The temperamental Spanish city of Seville, located in one of the most interesting ancient provinces of Andalusia, is today a center of tourism: every year thousands of visitors come to this land to see the multifaceted attractions of Seville. The city’s vibrant, colorful and hot-tempered streets are filled with authentic beauty in just about every corner: the maze of streets offer shops with fans, colorful robes and castanets, the famous arena offers a spectacular bullfight, and the cultural venues offer a fascinating flamenco dance scene. There’s also plenty to see in Seville, with elegant palaces, monuments, historic museums and monumental cathedrals shaping much of the architecture of the city.
While in Seville, it’s not always easy for someone who’s lucky enough to find all the things to see. Choosing what to see in Seville in 1 day, you should start from the heart of the city, its historical part. An overview of the most interesting places in this article will help you form and organize your plan for your future trip to multicolored Seville.
Opening the ranking is the central location in Seville, the stunningly beautiful Plaza Espana. It is not only a popular vacation spot, but also a kind of symbol of the city. Originally the square was intended for the world Ibero-American exhibition, which was so important for the country that a whole architectural complex reflecting the social and economic progress of Spain was built for it. Externally, the square is shaped like a semi-circle, around which there is a canal with tracery bridges thrown over it. In the center of the square a huge fountain is organized, divided by bridges into 4 sections according to the number of ancient kingdoms of Spain.
Official website: http://www.andalucia.org
A real gem among the city’s attractions in Seville is the palace complex of the Alcazar of Seville. In the 10th century, during the Arab domination of the Iberian Peninsula, there was already a Roman fortress here. In the 12th century the palace of the Almohads was built on the site of the fortress. A large part of the buildings that have survived to this day were built under King Pedro I. The monarch, being a fan of Moorish style, embodied its features in his constructions. Even today, the openwork Arabesque architecture of the Alcazar of Seville delights the eye with its elegance and lightness of form.
Right by the walls of the Alcazar of Seville is an amazing quarter that concentrates many of the city’s priceless landmarks. The neighborhood was built by Jews who fled Toledo for religious persecution. Stepping into these narrow, ornate streets, it is like stepping back in time: the patio courtyards, historic squares and old Gothic and Baroque churches impress with their beauty and authenticity. The very name of the quarter came from the name of the square located here and decorated with a beautiful finely forged cross.
In contrast to the tranquil silence of the Santa Cruz neighborhood, the Triana is noisy, lively and somewhat chaotic. This neighborhood also has a rich history and its noisy atmosphere is inherited from its original inhabitants, who were once inhabited by temperamental flamenco dancers and gypsy communities. A trip to Triana should not miss out on its main attractions, such as the colorful food market, the pottery center, the cathedral, the old bar and the Betis street that runs along the Guadalquivir river.
The real pride of any tour in Seville is the cathedral, stunning in its size and grandeur. A site not to be missed in Seville, its size and the tomb of Christopher Columbus are remarkable. The building of the cathedral was founded in the 15th century, in the place where before that, since the Reconquista, there was an Arab mosque. The great shrine has absorbed a number of architectural styles, but the predominant one is Gothic. The interior decoration is also strikingly splendid, the colored stained glass windows, the huge chapel with a flaming vault, the sculptures of the iconostasis on the subjects of the Gospel are worthy of special attention.
Official website: http://www.catedraldesevilla
The Giralda Tower, almost one hundred meters high, towers majestically above the other buildings in the historic center of Seville. The Arab structure, which dates to the 12th century, is now the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville and was once a minaret attached to the Mosque of Seville in Moorish times. The three-tiered tower has an openwork stone pattern on the outside, the interior is covered by elevators and there is a 24-bell carillon at the top. The entire grandiose structure is crowned by a rotating Giraldillo weathervane statue, symbolizing the triumph of faith.
A particularly significant local landmark in Spain, the Basilica de la Macarena is known for the face of the Blessed Virgin of Macarena, long revered throughout the country. Every year at the beginning of Holy Week, the sacred image is taken out of the temple and members of the brotherhood parade with it through the streets of the city. The basilica itself is relatively young - its construction was completed in the middle of the last century. However, the main sacred thing of the temple - the statue of the Virgin Mary - is really ancient, so much so that even the name of the master who created this image is unknown. The collection of religious objects housed in the temple is also highly prized.
The 17th-century Church of the Redeemer is located in the square of the same name in the old center of Seville. Over time, a century later, it was decided to renovate the church and it acquired a new architectural look in the Churrigueresque style. This style originated with a talented family of architects, bearing the Churriguer family name, in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was the trends introduced by the Churrigueras in the decoration of the structures that brought some important details to the Baroque style. The temple is attractive not only because of the splendor of its facade, but also because of the beautiful gilded altar, the light painted ceilings and the walls that convey important religious themes.
