Visit Seville, an Andalusian city
After Madrid and Barcelona, Seville, the Andalusian capital, is the most visited city in Spain.
An important river port on the Guadalquivir, Seville has inherited an Arab-Muslim, Jewish and Catholic past that has left it an artistic and cultural heritage which, combined with the mild climate, makes it a popular tourist destination.
Places not to be missed in Seville’s social life, bars are legion and tapas worship is here, more so than anywhere else in Spain, followed enthusiastically in every part of the city.
Sevillan gastronomy is both Mediterranean for olive oil and regional with delicatessen, pork or bull meat. The dishes are simple, grilled or sautéed.
Cradle of many bullfighters, Seville is one of the high places of Spanish bullfighting and a reputable bull breeding place. To fight at the Maeztranza, Sevilla’s arenas are the dream of every matador.
The districts of Seville
The neighborhoods of Seville reflect the souls of the inhabitants and their historical and cultural ties.
El Centro – The Centre
El Centro is the pedestrian and commercial centre of the city. With its many tourist sites and shops, some of which are century-old, it is also the busiest part of the city.
Among these tourist sites, we discover Plaza de la Encarnación, the’ setas’ of Metropol Parasol. Further down towards Calle Sierpes: the Flamenco Cultural Centre’ Casa de la Memoria’, the Palazzo de la Comtesse de Lebrija Museum and religious buildings such as the Jesuit temple of the Anunciación, the churches of Divino Salvador and Magdalena.
Cutting off El Centro, the Calle Sierpes, legend has it that a monstrous snake used to devour children there, concentrates a large number of shops, cafés-terrasses and restaurants.
It is also in this street, borrowed by the processions of Holy Week, that Cervantes began to write his famous Don Quixote. Moreover, a monument is dedicated to the writer Calle Entre Cárceles about twenty meters south of the street.
The Plaza de la Encarnación is the departure point for most city buses.
In the Middle Ages, Santa Cruz, formerly the Judería, was home to the most important Jewish community in Spain after Toledo.
The Santa Maria la Blanca church was built around the 14th century on the site of a synagogue. Nowadays, with its narrow lanes lined with white houses, its flower gardens, its squares planted with orange trees and palm trees, its terraces of cafés and restaurants, it is a typical Sevillian quarter.
Mysterious alleys, which take you from the Plaza Santa Cruz to the foot of the gardens of the Alcazar, lead you to the historical sites: from the Giralda, to the Casa Lonja which houses the famous archives of India, to the Real Alcázar, the royal residence.
At random in these cool alleys: pleasant squares. The Plaza de los Venerables with its multitude of taverns and cafés-terrasses, the Plaza de los Refinadores with a statue of Don Juan de Tenorio, a theatre character, the Plaza de Doña Elvira which, in addition to the orange trees that adorn it, houses the Museo Pintor Amalio, a museum dedicated to the painter Amalio Garcia del Moral.
Triana and los Remedios
The cradle of flamenco, a quarter of sailors and gypsies, craftsmen and bullfighters, Triana is nestled between the Guadalquivir and the Alfonso XIII Canal, west of the historic centre.
It is accessed via two bridges. El Puente Isabel II, which leads to Calle San Jacinto and the Castillo de San Jorge, which was transformed into a museum, was once the seat of the Inquisition. The San Telmo bridge leads to the Plaza de Cuba and its metro station from the Puerta de Jerez.
Between these two bridges, Calle Betis is the meeting place of youth, famous for its terraces and tapas bars. It runs along the canal Alphonse XIII.
Since Roman times, Triana has always been inhabited by many ceramic craftsmen. The first Sevillian ceramics and earthenware were created in the local workshops. One of the most famous of these workshops is that of the Ceramica de Santa Ana in San Jorge Street.
As a continuation of Triana,’ Los Remedios’ is a rather bourgeois and conservative residential district in which Calle Asunción, which runs from the Parque de los Principes to the Plaza de Cuba, is as commercial as Calle Sierpes in the historical centre. The Feria de Abril takes place in this district with its many terraced cafés and restaurants.
Situated right next to the historical and modern centre, the Macarena district stretches from Plaza los Terceros to the Ronda Urbana Norte ring road.
In its area, the most venerated image of the city, the Virgin of Macarena enclosed in the Basilica of Chancla or the 13th century San Gil Abad church with its Mudejar tower and baroque bell tower.
Near the market of Calle Feria, almost as commercial as Calle San Luis, lies Plaza Calderón de la Barca, the palace of the Marquis de l’ Algaba, a fine example of Mudéjar civil architecture. A little further on, the Gothic-Mudejar style Palazzo de las Dueñas is classified as a place of cultural interest.
Next door and complementary, the’ Alameda’ and its two columns, one of which bears a statue of Hercules, a small, pleasant and quiet working class district that comes to life at night.
The square is a must-see meeting place for outdoor public concerts that fill the terraces of the many tapas bars in the surrounding area.
Monuments of Seville
Real Alcázar of Seville
Built by the Moors in the 9th century on an ancient Romano-Wisigoth site, the Alcázar, having undergone numerous transformations over the centuries, retains only a few elements of this period.
