We’ve been itching to visit other areas of Spain and Sevilla was at the top of that list. Sevilla (Seville in English) is the fourth largest city in Spain and the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia on the southern coast of Spain. The Moors ruled in Andalusia for 800 years and their influence is stronger there than anywhere else in Spain. It is reflected in the food, the culture and the architecture. The extravagantly detailed Mudéjar style is especially striking. (Mudéjar is the term used for muslim Moors that remained in Spain after the Christians reconquered the area.)
Tile work typical of the Mudéjar style of architecture in the Plaza de Espana.
When we realized that we could get to Sevilla in just 4 hours on the train, we didn’t hesitate. We really want to spend time there in the spring, but we just couldn’t wait that long to see what Sevilla was like. Sevilla may be known for its hot dry summers, but apparently they get plenty of rain in the winter. It rained every day we were there, but that didn’t stop us from experiencing Sevilla’s charm. We also discovered some fantastic restaurants, which I’ll share with you next week.
Here are some of the highlights of Sevilla:
Remaining sections of the old city walls that once surrounded Sevilla. These walls were built during Moorish rule in the 12th century.
La Macarena: Named for the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza Macarena (Our Lady of Hope Macarena). Just try walking through this historic neighborhood without “Hey, Macarena!” popping into your head. I couldn’t do it.
Las Setas (officially named the Metropol Parasol) built in old quarter of Sevilla in 2011. Claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world.
The river Guadalquivir runs through Sevilla. Most of the historic sights lie on the east side of the river. Also on the east side of the river, a long walking path offers a great spot for a long scenic run, walk, or bike ride.
Fishermen lined up along the river. Very organized and very serious! I wonder what they are catching?
The Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) was built in the 13th century as a watchtower over the river. From here you can catch a river cruise to see city from the river banks. The harbor of Sevilla is the only river port in Spain.
The grand Plaza de Espana, built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Today these are mostly government buildings and museums.
A horse-drawn carriage ride is a popular way to see the Plaza de Espana and the Parque de Maria Luisa.
The Fountain of the Lions, installed in the Maria Luisa Park in 1928. This lush 100 acre park stretches between the Plaza de Espana and the Plaza de America.
There are many grand fountains in the Maria Luisa Park, but the whimsy of the Fountain of the Frogs made it my favorite.
The Museum of Arts and Traditions in the Mudéjar Pavilion (built in 1914) sits across from the Plaza de America
White pigeons in the Plaza de America. The birds were a gift from the Philippines for the 1929 Exposition. For just 1.50 euro, you can buy a packet of food to feed them.
The Seville Cathedral, built during the 15th century, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Inside is the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
The bell tower of the Seville Cathedral is named La Giralda. It was the minaret of a former mosque built in the 12th century.
Restaurants and tapas bars line the streets in the historic city center of Sevilla. Tapas crawling from bar to bar is a way of life.
The historic city center is a spider web of tiny streets like this one that will drive you and your GPS Navigation app nuts. But then, how lost could you really get?