Seville – Largest Historical Centres of Europe - The Traveller


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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seville – Largest Historical Centres of Europe

Seville was founded by Hercules and its origin was linked with Tartessian civilization. It lies on the banks of the Guadalquiver River and is one of the largest historical centres in Europe. It is locally a Spanish city, the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia as well as the province of Seville.

The inhabitants of this city are known as sevillianos/sevillanas or hispalenses, called after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. In 2011, this city had a municipal population of around 703,000 and a metropolitan population of around 1.5 million which has made it the fourth largest city in Spain as well as the 30th most popular municipality in the European Union.

Three UNESCO Heritage Sites

It has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in its Old Town namely the Alcazar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies, where the historical records of the American continent are kept, the Fine Art Museum, one of the second largest picture gallery in Spain besides convents, parish churches and palaces.

The minaret of La Giralda, the cathedral is one of the largest in Christendom and part of the treasure includes Casa de Pilatos, Torre del Oro and the Town Hall. To visit the old city with the Cathedral and the Giralda tower, one can climb the steps inside the tower for a great view of the city.

Close to it is the royal Mudejar palace with beautiful gardens with the Santa Cruz quarter having cramped streets, flowered balconies with richly decorated facades and hidden patios. It has a harbour which is located about 80 km from the Atlantic Ocean and is the only river port in Spain.

The quarter of Triana on the other end of the river, La Macarena, Santa Cruz and San Bartolome, the street of Las Sierpes, and La Maestranza bullring, together with Maria Luisa part and the riverside walk are all the images of Seville.

A Joyous Town with Impressive History

Seville is universally considered being a joyous town with all its important monuments and impressive history and is the largest town in Southern Spain, the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro. The people of Seville are known for their wit and sparkle while the city is full of vitality.

 Moreover, the Sevillians are known to be great actors with their extraordinary performance at their annual Feria de Abril which is a weeklong event with food, drink and dance that takes place day and night in over a thousand especially mounted tents for this occasion.

Besides this, it enables men to parade on fine horses while the women dance in their brilliantly coloured gypsy dresses to the tune of the music. During the Holy week, Semana Santa, a religious festival is held where hooded penitents march along in long processions followed by large baroque floats on which is mounted the image of Christ or the Virgin amidst a crowd of cheerful Sevillians.

Some of the sights which should not be missed in the old city, are the Casa de Pilatos which has a large sixteenth century mansion that blends with the Mudejar, Renaissance and Gothic styles, harmoniously with exuberant patios and gardens.

Crossing of the Triana Bridge over the large Guadaquiver River and the lively quarter of Triana with its charming narrow streets all around the church of Santa Ann together with the traditional ceramic factories are worth exploring.

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