A Step-by-Step Guide To 10 Impressive Facts On Sevilla, Spain – Golfo De Cadiz

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Puerto de Seville, Sevilla, Spain

Spain’s only river port, Seville harbor (or Port of Seville) in Sevilla offers access to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean via the Gibraltar. It is located on Guadalquivir River in Sevilla, Spain. It is the country’s most important inland port as it exports olives, fruit wines, cork and minerals. Its imports include coal, crude oil and metal products. Sevilla is located on the plain of Guadalquivir River which crosses the city from north to south. Guadalquivir can be navigated from Seville all the way to its outlet in Sanlucar de Barrameda, at the Atlantic coast. Seville Harbor played an important role in the trade between the Americas and Spain in the past centuries. It is still today an active river port in the Iberian Peninsula.

Sevilla is on the south of Spain and the capital of Comunidad Autonoma de Andalucia. It has about a million inhabitants, which is almost half of the population of the whole Andalucian province. Located on the banks of Guadalquivir River, Seville has a Moorish heritage. It used to be a thriving port city that carried out business with the Americas. The Tortessians were the 1st settlers of the area which was then called Hispalis. In 207 B.C. the Romans built Italica which was annexed to Hispalis. For 7 centuries, it was the center of trade in the West Mediterranean. Northern barbarians (Moors) defeated the Romans in the 10th century and the long Moorish occupation of Iberian peninsula began from 711-1248 A.D. The Moors made a huge imprint on the culture and heritage of Seville. It was incorporated into the Christian kingdom of Castille under Ferdinand III in 1248. In 1492, Sevilla played a big role in the discovery and conquest of America and eventually the Philippines. It was in this city where the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, after his sworn allegiance to Spain set sail in 1519 for his circumnavigation of the earth and discovering later Las Islas San Lazaro (Philippines). The 17th century saw Sevilla as a time of greatness and splendor. Great artists and sculptors were born like Velasquez who left behind obra maestras to Spain and the world. In 1929, Seville hosted the Latin American Exhibition and in 1992, the image of the city as a dynamic modern center was again boosted because of hosting the Expo ’92.

I first saw Sevilla, Spain in 1994 on board M/T Knock Stocks where we discharged crude oil to the Port of Seville. As a Filipino, setting foot at Sevilla is symbolic since it is on this city where Magellan began his journey to discover my country, the Philippines. It’s like finding a footnote of your country’s (colonial) past. The streets and squares in this historic quarter of Andalucia’s capital are bustling and lively. Sevilla is home to several World Heritage Sites as the result of its Moorish and Roman occupations. The districts are full of traditional culture like Triana. It is a prominent and business center in the south of Spain. Museums, art centers, theme parks, tapas bars are some of the leisure options that Sevilla holds. Throughout the year, it holds many exciting festivals and events which are truly amusing for tourists. A real jewel of Europe, read on the step-by-step guide to the 10 impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain.

Learn Spanish Empire’s History In The Americas & The Philippines At Archivo General De Indias

The Archive of the Indies, established in 1785 is not just a special piece of building but serves as a vault which includes as many as 4 million historical documents of the Spanish empire in the Americas (new world) and the Philippines (Archipelago de San Lazaro). Where it used to be a Merchants’ Exchange Building in 1598, the Archivo General de Indias is a step-by-step guide to one of the impressive facts on Sevilla‘s role in the golden age of Spanish trade and exploration. With over 43,000 files and 8,000 maps, the shelves at the Archives are equivalent to 9 km in length. These include recorded history concerning politics, commerce, art, geography and exploration about Spain’s former colonies from 1492 with Columbus’ voyage to America and on to Magellan‘s journey in 1519 and his discovery of the Philippines in 1521. The archives massive record ended in 1898 when Spain lost control of the Philippines and Cuba. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Archivo General de Indias is the best example of Spanish Renaissance architecture designed by Juan de Herrera.

a section inside the Archivo General de Indias.

