Our armchair travels have taken us into Spain and our first stop here is Seville. This city is the capital of the Andalusia region in southern Spain. This is the place to visit to see some really intense flamenco dancing. The city has many architectural marvels, impressive cathedrals and Christopher Columbus’ tomb.
The Alamillo Bridge spans the Guadalquivir River, the main river flowing through Seville. This magnificent bridge is the creation of Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish arhitect, who had it built in his trade-mark bright white color. It is a cable-stayed bridge with a 200m long span. One of the bridges most impressive highlights is the 142m tall pylon that slants gracefully at an angle of 68 degrees. The bridge is located just north of Seville’s historic center and can be best seen from the banks of the San Jeronimo Park. It looks lovely at night when it’s illuminated.
Impressive is Alcazar built in the 1300s and has now become a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fort has been reconstruscted many times through the centuries. In the 11th century Seville’s wealthy Muslim taifa or small kingdom rulers developed the original fort and built a palace called Al-Muwarak or the Blessed in what is today the western part of the Alcazar. Another palace was added by the Almohad rulers in the 12th century and between the years 1364 and 1366 Pedro I created what is known as the Alcazar’s crown jewel – Mudejar Palacio de Don Pedro. All of the patios and palaces are a sight to behold and a delight to the eye with many treasures to view. After you have feasted you eyes on all the beauty here take some time to step out into the gardens. These are small linked gardens with pools and fountains.
Quite a sight to behold is Seville’s cathedral, which is officially the biggest in the world by volume and is majestic indeed. It stands on the site of the great 12th century Almohad mosque along with the mosque’s minaret the Giralda still there beside it today. The Giralda is a 104m decorative brick tower located on the northeastern side of the cathedral. At the very top of the Giralda is a 16th century bronze weathervane that represents “faith” and has become a symbol of the city. You’ll find the entrance to the Giralda inside of the cathedral. The climb to the belfry is an easy one as a series of ramps goes upwards and were built so that guards could ride all the way up on horseback.
Many rooms and many treasures to see and the one thing many visitors come to see is the monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus found inside the Door of the Princes.
The place to go in Seville for a breath of fresh air and to do some relaxing is Maria Luisa Park. Here there are shady paths beneath tall trees and duck ponds. Lovely flowers to adore as well. Within the park is Plaza de Espana that has fountains and mini-canals and you can hire a row boat to go through the canals. The plaza’s central structure has two tall towers at each end which are connected by a long colonnaded gallery. In the center of the plaza is a large central fountain. All of this is surrounded by a canal and lovely bridges with a wide promenade.
At the south end of the park is the Provincial Archeological Museum with magnificent Roman sculptures and mosaics. There is also a room full of gold jewelry from the mysterious Tartessos culture. Opposite is the Museum of Arts and Traditions.
A most photographed landmark in Seville is the Golden Tower located at a wide promenade near the river bank near the historic center of the city. This tower comes from the Almohades, a Moorish dynasty. The watch tower was built about 1220 by order of Governor Abu Eola. Today this tower is home to a naval museum that displays a collection of the city’s maritime history and its connection to the New World. The reason it’s called the Gold Tower is that at one time gilded ceramic tiles decorated it or this was the place where gold was originally unloaded.
A place to see in the city is Triana the bustling old quarter found on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River and connected to the city by the iconic bridge of Isabell II or Puente de Triana. At one time this was known as the gypsy neighborhood but as it expanded it now includes many charming paved streets, ceramic shops, lovely churches, interesting tapas bars and wonderful traditions. Here you can also meet impressive bullfighters and passionate Flamenco singer and dancers. This is the neighborhood to visit for a true traditional feel of the heart of Seville. Walk along the street Calle Betis lined with many different restaurants, bars and clubs and fantastic views of Seville from the waterfront. The neighborhood is particularly vibrant during the Seville Fair held each year two weeks after Easter holy week.
A sight to behold is the Metropole Parasol created by German architect Jurgen Mayer H. You’ll find this architectural marvel in Plaza de la Encarnacion, one of Seville’s traditional shopping squares. This just might be the largest wooden building in the world with a honeycombed roof that is supported by five giant mushroom-like pillars. This is home to the Antiquarium Museum and on level two you can take a walk along a panoramic walkway with awesome views of the city. Inside is also a former market that was on the plaza, a restaurant and a concert space.
Just some highlights of Seville a city worth visiting and exploring.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/seville