|A city known around the world, comprehensively renovated in recent years, combined in a grouping of monuments without equal, a rich calendar of festivities, varied and extensive (highlights being Easter and the April Feria, fair) and a captivating personality, the fruit of a lengthy history in which, with some frequency, the destiny of Spain has been decided. The visitor can ascend the bell tower of La Giralda, the slender Arabic minaret transformed following the Castilian conquest of the region and now a symbolic Christian tower.
At their feet they can see castellated towers and tiled roofs, gardens and squares, the rio Guadalquivir which radiates through western Andalucía, and the traditional flat Seville rooftops.
And at the prime central point, the whole complex of buildings around its Gothic cathedral, one of the major places of worship in Christianity.
Not very far is another complex of buildings no less dazzling: the Arabic Reales Alcázares, which was expanded under the region of king Pedro the First, known as Pedro the Cruel, but to his friends Pedro the Just. Here there dominates a Mudéjar style worked down to the tiniest detail, and where the gardens set an essential counterpoint.
Casa de Pilatos SevillaSuccessive cultures have left their imprint on the city: the sturdy columns of calle Mármoles recall the cityás Roman past; the walls of the Macarena neighbourhood, reconstructed during the Almohad period or the extremely well-known Torre del Oro, among others, that testify to the lengthy and productive Muslim presence here; the numerous Gothic or Mudéjar churches (Santa Marina, San Marcos, Omnium Sanctorum…) that define so many areas of the city, and record the hand of Fernando III.
The Renaissance apogee when, following the discovery of the Americas, Seville became the axis for Spainás commerce with the Indies, left in the city centre the magnificent Ayuntamiento building, said to be the finest example of its era, the severe Lonja bilding (nowadays the seat of the Archivo de Indias) or various halls and chapels of the Catedral, among other examples. Many of the grand Seville edifices now have different uses, such as the colossal Renaissance Hospital de las Cinco Llagas, now the seat of the Parlamento Andaluz. In a knowing combination, both Renaissance and Mudéjar styles dominate the Palacio de las Dueñas and the Casa de Pilatos, both large palaces.
The baroque left an equally profound mark on the city, with numerous churches (La Magdalena, El Salvador), hospitals (such as the hospital of La Caridad) or palaces (such as the Palacio de San Telmo), while its churches are populated with important works signed by some of the greatest painters in Spanish history. The vast Fábrica de Tabacos is today the seat of the University of Seville
Seville hasnát lagged behind in history and has continued to enrich itself with each generation, in the past century, for example, from the regionalism of its wide Plaza de España in the 1920s to the avant-garde bridges such as the Alamillo, launched into space to mark the Exposición Universal of 1992, in parts of whose terrain you can enjoy, today, great and small, the alarums and attractions of the Isla Mágica theme park, a short stroll across the river.
To know Seville demands that you immerse yourself in its neighbourhoods, from the delightful medieval Jewish Quarter to the modern streets of Triana across the river, the pretty Barrio de Santa Cruz, the impressive plaza de toros, bullring, of La Maestranza, the exquisite tower of Santa Ana, also in Triana.
A stroll through Seville can include a detour through its green zones, walking in its Parque de María Luisa and the Jardines de Murillo, an oasis of tranquility that explodes in spring with thousands of colours and aromas.
The exceptional richess of Seville also translates into its sixteen museums. Of sublime importance, the Museo de Bellas Artes, with its magnificent pictorial and sculptural works, and the Museo Arqueológico, with its array of treasures dating back millennia.
Not much further, however, from the city that looks back and recreates in its past the shape of Seville today. Before all, a city very well connected, with a busy and large airport; the Tren de Alta Velocidad high-speed train; the motorways (A92, A49…) that communicate with the other Andalucían capitals and with the rest of the Peninsula; and including the port, the first river port in Spain, now open to tourism; the numerous bridges across its river, and an excellent motorway serving the city as a ring road.
But at the same time, a city with its eye on the future, with Olympic aspirations and where international sporting events at the highest level are staged.
This city, so extrovert, commercial and enterprising, coexists with the intimate city of so delicate a beauty, such as the dance of the álos seisesá, a religious-historic event staged three times a year in the Catedral. Itás also very true that the intimacy of the Seville convents hides another very distinct treasure, los dulces, the cakes and sweets traditionally made by the nuns, and it is unconceivable to visit the city without stopping off in its temples to gastronomy and its famous bars specializing in the thousand and one ingenious popular tapas.