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.
It 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…nor sampling the local finos and manzanillas
…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…
…or two weeks later, the sumptuous exhilaration of the April Fair (Feria de abril)……you will not be disappointed.