What to see in Seville

What to see in Seville

The Giralda is perhaps Seville’s most famous landmark, and even without further guidance, not a single tourist in the city has passed it by yet: the imposing patterned structure rises above the roofs of the Old City and is visible from absolutely anywhere in the city.

Alcázar Palace in Seville

The Alcázar Palace in Seville is one of those buildings that define the face of the country: it is literally one of the most famous landmarks of Spain. Among the palaces, only the Alhambra in Granada can compete with it in terms of popularity.

The Royal Tobacco Factory in Seville

The Royal Tobacco Factory in Seville has no external appearance at all and is much more in keeping with the organization that houses it today, namely the University of Seville. But it is originally an industrial building, the only trick is that it is one of the oldest in Europe.

The Golden Tower in Seville

The Torre del Oro or Golden Tower is as famous a symbol of Seville as the cathedral, despite its much more modest size. It has a lot to do with a lot of different things. The Golden Tower was built in 1220 under Moorish rule in Spain.

Seville Cathedral

The cathedral in Seville is one of those places, which you should not miss if you come to this city. There are many reasons for this: it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and a Catholic cathedral based on a Muslim mosque.

Metropolis Parasol in Seville

A sight called Metropol Parasol (which very conventionally and roughly can be translated as “urban umbrella”) in Seville is designed for lovers of modern architecture and everything unusual in general, and there are quite a lot of them among tourists.

Plaza de España in Seville

Plaza de España in Seville is somehow little known in Russia, but in Western Europe it is among the brightest modern squares. There is nothing surprising in this – it is absolutely unlike anything else.

Alamillo

Sevillians maliciously nicknamed the Alamillo Bridge a monument to Viagra, because of its specific contour. In fact, they’re proud of the beautiful architectural masterpiece erected in the run-up to Expo ’92, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.

Archive of the Indies in Seville

The Archive of the Indies in Seville, at first glance, looks a bit strange on the UNESCO World Heritage List, but it only seems so. In fact, it’s a very interesting building that is almost 450 years old, it contains even more interesting documents, and it is for these two factors that the Archive of the Indies was inscribed on the list.

City Hall in Seville

The Seville City Hall, the seat of the city government, is a small but interesting landmark. It is interesting for several reasons. First, the building was built for the city administration in the 16th century and since then this administration has never left it.

The Hospital of the Five Sacred Wounds in Seville

The Hospital of the Five Sacred Wounds in Seville did not become a landmark until recently, when it was a working hospital that had retained its historic name since its founding. But the hospital was closed, the building was restored and turned into the seat of the Andalusian Parliament.

Palacio San Telmo in Seville

The construction of a building on this site began in 1682, commissioned by the Inquisition administration as an institution for orphans, or rather, a maritime school in which children from the families of fallen sailors would be taught free of charge the art of navigation. The main details of the building were planned by the architect Leonardo de Figueroa.

Pilate’s House

The architecture of the palace is a whimsical mixture of the Mudejar Spanish-Moorish style, Italian Renaissance, and antiquity. The patio, an inner courtyard, is surrounded by arcades on slender columns, and in niches hide sculptures of Greek gods, Roman emperors, and a bust of the orator Cicero.

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The Carthusian monastery in Seville

The buildings of the Carthusian monastery in Seville are located on the island to which they have given their name (it is Isla de la Cartuja, that is, the Island of Cartesia – “cartesian” was the name of the Carthusian monasteries at the time). It has a rich and interesting history, and it began, as often happens, with a chance discovery.

Casa de Salinas in Seville

The Casa de Salinas, that is, the Salinas House, is a small but interesting landmark. A 16th century dwelling house that has been carefully restored to its original historical appearance – it can’t be uninteresting. And here the building is also very beautiful in its own right.

Maestrans

Tavromachia, the game with a bull, has been known in the Mediterranean since ancient times. Its most famous variety is Spanish bullfighting with the mandatory killing of an innocent animal in the arena. You can treat this in different ways.

