So much Spanish life happens on bustling streets or within boisterous bars along the walkways. And what a better way to soak up all that energy than in the Andalucian capital, Seville. We were welcomed to what is known as the frying pan of Europe…not so much for its culinary delights, but because it’s hot here! Our daily walks were endured with temperatures ranging between 37C and 40C. And we wondered why the Spanish have siesta between 2pm and 5pm. The city is deserted during the heat of the day but come late afternoon, it awakens and by early evening, it is heaving again.

So, let’s take a moment and conjure up an image of Spain…the real Spain, where the air is thick with the smell of orange blossom, jasmine and cured ham, with hot, endless nights and a cacophony of noise, people enjoying early drinks and late dinners under clear dark skies. Sevilla, it is a city where you can lose yourself in and surrender to this hypnotising magic, with orange tree-lined streets and shady plazas that pulse with life. Sevillians live in the streets, taking advantage of the wide open space called and enjoy each other’s company.

(our local bar/restaurant)

The Seville Cathedral is the largest gothic cathedral, and third-largest church, in the world. Like many of Seville’s churches, it was originally installed in the old Moorish mosque. When the mosque was destroyed, the Seville Cathedral was born in its place. The Giralda remains from the original mosque.

The cathedral is also the final (partial) resting place of Christopher Columbus, interred in a large tomb to the side of the cathedral. It is a monument in its own right. Further, it is subject to a great riddle – the explorer’s bones were returned from Cuba yet there are suggestions that the tomb does not contain his remains, notwithstanding DNA testing.

The Giralda tower is visible from outside the city, and would have completely dominated the skyline in Moorish times when it served as a minaret and watchtower. The structure dates from late 12th century and includes the later addition of the bell tower and associated adornments added by the Christians.

Overlooking Plaza Salvador, the Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador is modest from the outside, a tiered red brick facade. But the interior reveals a rich display of carving and gilding.

What can only be described as amazing modern architecture design, the Seville Mushrooms claim to be the largest wooden structure in the world. Las Setas de la Encarnación (Metropol Parasol Building) is made out of Scandinavian birch wood. To this day, it still polarises the Sevillian population.

Plaza de San Francisco is a main public square in Seville, with the town hall located at one end.  The town hall is encrusted with lovely Renaissance carvings.

Strolling through the Triana neighbourhood, on the west bank of the Guadalquivir River, was a short divergence. Along the river we enjoyed a lazy lunch (nothing moves quickly in this part of the world) and pleasant views of Seville. Triana is a working-class neighbourhood known for its cobbled streets.

Plaza de Espana is special. It was built as a Pavillion for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1928. The Plaza is a semi-circular shaped brick building with towers at either end that can be seen from all around the city.  A major feature is a canal, which can be crossed by bridges, that follows the shape of the building. It epitomizes the Renaissance Revival style of Spanish architecture and combines Mudejar styles from the Moorish era. Among the plazas highlights are the Alcoves of the Provinces, intricately designed sections that represent each province in Spain.

The Torre del Oro, a Moorish tower from the 13th century, is in the El Barrio del Arenal, used when the port was established along the river, which became the main mode of communication and transport between Seville and the world.

The Seville Alcazar is one of the most unique buildings you will find. This fortified palace was occupied since Roman times by successive rulers and became a citadel during Moorish occupation. Some of the original walls remain and the greater part of the building dates from mid 13th century. 

There are some amazing rooms inside with some of the most beautiful architecture you will see anywhere. The Alcazar is the oldest Royal Palace still in use in the world. When the Spanish Royals come to town they still stay in the Alcazar. 

The Gardens of the Alcazar are an attraction in themselves and have a part in today’s popular culture. Formal gardens with pools and fountains sit close to the palace. The garden has many interesting features, notably the wall which surrounds the gardens, a Muslim style wall erected during the 16th century.

In the world of bullfighting, Seville’s bullring is up there with Lord’s, Old Trafford and the MCG. It is regarded as a building of almost religious importance to fans and matadors alike. It is the oldest bullring in Spain, with work commencing on the mid 1700s. Alongside Ronda, it is here that bullfighting commenced in Spain in the 18th century. So, we have completed the trifecta of bullrings – Las Ventas (Madrid) with the largest capacity, Ronda with the largest ring and Seville being the oldest. our bullring tours are now complete!

 We were only in Seville for four days…and it didn’t take us long to fall in love with this city – Seville is simply amazing. You just need to walk the streets, step into some of the squares and admire the architecture and you’ll be astounded by some of the sights you see – around every corner, you see a church or square. This city has over 1000 churches – move over Adelaide, you have some serious competition! It’s not only the attractions but the setting, with colourful streets, intricate balconies, the cobblestones, shady plazas and gardens. The Moorish architecture and palm trees give the city a tropical vibe and add to its charm…

…and so we are left with good memories of our time in Seville…

Leave a Reply