When choosing what to visit in Seville, another building in its old city worth considering is the former 17th-century hospital. In those days, a religious fraternity established a home for the elderly and sick ministers of the church. Later the house was converted into a hospital, and a small but very beautiful church was added to it, the interior walls of which were painted by famous Spanish artists. Until our days, this complex has retained its former splendor and beauty of Baroque architecture. Beginning in the 19th century, due to financial constraints, the hospital fell into decline and in the 80-90s of the last century the building was restored and since then has been home to the Cultural Foundation of Seville.
Official website: http://www.fundacionfocus.com
The Golden Tower is another famous symbol of Seville, due to its rich history, its unusual architecture and the fact that it is one of the few structures built during the Moorish rule. It was originally a watchtower and after the Spanish conquest of the city it was used for other purposes, such as storage, maritime offices and even a prison. Today the maritime museum occupies all the tower’s rooms. With the search, where to go in Seville, travelers do not have a question - 37-meter tower towers above the low buildings of the city, and its spire already attracts attention from afar.
Official website: http://www.visitasevilla
The most important art gallery in Spain, the Museum of Fine Arts, located in the historic center of Seville in Museo de la Merced, has made its glorious contribution to world culture. The museum was originally located on the same site in the building of an ancient monastery, but a fire in 1810 destroyed almost all the buildings and 15 years later it was rebuilt almost from scratch in the Classical style. Initially, museum’s funds were filled with exhibits from nearby churches and monasteries, so the core of the exposition consists of religious items. Today, along with them, the collection includes masterpieces of painting from the 15th to the 20th century, created by renowned Spanish artists.
Nowadays this institution is considered one of the most important archaeological museums in the world. The Archaeological Museum of Seville was opened in the middle of the 19th century, and the reason for its opening was simple: it was necessary to have somewhere to store the valuables and relics left by the abolition of some Seville monasteries. As the collection grew over time, it needed more space, and in the 1920s a new museum building was erected, the Renaissance Pavilion in Maria Luisa Park. The most ancient exhibits on display are from the Paleolithic period - objects of culture, everyday life and various testimonies of the presence of Greeks, Carthaginians, Visigoths, Arabs and other ancient nationalities on the Spanish peninsula.
A splendid example of Baroque architecture is the Palacio de San Telmo. Once built by a talented local architect in the late 17th century, the palace housed a seminary for sailors. The palace was named after St. Telmo, the patron saint of all sailors. Later the seminary was closed and the palace passed from one owner to another several times until it became the official residence of the president of the Andalusian Autonomous Community. Reviews indicate that the most eye-catching part of the palace is the most opulent part, its main portal, lavishly decorated in the Churrigueresque style. The facade is adorned with figures of 12 famous figures in Seville’s history.
Official website: http://www.andalucia
One of the most beloved palaces of Seville by tourists is the House of Pilate, which is the best example of Spanish architecture, combining Arab Mudejar and Spanish Renaissance. The beginning of the history of the palace dates back to the end of the 15th century, when the royal administrator had the idea of building his own palace. Later, his son, impressed by a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and a cultural trip to Italy, began to work on giving the palace a unique thematic appearance. Antique statues, graceful two-tiered arcades topped with Mudejar decorations, a beautiful fountain and other elements of decoration, together create a unique and attractive appearance of the palace.
Official website: http://en.fundacionmedinaceli
Any guide in Seville will confirm that the City Hall building is one of the most beautiful in the city, and having seen it, everyone will understand that. The relief facade of the Plateresque structure is richly decorated with stucco, the motifs of which convey different mythological plots - you can consider them for a long time and with rapture. The bas-reliefs are so finely carved that you have to look closely at every detail. The town hall was built in the 16th century in honor of the wedding of the Castilian king, and since then it has always been the seat of the city administration.
Another interesting institution in Seville is the repository of Spain’s most valuable documents. This is the Archive of the Indies, originally erected in the 16th century to house a trading exchange. Until then, trading activities were carried out in the courtyard of the Cathedral, but with the introduction of a ban on trading in holy places it became necessary to erect a building designed for this purpose. This is how the Indies Archive building came to be - however, two centuries later, instead of trading, it was used to hold meetings of the Academy of Arts, and a few years later it was decided to have an archive. Today, the Spanish Renaissance building houses the country’s most important historical documents.
Official website: http://www.mecd.gob.
The Royal Tobacco Factory is one of Seville’s best attractions because thousands of Seville women once made cigars for Europe and the rest of the world here, and Carmen was staged in the factory square. The factory was built by a Dutch military architect, which is why its facade looks so restrained and the moat dug around the perimeter gives it a semblance of a military fortress. And the factory itself was once under armed guard. Today, the spacious buildings house the University of Seville.
