Situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville has a rich Moorish heritage, and used to be a prosperous port that carried out trade with the Americas.The streets and squares in the historic quarter of the capital of Andalusia are lively and busy. They treasure many constructions that have the World Heritage designation, and many districts are full of traditional culture, like Triana and La Macarena.
Seville is a prominent business and service centre in the south of Spain and has many hotels distributed all over the city which enable visitors to discover endless attractions. Museums and art centres, theme parks, cinemas, theatres and clubs are some of the many leisure options that a great city like Seville holds. Without forgetting, of course, the numerous terraces, inns and bars where visitors can practise one of the most deeply-rooted and tasty traditions in the city: “Going out for tapas”.
Many civilisations have come and gone in the city of Seville. The Tartessians founded Hispalis, and the Romans built the famous Itálica next to it in 207 BC.Founded by General Scipio, two Roman emperors were born there: Trajan and Adrian. The long presence of the Moors, from 711 to 1248 AD, left permanent imprints on the city. The end of the Caliphate of Cordoba (11th century) brought about the splendour of the Taifa Kingdom of Seville, especially under the reign of al-Mutamid, the poet king.
The years of highest splendour in Seville happened after the discovery of America. During the 16th and 17th century its port was one of the most important in Spain, because it had the monopoly of the foreign trade by sea. Thanks to the trade carried out during that period in Seville, many mansions, stately homes, churches and convents were built.
The main monuments in town – the cathedral, the Reales Alcázares Palace and the General Archive of the Indies – have the UNESCO World Heritage designation. The Gothic cathedral stands in the white-washed Santa Cruz neighbourhood, built on the Almohad Great Mosque of Seville. Some of the Moorish elements still remain – the old minaret, which is the famous Giralda, and the Orange Tree Courtyard.
Next to the cathedral you can find the Reales Alcázares Palace, which is also built on the site of a 9th-century Moorish fortress, but it was Pedro I the Cruel (14th century) who introduced the Mudejar decoration. Many rooms, magnificent halls and romantic courtyards are enclosed behind the walls. Vast gardens, with Moorish and Renaissance elements, surround the building.
The other monument, the General Archive of the Indies takes us to Spanish Renaissance art. It is one of Europe’s most important document centres relating to the conquest of the New World. Another important Renaissance construction in the city is the Casa de Pilatos house, a palace which combines Gothic and Mudejar elements with imported Italian Renaissance details.
A real treat for the palate
The best place to taste the typical food in Seville is probably in the bars in the historic quarter and in the districts of Triana and La Macarena, where you can enjoy a range of delicious tapas. There is a wide variety of tapas available, but whatever you choose, we recommend washing it down with a cold beer, or “fino” or “manzanilla” sherry.
When you order tapas, we suggest ordering a range of flavours, to try as many as possible. Typical tapas are made of cured meats (Iberian ham, Iberian cured pork sausage…), seasoned food (olives, papas aliñás – seasoned potatoes, garlic prawns…), fried fish (anchovies, marinated dogfish, puntillitas – small squid…), montaditos (small toasted sandwiches), potato omelette and kebabs. And if you go to Seville in the hottest months, don’t forget to ask for gazpacho (cold soup, made mainly with tomatoes), which is very tasty and refreshing.