Maria Luisa Park in Seville

Parque Maria Luisa is the main park of Seville and reflects the sunny climate of the Mediterranean. The park complex stretches along the Guadalquivir River, which runs through the city, and it’s home to the famous Plaza de España, and the rarities are too numerous to list.

Santa María la Blanca Church in Seville

Seville’s Santa Maria la Blanca church has an amazing history – even in Western Europe, religious structures still rarely change denominations more than once. This church is an exception.

Church of St. Luigi of France in Seville

La iglesia de San Luis de los Franceses in Seville was built by the famous architect Leonardo de Figueroa, and that alone is enough to make it worth seeing: this master does not have uninteresting buildings.

Seville is one of the brightest cities in Spain, even the Spaniards themselves admit it. For the tourist, this means a lot of new experiences, new discoveries, and memories as vivid as the city. There are many reasons for Seville’s vibrancy, but most of all it has to do with its history.

Seville was founded by the Phoenicians in the 3rd millennium BC, then it became a Roman colony. At the beginning of the 8th century, the Moors took over the region, and they ruled here until the middle of the 13th century. Then they were defeated by the Spaniards, and the independent Kingdom of Castile was formed here. With the union of Castile and another small state – Aragon – and began the unification of Spain into one country. Accordingly, Seville for a long time was the capital: first the Moorish Califate, then Castile, and then became a very, very rich city, because it was by commission of the local Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus went to search for India and discovered America. It was Seville that got the first colonies in America, the gold of the Indians, and also sold tobacco, chocolate, and many other things to Europe.

Each stage of history is reflected in the city’s architecture. The least surviving Roman traces, in fact, only one significant fragment of the buildings, located in the Metropolis Parasol. But a great many Moorish ones have survived, and this is what has defined the city.

Seville is unique in that, unlike many other cities in Spain, it did not seek to completely erase traces of the Moors; they were woven into the local culture.

These traces have become perhaps the most striking local feature. The fusion of Moorish and European cultures is what has made Seville truly unique.

The fusion of traditions is present in almost all the attractions of the city. The most famous of these is the Mudejar, which combines European and Moorish decorative techniques. The most striking example is the uncommonly impressive Plaza de España.

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One of the two most famous attractions in Seville is the cathedral. It was built on the foundations of the largest mosque in the city, the external design combines Gothic and Moorish, but inside decorated by the best masters of Spain – there is a unique interior decoration and the world-famous altar. Next to it is the Haralda, a former minaret converted into a bell tower in the 13th century. The lower parts are historic, the top is 16th century, on top is one of the symbols of the city, the Haraldillo weathervane statue. The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The second famous attraction is the Alcázar Palace. The former palace of the Caliph, which has been under construction for many centuries, so it’s a stunning mix of all styles over the last 800 years at once. Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque – and almost all with a local flavor. The interior decoration is also amazing – the paintings, carvings and mosaics will not leave anyone indifferent.

Another thing on the UNESCO list is the Archive of the Indies, which, in a building by a famous architect, contains all Spanish documents about the discovery, conquest and exploration of the Americas (Columbus’s reports, among others). The collections are closed, but there are always interesting exhibitions going on, where you can see the most famous exhibits.

If you are familiar with the work “Carmen” – be sure to go see the building of the Royal Tobacco Factory. Carmen, according to its creator, worked here. In addition, it is one of the oldest industrial buildings in the world, built in 1728, and its lush Baroque facade is quite unlike modern enterprises.

For lovers of architectural intricacies, the Palace of San Telmo, decorated in a peculiar style called ultra baroque. The style is colonial, imported from Mexico, and in Seville it comes across often. Some elements are not like anything else. Some of the city’s churches are also built in this style, for example, its elements are present in the forms of the church of St. Luigi of France.

Fine carvings cover the old parts of the town hall, built in the Plateresque style. You have to walk around the building to find them, but it’s worth it – its rare decoration is a must-see. You can also see the Hospital of the Five Sacred Wounds, which is almost 500 years old.