Official website: http://www.us.es/eng
The Maestranza Arena is considered to be the most popular of the Spanish bullfighting arenas. From spring to fall a spectacular spectacle takes place here: extreme bullfights. It was in this arena that the first matador once fought a bull unarmed, and it is since Maestranza that all arenas, which previously had a rectangular shape, have become circular. The monumental ring of the Seville arena impresses by its mere appearance and size - it holds about 14 thousand spectators. Not surprisingly, the construction of the Maestranza took more than a hundred years, being completed by the end of the 19th century. Next to the arena is a chapel for the bullfighters’ prayers before the fight, and an infirmary for those injured in the course of the battle.
Official website: http://www.realmaestranza.com
Uninformed tourists seeing the Parasol Metropole for the first time immediately have a question - what is this futuristic structure? It was once the site of a city market, which was later demolished, and the ruins of Roman structures were discovered during the demolition process. The work of a German architect won the competition to create a new architectural design, and it was brought to life. Metropolis is divided into several levels; the lowest of them is a museum with Roman ruins, the next level is a marketplace, on the roof of the marketplace there is an area for events, and the top level is an observation terrace. The location of the Metropole near a number of hotels in Seville makes this all-in-one attraction particularly popular with visitors.
As a result of Spain’s active preparations for the International Expo held in 1992, a new spectacular attraction has appeared in the country: the Alamillo cable-stayed bridge that connects Seville to the island of Cartuja. It is a masterpiece in the style of constructivism that became the inspiration for many suspension bridges later built in various places around the world. Its main architectural feature is that the 200-meter-long canvas of the bridge is supported by one strong pylon, connected to the canvas by a network of cables. Thus the bridge with its snow-white pylon, as if soaring upward, became a symbol of Seville’s striving for development and progress.
Authentic little Seville has a small footprint, and once in its historic center, you can explore Seville’s main attractions briefly without spending too much time traveling, as almost everything is within walking distance. And with the time savings comes the opportunity to learn more. Listed below you can find more of Seville’s attractions, pictures and descriptions, to help you discover more about this Spanish city step by step.
The largest urban theme park in Europe is located on the island of Cartuja, in a spacious area of 36 hectares. Magnificent water rides, fountains, ponds and many other things related to water - all these activities are a true delight not only to young visitors, but also to adults. Numerous theatrical performances, plays and stereo movies, which are held here, follow a single mission - to recreate for visitors the atmosphere of the Middle Ages, when many sought for adventures and great discoveries. There are a total of 8 themed areas in the park, as well as cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Official website: https://www.islamagica
A true masterpiece of garden art, the Murillo Gardens were created by a group of Seville landscapers at the beginning of the last century. The area was once part of Seville’s famous Alcazar palace. Today the picturesque flowered gardens extend over an area of around 9,000 square metres in the heart of the city, with numerous pathways in the shade and splendid fountains sprinkling them with life-giving coolness. The abundance of trees, lush bushes and colorful flower gardens creates an atmosphere of peace and comfort, so that you can stroll through the alleys of the garden indefinitely. A famous landmark of the garden is a monument to the famous discoverer Columbus.
The following recommendations refer to another green corner of Seville, Parque María Luisa, which is considered the main park of the city. This very cozy and beautiful park, stretching along the Guadalquivir River, with dozens of picturesque alleys and plenty of greenery and water, gives citizens and visitors a refreshing coolness on the hottest days. The square of the park is also decorated with numerous sculptures, fountains and monuments, and there are carved arbors and ceramic benches for recreation. A favorite place for visitors to the park is Monte Guru Mountain, on which an artificial waterfall has been created.
At the height of spring, the atmosphere of Seville is full of joy in anticipation of the city’s traditional festival, the Seville Fair. This annual festival dates back to the middle of the 19th century, when some resourceful locals decided to add a touch of Spanish merriment to commerce. Since then the Seville Fair has become an annual event, starting on the night of Monday of Easter week and lasting until Sunday. The fun begins with a parade of wagons and bullfighting, with residents dressed in their national costumes. Throughout the week, all sorts of entertainment awaits the participants in the festivities, from rousing dances to wagon rides, and everything ends with a festive fireworks display.
The passionate, vibrant and dramatic Spanish dance, the flamenco, concludes the review. It is not possible to track the origins of flamenco today - it is believed that the tradition of this dance, which appeared in ancient Andalusia, was formed gradually, and the participation of different nationalities and the influence of different times gave the art versatility. Today the flamenco tradition has become an integral part of the Spanish soul, and the dance itself is expressed through three elements - music, singing and dancing. The heart of flamenco is considered the song, which follows certain rules for composing the verses. Despite its long history, flamenco was elevated to the status of art only in the 20s of the last century.
It is in the autonomous region of Andalusia you can see the true Spain in all its glory, Seville is the capital and the real pride of Andalusia. The city of Carmen and passionate flamenco will be remembered for its low ancient buildings in the Mudejar and Baroque styles, with several prominent monuments and towers, romantic parks, buried in verdure and flowers, the tart aroma of citrus fruits and excellent Andalusian wine.
Read also about sights of Madrid and be inspired for your next trip to Spain.