Seville is one of Spain’s gems. It is located in the southwestern part of the country, in a region known as Andalusia. The area is extremely hot and dry during the summer but very comfortable during the majority of the rest of the year.
Seville’s Cathedral is the largest Gothic building in the world, and the third largest church in Europe. Its Moorish bell tower, the Giralda, has become a symbol of the city. The interior of the church displays much beauty and wealth, from the Choir stalls to the gilded Reredos of the Main Chapel, to the Sacristy and the Treasure. A Patio of Orange Trees, similar to the one at La Mezquita offers shade and greenery. Columbus’ grave (no one truly knows if his remains are really here) is also noteworthy.
Nearby is the Barrio Santa Cruz, a charming neighborhood of narrow streets, small picturesque squares, numerous shops and restaurants, that is delightful for strolling and getting lost.
Seville’s Alcazar (castle) is a Moorish palace still used by Spain’s monarch when visiting the city. The architecture is distinctive, especially the extensive use of ceramic tiles, while the gardens are beautiful and tranquil, with pools and shade for refuge during the summer months.
Maria Luisa Park, just south of the city, adjacent to the river, offers a pleasant area of escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Note the beautiful, symmetrical Plaza de Espana and the Plaza de America, both of which contain buildings which blend Moorish and Andalusian architecture.
1. Some will notice the familiarity of the Plaza de Espana. It was used in a scene from Star Wars, Episode II, in which Anakin Skywalker and Princess Amidala stroll, arm in arm. The square is beautiful, although the ravages of time are apparent in that much of the tile on the banisters and elsewhere is cracked or missing. Especially interesting are the benches along the canal which highlight many of Spain’s cities using azulejos (painted tiles).
2. An interesting Seville experience, not to be missed, is a Flamenco show. One of the best can be found at El Arenal, near Seville’s bullring. Sure, it is staged only for tourists, and, as such, is a bit trite and artificial, but the Flamenco is identified with Seville and is a dance which cannot easily be seen outside of this country. The show is a solid 1.75 hours with no intermission and displays colorful and elaborate costumes and excellent dancing..