Seville: the throbbing heart of Spain?

The chance of spending a few days in Seville was too tempting to ignore. Mid-January, cool temperatures, few tourists….but a near certain guarantee of sunshine without the blistering temperatures of the summer. Seville is one of my favourite cities in Spain.

CIMG9729It not only has a jaw-dropping past to discover, but the result of centuries of Moorish occupation, and the 16th century expansion of the Spanish empire meant that Seville became one of the wealthiest places on earth. And it still shows today.

Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral

The huge, monstrous Gothic Cathedral (3rd largest in Europe) may not be to everyone’s taste, but the arrival of Columbus’ bones 115 years ago (and his dead bones have travelled almost as many miles as when he was alive) reunited Seville with the man who put the city on the map.

Columbus' tomb

Columbus’ tomb

If your taste is for sumptuous Moorish palaces, with exotic tiling, stucco ceilings and huge scented water gardens, then the Real Alcázar needs to be on your itinerary.

Real Alcázar

Real Alcázar

If you want to dig and delve into Spain’s expansion across the Atlantic and, indeed, across the Pacific to the Phillipines, then you need to pay a visit to the grandiose building that houses the Archive of the Indies.

Archive of the Indies

Archive of the Indies

Nor would a panoramic view of the whole city go amiss. One of the best places is on the terrace of the Golden Tower (Torre de Oro), right next to the River Guadalquivir. One theory about its name is that it was the place where all the gold and silver from the colonies was stored when the galleons arrived from the Americas.

Torre de Oro

Torre de Oro

But a visit to Seville cannot be complete without immersing yourself in the history and the culture of Flamenco, and attending a live flamenco performanceCIMG9791

…nor sampling the local finos and manzanillas

Solomillitos (left), stuffed aubergine (middle), cuttlefish (right)

Solomillitos (left), stuffed aubergine (middle), cuttlefish (right)

…to accompany any of the immense array of tapas decorating the counters of bars and restaurants.

If, perchance, this is still not enough excitement for you, try going to Seville for the Holy Week processions, with their powerful, emotional dirge-like rhythms…

Holy Week: espanglis.wordpress.com

Holy Week: espanglis.wordpress.com

…or two weeks later, the sumptuous exhilaration of the April Fair (Feria de abril)……you will not be disappointed.

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 23, 2014, in Seville and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. It should go on my ‘to do’ list, Frank.

  2. We loved your Spanish extravaganza, especially the wonderful pics,reminding us we need to revisit Espagna before too long. The nearest we got to it last week was one of the best Tapas meals we have had for a long time in Shepherds Bush Rd just off Brook Green, run by delightful Spanish ladies. If you are ever that way we highly recommend it. Thank you too for your appreciation of my lttle offerings: you are at present my one faithful follower Hasta la vista Antonio

  3. Spain is one of my favourite places to visit. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been there. Once you get away from the coasts, and into cities like Seville, you realise what a fascinating country it is. My absolute favourite city in Spain is Granada. Have you been there?

  4. Frank, Spain is the only Western Europe country I have not visited (OK, besides San Marino and Luxemburg and based on this article I need to put it on the list soon.
    Maybe a good spring bicycle destination?

    • Joe, absolutely perfect in the spring….especially if you coincide with the flowering of the orange blossom. Heady stuff!
      But one caveat…..Holy Week and the April Fair (always two weeks after Easter) will see Seville awash with people for several weeks. But then, they are both must-do and must-see events.

  5. Very nice report and the pictures are fantastic! I must say that those Holy Week costumes would not be well received where I live. 🙂 I note a conspicuous absence of cyclists in your descriptions. I’ve only been to Spain once – Madrid – and was surprised at the absence of bicycles on the city streets. Did you see the same thing in Seville?

    • Steve, this was a strictly non-cycling city break but………unlike Madrid, Seville is a very cycle-friendly city, and lots of bikes everywhere. Including a well supported city-bike hire scheme.

  6. I hope you have done some city cycling there Frank?

    The growth of cycling in Seville in the last few years has been spectacular and the city authorities have got behind it. Their red public city bikes are great for pottering about the old city and down by the river.

    • As I said to Steve in a previous comment, this was a strictly non-cycling city break (we have to do these things from time to time!) but we were astonished at how many cyclists we encountered. They have done a lot of work to create the infrastructure, and the city bikes were used a lot.

  7. Great reminders of Seville, and an intro to some unknown bits too. Must go there again. Me gusta muchisimo.

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