Meditate At Sevilla Cathedral, Largest Gothic Church In The World

Sevilla’s masterpiece Church. World’s largest Gothic cathedral and the 3rd largest Church in the world after St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome) and St. Paul’s Cathedral (London). Built between 1434-1517 and replacing a 12th century mosque of the Almohad dynasty, former Moor rulers of Seville. A step-by-step guide to one of the impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain, the highlights of this cathedral include the Giralda bell tower (which was once a minaret), the tomb of Christopher Columbus (found inside the cathedral) and the Capilla Mayor (major chapel) with a staggering gold altarpiece, the gold brought back from the New World during Columbus’ exploration. When the mosque was destroyed by an earthquake in 1356, the local Council of Seville saw the chance to build in its place a grander center of worship, something worthy of the city’s status as the richest in the world during the 14th century. When visiting the Seville Cathedral, take note of its 4 different facades and 15 doors on it. Each facade and door has a distinct decoration and design with an exceptional architectural detail. It also became a World Heritage Site in 1987.

ceiling of Seville Cathedral

tomb of Christopher Columbus

gold altarpiece of the Capilla Mayor

Explore Alcazar, Europe’s Oldest Palace Which Is Still In Use By Spain’s Royals

It’s the oldest palace in Europe that is still in use today by royalties. The Alcazar of Seville, a magnificent union of Christian and Mudejar (Islamic) architecture was once a fort in the 10th century. When the Almohad dynasty (Moor rulers) took over Seville in the 12th century, they rebuilt it into a palace. It became the finest example of Mudejar architecture. After the Christian conquest of Seville in the 1300s it was converted into a royal residence of Spanish kings. The upper floors of Alcazar now serves as the official residence of Spain’s Royal Family in Sevilla. Infanta Elena, (King Felipe’s sister) held her wedding celebrations here in Alcazar. A step-by-step guide to one of the impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain, due to its majestic design, Royal Alcazar has become the favorite location site of film producers and directors. The TV series, Game of Thrones Season V had done filming at Alcazar. In 1987, this romantic palace in Seville became a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Seville Cathedral and the General Archives of the Indies.

Inside Alcazar as setting of the TV blockbuster series Game of Thrones in its season V.

Stroll At Plaza Espania

When it comes to sheer scale and grandeur, it has to be Plaza Epania. Whether you love or hate it, call it fabulous or overly particular…whatever is your point of view, don’t miss this out when you are in Seville. A step-by-step guide to one of the impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain, Plaza Espania once the epicenter for the Spanish-American Exhibition of 1929 is now a tourist attraction. It was built to showcase Seville’s accomplishments in the fine arts and industry with the world. The magnificence of Plaza Espania is of course in its layout. Standing right in the heart of this building and looking in awe at its charm, it seems like the plaza is hugging you. A canal flows in a curve outside the building and it can be crossed by 4 bridges which represent the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain: Castille, Aragon, Navarre and Leon. All along the wall by the canal are 48 alcoves with benches representing the 48 provinces of Spain which are designed in colorful azulejos (painted ceramic tiles and the product of Andalucia). The canal is a tributary of Guadalquivir River. In the days of exploration, all the ships began their journey in Guadalquivir as they started out their journey to the Americas and the Philippines. The canal therefore is a reminder of the glory and grandeur of the Spanish Empire to its former colonies. This obra maestra of Iberian architecture is a mix of Renaissance-Neo Mudejar style with 2 towers at each end representing North and South. Plaza Espania is pointing (semi-circle) in the direction of the new world (Americas) and Philippines which Spain once ruled over. It now houses major government offices in Seville. Plaza Espania was also used in the filming of big Hollywood films like Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and in later years, Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones.

A scene of Star Wars 2: attack of the Clones at Plaza Espania in Seville.

Relive The Soul of Flamenco At Triana District

On the left side of Guadalquivir River and connected to the city center by Puente de Triana, the bridge of Isabel II is the lively old side of Seville- Triana District. A step-by-step guide to one of the impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain, Triana was once a gypsy neighborhood where illustrious “matadors”, intense flamenco singers and dancers as well as early navigators came from. The heart and soul of Seville, Triana is the instagramable waterfront buildings at Calle Betis which is well worth of your time. It’s not only teeming with flamenco spirit but home to the best tapas in the country. In addition to that, it is in Triana where you can find the last breed of true ceramic manufacturers in the south of Spain. They still carry with pride the tradition of ceramic making that dates back to the Roman times. Calle Betis was once the weighing anchor of explorers to the new world. It was in this area where the vessels of Magellan and Elcano were moored before their triumphant circumnavigation around the world.

Inside Triana Market with the name of stalls done in attractive ceramic tiles.

