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SEVILLE

The Administrative Capital of Andalucia

You are sure to fall in love with Sevilles and its narrow, winding, medieval lanes and romantic, hidden plazas soaked in the scent of orange blossom

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

 

According to legend, Sevilla was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. It was called Hispalis under the Romans and Isbiliya with the Moors. The high point in its history was following the discovery of America in 1492.

 

Sevilla lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir and is one of the largest historical centres in Europe, it has the minaret of La Giralda, the cathedral (one of the largest in Christendom), and the Alcázar Palace. Part of its treasure include Casa de Pilatos, Torre del Oro, the Town Hall, Archive of the Indies (where the historical records of the American continent are kept), the Fine Arts Museum (the second largest picture gallery in Spain) , plus convents, parish churches and palaces.

 

It has hosted two international exhibitions and is the administrative capital of Andalucía. The quarter of Triana on the other side of the river, La Macarena, Santa Cruz and San Bartolomé, the street of Las Sierpes, plus La Maestranza bullring, María Luisa park and the riverside walks are all representative images of Sevilla.

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The Giralda

THE GIRALDA

 

The Cathedral's minaret was the culmination of Almohad architecture and served as a model for those at their imperial capitals of Rabat and Marrakesh. It was used by the Moors both for calling the faithful to prayer (the traditional function of a minaret) and as an observatory, and was so venerated that they wanted to destroy it before the Christian conquest of the city. This they were prevented from doing by the threat of the King Alfonso X that 'if they removed a single stone,  they would all be put the sword'.

 

The Giralda is one of the most magnificent buildings in Seville and dominates the skyline. You can ascend to the bell chamber for a remarkable view of the city, and equally remarkable, a glimpse of the Gothic details of the cathedral's buttresses and statuary. The most impressive of all is the tower's inner construction, series of 35 gently inclining ramps wide enough to allow the passage of two mounted guards.

THE ALCAZAR

 

It's easy to be fooled into thinking this is a Moorish palace, some of the rooms and courtyards seem to come straight from the Alhambra. Most of them were actually built - by Moorish workmen it's true - for King Pedro the Cruel of Castile in the 1360's who, with his mistress Maria de Padilla, lived in and ruled from the Alcazar. Pedro embarked upon a complete rebuilding of the palace, employing workmen from Granada and utilising fragments of earlier Moorish buildings in Seville, Cordoba and Valencia.

 

Pedro's work forms the nucleus of the Alcazar as it is today and, despite numerous restorations necessitated by fires and earth tremors, it offers some of the best surviving examples of Mudejar architecture.

 

Later monarchs, however, have left all too many traces and additions - the most mundane of which are probably the  kitchens constructed for General Franco who stayed in the royal apartments whenever he visited Seville.

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The Alcazar Gardens

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Seville Cathedral

SEVILLE CATHEDRAL

 

Seville's Cathedral occupies the site of a great mosque in the late 12th century. Later, Christian architects added the extra dimension of height. Its central nave rises to an awesome 42 metres and even the side chapels seem tall enough to contain an ordinary church. The total area covers 11,520 square metres and new calculations, based on cubic measurements, have now pushed it in front of Saint Paul's in London and Saint Peter's in Rome, as the largest church in the world.

 

Sheer size and grandeur are, inevitably, the chief characteristics of the Cathedral, but as you grow used to the gloom, two other qualities stand out with equal force - the rhythmic balance and interplay between the parts, and an impressive overall simplicity and restraint in decoration. All successive ages have left monuments of their own wealth and style, but these have been restricted to the two rows of side chapels. In the main body of the cathedral only the great box like structure of the coro stands out, filling the central portion of the nave.

 

The tomb of Christopher Columbus is always of great interest to scholars and tourists alike

 

The climb to the top of the Giralda (mentioned above) is considered well worth the effort for the views alone

BARRIO SANTA CRUZ

 

One of the richest areas of the city, in terms of the sheer number of monuments, is the Barrio Santa Cruz which is very much in character with Seville's romantic image, its streets narrow and torturous to keep out the sun, with houses brilliantly whitewashed and barricaded with iron grilles behind which girls once kept chaste evening rendezvous with their novios. Almost all the houses have patios, often surprisingly large and in summer these become the principal family living room.

 

Wandering round the small squares lined with orange trees, getting lost in the maze of improbably narrow alleys, where the ancient houses lean so far towards each other that they almost seem to touch, and admiring the leafy patios of private mansions through their iron gates, will be one of the best experiences of your visit to Seville. It is incredibly picturesque and full of history and stories, with many old palaces, churches and hidden passageways. There are, predictably, many tourist shops selling typical tourist fare such as inferior quality azulejos (tiles), flamenco dress-style aprons and T-shirts with naff slogans. But there are also some individual, interesting artesan stores.

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Barrio Santa Cruz

COMMON SIGHTS OF SEVILLE

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Opening out onto our colourful Mediterranean gardens, La Hacienda is a beautifully decorated traditional Andalucian cottage with all the comfort of a modern home. Look out for it's original Andalucian features including a high vaulted ceiling, wide windows to take in the view and gorgeous marble staircase. La Hacienda has stunning views and caters for up to 4 people. please click to find out more.

 

 

La Finca is Cortijo Las Olivas' largest cottage and caters for up to 5 people. Opening out onto our colourful Mediterranean courtyard, La Finca boasts a balcony with panoramic views of the mountains, pool and gardens, beautiful marble staircase and fully equipped kitchen, please click to find out more.

Opening out onto our large 'Mountain Spring water pool', La Casita is a quaint little cottage which caters for 2 people. La Casita is open plan and consists of a fully equipped marble topped kitchen, double bed and bright airy shower room.  Perfect for romantic getaways. please click to find out more.