Churches occupy a separate place. The most notable are the Church of St. Mark, which brightly combines several styles at once, the Church of Magdalene, the remnant of a monastery that was the local center of the Inquisition, and the two monasteries of St. Paula and Cartesian, with their eventful history.

In addition to the large buildings, Seville has many smaller buildings, including dwellings. They were built in the same mixed style, with Arab columns, European galleries and patios in the courtyard. Some houses are open to tourists, such as the Casa de Salinas, which can be toured.

You can relax in the Maria Luisa Park. It’s a large Mediterranean garden by the river, very sunny and fragrant and as atmospheric as the rest of Seville.

Seville travel guide: how to get there, when to go, history, points of interest, tips, shopping

Seville

Seville is the Andalusian capital and the home of the irrepressible Carmen and the profligate Don Juan. Here you see the very essence of Spain with its passionate temperament. Seville is a city of incessant fiesta and hospitable people called “Sevillanos”.

You can see the city right now by watching this video:

Seville is the fourth largest Spanish city, trailing only Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. But the historical part of the city is one of the largest in Europe. Here is the third largest cathedral in the world. In total there are 74 temples in Seville.

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Seville’s colourful and picturesque architecture is influenced by the Moorish style, a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Mudejar. See its beauty as you stroll through the maze of streets of the old neighborhood on the left bank of the Guadalquivir. And also find tapas bars, restaurants, shops with fans, castanets and colorful shawls.

Getting to Seville

Tourist map of Seville

Photo: Tourist map of Seville

You can go to Seville from Madrid or Barcelona, as well as from nearby Malaga, where during the holiday season there are chartered flights from Moscow.

From Madrid

By train from Puerta de Atocha station by the high-speed AVE train (20 runs per day) – 2,5 hours, about 80 € per ticket. If you order tickets online, you can get them up to 2 times cheaper.

By plane: 1) From Recoletos station take the C1 train to Aeropuerto T4 station (every 30 minutes) – 25 minutes; 2) From Madrid Airport to Seville Airport – 1 hour, 30€ – 190€ per ticket; 3) From Seville Airport you can take the Ea bus.

From Malaga

Train from Malaga station (every 4 hours) – 1 hour 55 minutes, 30€ – 45€ per ticket. By bus from Malaga station (once a day) – 2 hours 45 minutes, 17€ – 26€. Per ticket.

From Barcelona

By train from Barcelona Sants station on the AVE (3 times a day) – 5h 32 min, 100€ – 140€ per ticket. By bus from Barcelona station (once a day) – 14h 45min, 50€ – 80€.

By plane: 1)from Passeig de Gracia station by R2 Nord train to Barcelona Airport T2 (every 30 minutes) – 17 minutes;2) from Barcelona Airport T2 – 1 hour 40 minutes, 29€ – 160€; 3) from Seville Airport you can take the Ea bus.

When to go

Seville has a hot Mediterranean climate with hot summers and warm winters. Summer highs can reach 50 degrees in the sun, which doesn’t make for pleasant walks, and there’s no sea. A much wiser choice is April and May, when Seville’s highlights are the Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week before Easter, and the Feria de abril (April Fair). The weather is also favorable in the fall, and in February you can see ripe citrus fruits falling from the trees. Too bad the citrus variety is not edible and is only good for marmalade.

History

The Guadalquivir River in Seville

Photo: Guadalquivir River in Seville

The Guadalquivir River divides the city into two parts, Seville with its monuments and the historic Trianna. During the Moorish rule, Seville was enclosed by a wall, of which fragments remain, such as the Torre del Oro.

The Guadalquivir was a determining factor in the city’s prosperity, making it a trading monopoly. The tourism industry began to develop in the 19th century and after the Expo-1992 with the addition of bridges, a new airport, railway station and high-speed rail connection to Madrid, Seville has become a tourist “mecca”.

Seville is rich in fountains, most of which get their water from the Canos de Carmona viaduct, built during the time of Caesar.