Take Part In Semana Santa, Seville’s Iconic Holy Week Event

A tradition dating back to the 12th century, Semana Santa is a week-long observance of the Holy Week through processions that take over the streets of Seville as a tribute to the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. A step-by-step guide to one of the impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain, during Semana Santa, life-sized religious statues (pasos) are walked in processions with the Catholic faithfuls performing an act of penance. From Palm Sunday to Easter, Sevillanos wear traditional robes to take part in one of the 60 processions. Semana Santa in Seville is a celebration characterized with a solemn and somber occasion, full of color, art and religious ardor.

Celebrate With The Feria De Abril

In spring at Seville, another week-long celebration takes place that draws at least a million people every year. This event is popularly known as “la feria de Abril” (April Fair) which began as a cattle-trading fair in 1847. A step-by-step guide to an impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain febria de Abril has evolved as a celebration of flamenco, el toro fights, and fun throughout the years. It is meant as a tribute to the arrival of spring, a sort of easter event brimming with colors, flamenco music and merriment that mark the end of Semana Santa in Seville. This magnificent week-long street party bring together all the traditions of Andalucia. Local women are dressed in their colorful flamenco costumes. It is when bullfighting season is at its peak, carriages and horses are paraded and everyone around dances Sevillanos (their traditional dance).

Indulge On Tapas

It is believed that Seville is the home of the original “tapas.” A tapa is a small portion of food usually an appetizer in Spanish cuisine. A step-by-step guide to an impressive fact on Sevilla, Spain “tapas” began at a farmer’s bar where waiters serve beer or sherry with a little slice of ham, some olives and cheese. This clever move made customers came back and that started the tradition of tapas. El Rinconcillo is the oldest tapas bar in Seville that dates back to 1670. Full of glazed tiles and the “jamon” (pig’s leg), it is an area not to be missed when you are bar hopping in Sevilla.

Visit Italica, The Birthplace Of Two Roman Emperors

It’s the first city which the Roman Empire has founded outside of Italian territory about 207 B.C. – that is Italica. It saw the birthplace of 2 Roman Emperors: Trajan and Adrian a.k.a. Sevillian emperors of ancient Rome. A step-by-step guide to one of the impressive facts on Sevilla, Spain Italica is a must-see attraction located at the lower Guadalquivir River. Presently referred to as the “archeological ensemble of Italica” tourists can enjoy walking on the old streets and explore the ruins of houses and public buildings. A highlight of your visit to Italica is the well preserved Roman Theater with a seating capacity of 25,000 spectators which used to hold tragic and comedy plays during the Roman period.

Wander At Calle De Los Besos (Street of Kisses) In Barrio Santa Cruz

Barrio Santa Cruz used to be a Jewish quarter. It is a maze of narrow streets and alleys where you can wander around or enjoy tapas in its bars and attractive squares. A step-by-step guide to an impressive fact on Sevilla, Spain Barrio Santa Cruz is not just a unique neighborhood but full of stories and legends as well. The narrowest street, popularly known as Calle de los Besos (Street of Kisses) has only a distance of half a meter between balconies on both sides that the buildings almost touch (or kiss) each other. It’s known that residents greeted each other with kisses from their balconies, hence it is called Calle de los Besos.

“Sevilla, She Has Not Left Me”

If Eva Peron said “Don’t cry for me Argentina”, in Seville, 13th century King Alfonso X The Wise cried : “Sevilla, no mejadejado” (Sevilla, she did not abandon me). NO8DO, Sevilla’s secret code and motto. When King Alfonso X (The Wise) was able to ward off an attack by his son, Sancho while seeking refuge in Seville, he rewarded Spain’s most sunniest city with a motto to celebrate her loyalty – NO8DO, which means (She has not left me). And after 700 centuries, Sevilla still remembers… every day, in every street and corner, even on Tee-shirts- you can see the sign, NO8DO. She has not left me, a history in plain sight, deciphered for the world. A step-by-step guide to an impressive fact on Sevilla, SpainNO8DO, she has indeed not left me.

Romantic city, cultural haven, an engaging metropolis, historical epicenter, tapas capital, UNESCO World Heritage Sites paradise – these are some of the titles that Sevilla holds. A city full of life and possibilities, I would like you to figure them out by yourself one day when the world is ready again for a fun-filled adventure. Vaya con Dios. Coming up is Tarragona, Spain. See you in my next article.

Reference: Wikipedia