the Cruz de la Cerrajería, a wrought iron cross from the year 1692.more
The monumental cathedral was built in Gothic style on the foundations of the Almohad main mosque starting... in 1402. The five-aisled basilica is the third largest house of God after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.
The cathedral is entered via the Patio de los Naranjos (Orange Tree Courtyard), the former mosque courtyard. It is bordered by the 300 ft (94 m) high tower, the former minaret of the mosque, crowned since the 16th century with a personification of Christian faith, Santa Fé. The statue turns with the wind, giving the tower the name "Giralda" (from the Spanish girar = to turn). The top of the tower offers a magnificent view of the city. The main attraction inside is the 65 ft (20 m) high Gothic altar table, that was created in the years 1482-1529. It is considered the largest Gothic retable in the world. Behind it on the East Wall is the Capilla Real (16th century), in which the bones of the King Fernando III ("the Holy"). The Capilla Mayor is also worth seeing with paintings by Zurbarán and Murillo.more