Attractions

The old part with sights is on the left bank of the Guadalquivir (Sevilla district). Here unique architectural objects are concentrated – cathedrals, palaces, churches, monasteries, museums, etc. On the right bank there is Triana area, which is famous for flamenco evenings.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Cede is a grandiose structure, which was built for more than a century from 1401 to 1519. It is the third-largest Christian church in the world – 116 m long and 76 m wide. In this grandiose Gothic cathedral is the tomb of Columbus (the body of the discoverer is not here, only his son Hernando).

Santa Maria de la Cede Cathedral

Photo: Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Cede

The Giralda is a 114-meter-high bell tower with 22 bells from the 12th-16th centuries, which became part of the adjacent cathedral. It is an ancient Moorish minaret with elaborate patterns that passed into the hands of the Catholic Church after the Reconquista.

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Next to the Seville Cathedral is the Archive of the Indian Council with a collection of valuable documents containing information about the discovery and conquest of the Americas, Columbus’s journal, notes of the pioneer Conquistadors, maps of the colonies, etc.

Archive of the Council of Indies

Photo: Council of India Archives

South of the park is a magnificent palace, the Alcázar of Seville (Arabic for “fortress”), where the filming of Game of Thrones took place. This unique complex with the finest work of Arab masters – gardens, pavilions, ponds, fountains full of atmosphere of Moorish splendor. Also beautiful is the palace, built in the center of the complex by order of King Pedro I in the 14th century.

After a tour of Moorish luxury it is worth moving on to European luxury – the Palace of San Telmo on the waterfront. The 17th- and 18th-century Baroque building is striking with its elaborate late Baroque main portal, called churrigueresco.

Palacio de San Telmo on the seafront

Photo: Palacio San Telmo on the waterfront

Nearby is the University of Seville (1505), one of the largest and oldest in Spain, which is also noteworthy for its architecture.

Plaza de España, designed by Aníbal González, is to the south in the María Luisa Park. The lower part of the building framing the semicircular square is patterned with mudejar niches that symbolize each of the Spanish provinces. The magnitude of the composition, the fountains and the charming park make it Seville’s most striking landmark.

Plaza de España

Photo: Plaza de España

Moving north along the Guadalquivir, we find one of the oldest bullring in Spain, the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza. Here the most famous bullfighters perform, festivals are held, and the Corida Museum exhibits the garments of the brilliant bullfighters, photos and posters. Of note is the sculpture of the matador and the gypsy Carmen, who, according to the short story by P. Merisme, met her death in this arena.

The Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, northeast of the arena, is a handsome mid-16th century Plateresque building with exquisite stucco ceilings and a huge Velázquez painting in the lower hall.

Seville Town Hall

Photo: Seville Town Hall

Not far from the town hall you can see the monument to the writer Miguel Cervantes. If you go further east along Cuesta del Rosario, you’ll find one of the city’s most unique monuments to Clara Campoamor Rodriguez, the famous founder of Spanish feminism (did you find a mouse reading a book?).

The 16th century Casa de Pilatos is a marvelous palace inspired by the pilgrimage of Fadrique Henriquez (son of the royal administrator) to the Holy Land. The interior courtyard with arcades on marble columns in the Renaissance style, the fountain with dolphins, the interior galleries with stunning Moorish decoration, the garden and the aristocratic interior can all be seen as part of the tour.

House of Pilate

Photo: Pilate’s House

Keeping north, we head to the active 15th-century Santa Paula Convent of Women. The most stunning part of the convent is the church, which weaves together Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance styles into one unspeakably beautiful style. There is also a museum with religious artifacts and paintings.

The 14th-century brick Church of San Pedro, built on the site of a mosque, stands out for its early 17th-century Baroque main portal with a statue of St. Peter, and its Baroque bell tower.