The Palace of Peter I, rebuilt from the ancient Almohad castle to become a royal residence in the 14th century, is the most important building.
Unavoidable, the gardens of the Alcázar, typically Sevillian, with their Islamic, Renaissance and romantic influences, are a true oasis of freshness and calm in the heart of the city.
Organized in terraces decorated with numerous fountains and pavilions, they offer luxuriant vegetation where a multitude of palm trees and orange trees dominate.
An emblematic monument of Seville, one of the most visited monuments in the world, the Real Alcázar was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
Access: Banderas Patio
Opening hours: every day from 9:30 am to 5 pm, until 7 pm from April to March. Prices: 9,50 €. Reduced rate for retirees and students: 2 €. Free for children under 16, Mondays from 4 pm to 5 pm in winter, from 6 pm to 7 pm in summer.
Cathedral and Giralda of Seville
They are also indivisible from each other as were the great mosque and its minaret in their time, on whose sites these two buildings to the glory of Christianity were erected.
From the ancient great mosque of the XIIth century, there remains the minaret, better known under the name of’ La Giralda’ because of the weather vane which thrones on its summit, the Court of Ablutions and the current gate of the Pardon.
The Giraldillo, an astonishing hollow weather vane with a height of 4 metres and a weight of 1300 kg, has been adorning the Giralda since 1564. The tombs of Alfonso X and his mother Beatrice de Suave and the remains of Ferdinand III are enclosed in the Plateresque Royal Chapel.
Access: Puerta de San Cristóbal.
Opening hours: July – August: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm. In winter from Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 5:30 pm; on Sundays from 2:30 pm to 6 pm.
Admission: 9 €, students – 26 years old and retired: 3 €. Free for children under 16.
Basilica of Macarena
The Basilica houses one of the most venerated sacred images of the city, that of Santa Maria de la Esperanza, patron saint of the bullfighters.
Popularly called La Macarena, it is said to have been carved in this area in the 17th century by an anonymous artist.
During Holy Week, the Macarena, whose beauty and softness of the face inspire devotion to visitors from all over the world, went out in procession.
The Museum of the Basilica, Tesoro de la Macarena Museum, offers an exhibition on this event and the processional accessories that accompany it.
Access: Calle Bécquer, 1.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm. The entrance to the basilica is free, for the museum: 5 €.
Plaza de España
Designed for the Great Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, the Plaza de España de Seville, inaugurated by Alfonso XIII on this occasion, is certainly one of the most breathtaking places in Andalusia.
Located to the northeast of María Luisa Park, a thousand men participated in its construction, which began in 1914 and will be completed 14 years later in 1928.
Along it, a canal spanning four bridges representing the ancient Kingdoms of Spain evokes the Spanish unity. In the centre, high arcades dominate the busts of illustrious Spanishmen; its wings, flanked by an 80-metre-high tower, are flanked by a series of jaded benches and ornaments symbolising 48 of the 50 Spanish provinces.
For moviegoers, this famous square served as a backdrop for scenes from Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars: Episode II – The Clone Attack.
Access: Plaza de España. Bus: C1, C2, C3, C3, C4, n° 1, n° 5 and n° 34. By tramway with line 1.
San Salvador Church
Located in the district of Alfala, the Church of San Salvador whose construction began in the XVIIth century is the largest church of the city after the Cathedral of Seville.
It was erected on the site of the Ibn Adabbas Mosque, which was the first large mosque in Seville, built on a site that saw a Roman temple followed by a Visigothic Paleo-Christian basilica.
Access: Plaza del Salvador. Opening hours: July – August from Monday to Saturday from 11.30am to 5.30pm, Sundays from 3pm to 7pm. Admission: € 4
Plaza de Toros. Seville arenas.
The’ Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla’, more popularly known as’ La Maestranza’, is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River in the western part of the historic old town.
Begun in 1761, the construction of the Maeztranza, appreciated for its architectural qualities of post baroque style with classical neo-classical points, will last 120 years.
El Ruedo’ and its ochre sand from the quarries of Alcalá de Guadaira, have had the prestige and will still have it, to see the greatest names of Spanish bullfighting succeed one another.
Under the bleachers, a museum, which also has oil paintings from the 18th to the 20th century, tells the history and evolution of Spanish bullfighting through four thematic rooms.
Access: Paseo de Cristóbal Colón.
Taurin Museum opening hours: every day including public holidays from 9:30 am to 7 pm. Admission: 7 €. Discounted rates for students and retirees: 4 €, children from 7 to 11 years old: 3 €.
Conceived in the 15th century by Diego de Riaño and restored in the 19th century in a neoclassical style, the Seville City Hall, with its facade covered with reliefs representing mythical or historical figures such as Hercules or Julius Caesar, is one of the most beautiful examples of Plateresque art in the city.
Access: Plaza Nueva. Guided tours from Monday to Thursday from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Saturday at 10 am, 4 €.
Maria Luisa Park
Designed by the French landscape gardener Jean-Claude Forestier for the 1929 Latin American Exhibition, the Gardens of Maria Luisa are the largest urban park in Seville.
