Seville Tourist Attractions
Capital of AndalusiaSevilla, Spain's fourth-largest city, chief town of its province and capital of Andalusia, the see of an archbishop and a university town, lies in a fertile plain on the left bank of the Río Guadalquivir.
Here the Guadalquivir emerges into the Andalusian lowlands, and at high tide - the effect of which is felt for more than 100km/60mi up the river - it is possible for seagoing vessels of some size to reach the river port of Seville, 87km/54mi from the sea, using a channel which bypasses the last bend on the river before the town. In 1948-49 the main channel of the Guadalquivir was diverted to the west side of the town; the port installations, however, are still on the old river-bed. Seville is also an important industrial town (foodstuffs, textiles, metal-processing). With the abundance of art and architecture which it has inherited from many centuries of history and the lively and bustling activity of a southern Mediterranean town which is also a port, Seville fully justifies the old saying, "Quien no ha visto Sevilla, no ha visto maravilla" ("If you have not seen Seville you have missed a marvel"). Seville was the birthplace of two famous painters, Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-82). Many commemorative tablets in the streets of the town recall scenes from the works of Cervantes. Seville is also famous as the setting of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Marriage of Figaro" and of Bizet's "Carmen"; and a number of streets claim the honor of having Figaro's barber shop in Rossini's "Barber of Seville".ClimateSeville has one of the hottest climates in mainland Europe (up to 48°C/118°F). Accordingly the houses usually have patios, decked with flowers and a plashing fountain, often tantalisingly glimpsed from the street, which provide a cool retreat in the heat of summer.HistoryWhen the Romans arrived here about 205 B.C. they found a town which they named Hispalis, perhaps an Iberian or Phoenician foundation. In the time of Caesar it became an important port under the name of Colonia Julia Romula. In the fifth century A.D. it was successively the capital of the Vandals (411) and the Visigoths (441). In 712 the Moors captured the town, which they called Ihbiliya. Subsequently it was ruled by the Umayyads (from 913), the Almoravids (from 1091) and the Almohads (from 1147). Under Yusuf Abu Yakub (1163-84) and Yakub ibn Yusuf (1184-98) many splendid buildings were erected in Seville, and for a time the city exceeded even Córdoba in population. In 1248 Ferdinand III of Castile recaptured the town and made it his residence. The king most popular in Seville - in spite of his name - was Pedro the Cruel (1350- 69). On his return from his first voyage to the New World, on March 31st 1493, Columbus was given a ceremonial reception in Seville. Amerigo Vespucci planned his voyage to America in the town, and Magellan sailed from here on his circumnavigation of the globe. Thereafter Seville gained a monopoly of overseas trade and became Spain's principal port. Later the town's importance declined, but its prosperity revived following the regulation of the Guadalquivir, which brought seagoing trade back to Seville.EXPO '92The world exhibition EXPO '92 brought considerable improvements to the infrastructure of Seville. These included the expansion of the airport, rebuilding of Santa Justa railroad station for the high speed AVE train to Madrid and completion of the motorway link with Madrid. The townscape was also dramatically altered by the construction of spectacular bridges over the Guadalquivir "La Barqueta" and "Alamillo". However, the high expectations concerning job creation and economic revival were only partly met. By the end of the spectacle the initial euphoria had gradually given way to disillusion.Located in the north end of Seville is the area of La Macarena. This area is a working class district with numerous churches, offering visitors a glimpse of everyday life which is not as obvious in some of the more tourist oriented areas.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cathedral in Seville is a splendid example of fine Gothic architecture. Built to completion in 1506, the Cathedral features great works of art and an impressive interior.
The 14th C Alcázar was built by the Moors. Some of the highlights include the Apartments of Charles V, the gardens, and the Hall of the Ambassadors, which is the oldest of the rooms.
Built in the 16th C, the Casa de Pilatos shows a mix of Mudéjar style, along with Gothic and Renaissance influences.
Around the Alameda de Hércules
In Seville, the continuation of Calle de las Sierpes to the north, Calle Amor de Dios, goes past the Plaza del Duque to the Alameda de Hércules, a tree-lined avenue, at the south end of which are two tall granite columns from a Roman temple, set up here in 1574, bearing statues of Hercules and Julius Caesar.
To the west of the Alameda de Hércules in Seville stands the church of San Lorenzo, with a beautiful high altar by Montañés and a much venerated figure of Christ, Nuestro Señor del Gran Poder (by Juan de Mesa), in a side chapel.
On the north side of the old town of Seville, between the Puerta de Córdoba and the Puerta de la Macarena, extends a considerable stretch of the old town walls, built on Roman foundations.
To the left of the Puerta de la Macarena can be found the Basílica Macarena, with an image of the Virgen de la Macarena by Pedro Roldán. In a museum attached to the church are displayed the jewels and ornaments with which the image is decked on special occasions, together with the costumes worn by celebrated bullfighters.
The greatest collection of pictures in Seville can be found in the Museum of Art, nestled inside the Convento de la Merced building. The museum is well-known for its 17th Century works of art.
The Parque de María Luisa includes a number of attractions, such as the Archeological Museum, the Museum of Folk Art and Costume, and the Plaza de España.
Although many of the buildings from the Original 1992 EXPO site have been demolished, some of them remain, and four have been incorporated into an amusement park.
Romería del Rocio
The Romería del Rocio, in Whit week, is one of the most celebrated pilgrimages in Spain, in which groups of pilgrims from Seville, Huelva, Cádiz, Jerez and other towns travel on horseback, on mules or in ox-carts to Almonte in Huelva province to pay honor to Nuestra Señora del Rocio in her azulejo-clad church in the presence of the Archbishop of Seville.
The Semana Santa celebrations in Seville are one of the most impressive festivals in Spain. Particularly striking are the processions of the brotherhoods (cofradías, hermandades) from the different quarters of the town, clad in penitents' garb and carrying richly decked figures of saints (pasos), and the main procession in the night before Good Friday and on Good Friday morning. The ceremonies in the Cathedral during Holy Week are of particular splendor.
More Seville Pictures
Map of Seville Attractions