Nearby, in the Encarnación square, there is the Metropol Parasol, the largest wooden structure in the world in the form of five mushrooms designed by Jürgen Hermann Meyer (completed in 2011). These “Seville Mushrooms” are a favorite of Spaniards with stores, restaurants, a museum of archaeology, an observation terrace and a farmers’ market.

To get to the Museum of Fine Arts you have to follow strictly west towards the river. The museum opened in 1841 on the site of a former 17th-century monastery with magnificent architecture. Paintings by Spanish masters from the 15th to the 20th century are on display here, mostly of a religious nature: El Greco, Murillo, Velázquez, Cano, Pacheco, Zurbarán, and others.

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Attractions in the vicinity

View of Carmona

Photo: View of Carmona

On the outskirts of the city, there are many beautiful villages, like snow-white Carmona, only 34 kilometers from Seville, where there are preserved fortress walls, towers, colorful houses with Moorish ornaments, old streets and romantic squares with palm trees.

A little further away is Jerez with its legendary fortified wine “sherry”, the Royal Riding School and searing flamenco.

The beautiful Doñana National Park is close to Seville and offers abundant flora and fauna.

Tips from tourist reviews

  1. The best place for sightseeing and panoramic photos is the Giralda (bell tower). The most sumptuous photos are taken at the Alcázar Palace.
  2. To move around the city you can buy a 1-2 day ticket on the tourist bus Hop on – Hop off (24 hours – 18 €, 2 days – 21 €). Alternatively, you can ride the metro (24h ticket – 4,5€) or the bus (10 rides – 5,15€).

Shopping

Spanish fans

Photo: Spanish fans

  • Handmade fans and castanets and flamenco dress;
  • Traditional Spanish silk scarves and men’s hats (like Zorro’s);
  • Sherry, jamón and olives.
  • Calle Sierpes is the main street with boutiques and famous brands;
  • Calle Cuna – a street with all the trappings of flamenco;
  • Calle Adriano – street where there is a riding store with excellent leather accessories such as belts and wallets.

If you want to go to a bullfight during the Feria de Abril, you must buy tickets in advance (2 months in advance).

Things to do in Seville

10 things to do in Seville:

  1. Take a photo against the backdrop of Spain’s largest cathedral;
  2. Climb the Giralda to see the beauty of the old city;
  3. Attend Feria de Abril, a week-long April fair with festivities, food and unbridled flamenco;
  4. See a bullfight in the famous Maestranza arena;
  5. Visit the Isla Magica amusement park on the island of La Cartuja;
  6. Enjoy a spectacular flamenco show with a glass of manzanilla in one of the flamenco bars;
  7. See with your own eyes how oranges are laying in the streets during the ripening period in February;
  8. Go to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where the Guadalquivir flows into the sea and where Magellan and Columbus sailed from.

What to try

Spanish tortilla

Photo: Spanish tortilla

Seville’s main culinary highlight is the cute tapas bars with different prices. You can try these appetizers right outside the Seville Cathedral. The best appetizer options are tortilla, Galician octopus, olives, spicy potatoes and La Mancha sheep cheese, and jamón (one piece 2-3€, set 15-20€). Great decoration, reasonable prices and delicious at Albarama Restaurante Tapas and Restaurante Az-Zait.

In addition to tapas, it is worth trying the fried anchovies with lemon with a glass of beer. Despite its apparent simplicity, the taste of the dish is pleasant and memorable.

To try the real paella, get away from the bustling center and stop by a restaurant in a deserted place, where the dish is prepared as for the locals. The cool tomato soup, or gazpacho, is great on a hot day. For authentic Andalusian food, try the Bar Las Golondrinas in the Triana area.

In Seville, you can even taste the tail of a bull killed in a bullfight, but it is not cheap.

The hosts of the program “Heads and Tails” also visited Seville, and here’s what they told us about this wonderful city:

Bonus on apartment rentals 2100 rubles

Instead of hotels you can book an apartment (cheaper on average 1,5-2 times) on AirBnB.com, a very convenient and well-known worldwide service for apartment rent with a bonus 2100 rubles at registration

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