The gardens are decorated with 3500 varieties of trees, fountains and basins, several monuments, squares and gazebos paying homage to the great names of Spanish literature.
The Park houses 2 museums located on the Plaza América: the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions and the Archaeological Museum.
Open from September 16 to June 15, Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 8:30 pm, until 3:30 pm on Sundays, public holidays and from June 16 to September 15. Admission 1,50 € and free for EU nationals.
Access: Avenida Maria Luisa. Bus: C1, C2,6,34.
Gardens of Murillo and Paseo de Catalina de Ribera
Along with the Paseo de Catalina de Ribera, the Gardens of Murillo form a vast complex stretching between the Santa Cruz district and the walls of the Alcázar.
Created in 1898, the Paseo de Catalina is a very pleasant place of passage, while next to it,’ Los Jardines de Murillo’ presents a more winding architecture.
The 8500 m² of the garden is composed of three main alleys bordered by date palms, fragrant rose laurel bushes and walls covered with azulejos and a monument-fountain created in honour of Christopher Columbus in 1921 for the Seville Exhibition.
Access: Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo. Bus: C3 – C4 – N° 1.
General Archives of India
It is in the former Merchant’s Hall, Casa Lonja, built in 1572, that archives are kept relating to the epic of the Conquistadores and to the plundering of the New World carried out on behalf of the church and the Spanish crown.
Created in 1785, the Indian Archives holds an estimated 90,000 documents accessible only to researchers. You can nevertheless admire and consult some old maps of great historical value.
Access: Avenida de la Constitución, 3. Open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm. From 10 am to 2 pm on Sundays and holidays. Free admission.
Casa de Pilatos
Belonging to the Dukes of Medinacelli, this prototype of the Andalusian palaces, to which a touch of romanticism was added in the 19th century, is one of the most beautiful mansions in the historic quarter of Seville.
The Casa de Pilatos, with its Mudéjar patio, marble columns, statues and busts from the ancient world, art galleries and gardens, was declared a national monument in 1931.
Access: Plaza de Pilatos, 1.
Guided tours of the ground floor every day from 9 am to 6 pm. Admission: 8 €, Ground floor only: 6 €.
Museum of Castillo de San Jorge
The Castillo de San Jorge, seat of the Spanish Inquisition several times between 1481 and 1785, was built during the Almohad period in the 10th century.
Inaugurated in 2009, the Castillo de San Jorge Interpretation Centre is both a museum and a space for reflection on the Inquisition, a controversial period in Spanish history spanning three centuries.
Access: Plaza de Altozano. Triana district.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 1.30 pm and then from 5.30 pm to 7 pm Sundays and holidays from 10 am to 1:30 pm
Museum of Fine Arts
Housed in the former convent of the Merced Calzada, a 17th century building with patios and fountains, the museum offers works ranging from the Gothic to the 20th century.
The Greco, Velázquez, Pacheco, Zurbarán, Goya to name but a few, as well as some famous sculptors are on display. Didactic, the museum has installed panels recalling the history of art and its different styles.
Access: Plaza del Museo, 9. Bus: C3 and C5, N° 6 and N° 43.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 7:30 pm from September to May. From 10 am to 3 pm on Sundays, public holidays and from June to September.
Las Setas de Sevilla, Metropol Parasol
The Metropol Parasol, popularly called for their form’ Las Setas’, the mushrooms, is endowed with an archaeological museum, the Antiquarium, commercial premises and the new market of Encarnación.
Inaugurated in 2011, the Antiquarium Archaeological Museum, located in Metropol’s basement, tells the story of the city. From the 1st to the 5th century, you can admire mosaics of various Roman houses and a three-metre fresco.
A second space corresponds to the Andalusian era of Seville from the 12th and 13th centuries, the Middle Ages and modern and contemporary eras.
Access: Plaza de la Encarnación. Bus: 27 and 32. Bus M stop Campana.
Open Sunday to Thursday from 10:30 am to 11:45 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 am to 12:45 am. Admission: 3 €.
Triana Ceramic Centre
Located in an old ceramic factory, El Centro de la Cerámica de Triana is dedicated to presenting the history of this traditional craft.
The centre offers a permanent exhibition of pottery kilns, some of which date back to the 16th century, as well as captioned photos of the main ceramic factories and advertising panels. The visit retraces all the stages of the manufacturing process from the creation of the object to the ceramic painting workshops.
Access: Calle San Jorge, 31. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and 3 pm to 8 pm. Sundays and holidays from 10 am to 3 pm. Admission: 2,10 €.
Museum Christina Hoyos Flamenca Dance Museum
Located in the heart of downtown in a 17th-century building in the Santa Cruz district, this museum dedicated to flamenco dance was initiated by Cristina Hoyos, a Sevillan flamenco dancer with a talented international career.
At the same time educational and multilingual, the museum offers flamenco shows and film projections, workshops, photo exhibitions, stage clothing, various objects and a dance school.
Access: Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos, 3. Open every day from 10 am to 7 pm. Adults: 10 €, students: 8 €, children: 6 €. Regular shows at 7 pm: 20 €, 24 € with admission to the museum.
VISIT OF THE ALACAZAR
ON THE GUADALQUIVIR