Seville was definitely the highlight of our time in southern Spain. The city is full of history, culture, and colour. We were there the week after its giant Semana Santa celebration (which we had a taste of in Málaga) and a week before its April festival. The calm between the storms, one may say. We definitely want to come back to Seville in the future, and I think it would be fun to do so during that festival, mostly so I can see everyone dressed up in their beautiful flamenco outfits!
Below: Neil in front of the Torre del Oro.
The tower was erected in 1220-21 to control traffic entering Seville via the Guadalquivir River. It would have served as an anchor point for a giant chain that would have stretched across the river. Interestingly, for a time Seville was the centre for all Spanish trading activities that were taking place in the New World. The Guadalquivir River was deep enough at the time to serve as a marine thoroughfare. (This is no longer the case). The Torre del Oro (which translates as “Gold Tower”) played an important role in securing the city and the wealth flowing along its waters.
Below: Seville in the 16th century. I think the Torre del Oro is at the far right of the painting. (Photo from Wikipedia).
A contemporary view of the tower and the river from an adjoining bridge.
View of the Triana neighbourhood across the river from the tower.
I loved browsing through the flamenco dress shops. Many flamenco dresses feature floral or polka-dot patterns (my favourite, as my addiction to Cath Kidston can testify). It’s a miracle I made it out of the city without buying a dress of my own! It was ridiculously tempting. Where would I wear it? (You may ask). Where wouldn’t I wear it? (I would answer).
Polka dots, flowers, and pink! Now imagine a festival where everyone is wearing these dresses, and drinking sangria!
This dress! (Please excuse the glare from the window it is behind).
The skirt on the bottom left was my favourite, although I like the black and red polka dot number on the top right as well!
There are also endless accessories you can add to an outfit: fans, flowers to put in your hair, embroidered shawls, decorative hair combs, earrings.
So many hair flowers!
I saw these dresses at a tourist shop that look like they’re made to fit a popular brand of doll. I was seriously tempted to buy one or two, and didn’t. I still kind of wish I had! I’m sure that I could have found good homes for them. (Read: my home).
Do you think I could have gotten my cat to wear this?
We did go to see a flamenco show, which was a lot of fun! The guitar player was phenomenal.
All right, let’s get back to sightseeing! The Alcázar of Seville is a popular and beautiful attraction. Interestingly, it was built after the Christian conquest of Seville in 1248 and on the ruins of a Muslim fortress. If it looks like the Alhambra in Granada, that’s because the Christian rulers who ordered its construction hired Muslim designers who had worked on the Alhambra.
The palace is still the official residence of the Spanish royal family in Seville, and they stay in the upper floors. There is a guided tour available for some of those rooms. Sadly, those tours were all sold out on the day we wanted to go. But there was more than enough to see and be impressed by, even without going on that tour!
The colours and the intricate detail work are stunning.
The Seville Cathedral is a really interesting site to explore. At the time of its completion, in the early 16th century, it was the largest cathedral in the world. It now ranks as third or fourth largest, depending on the criteria. It is the final resting place of Cristóbal Colón, better known in the English-speaking world as Christopher Columbus. His tomb features four men representing the kings/kingdoms of Spain as they existed during his lifetime: Castille, Aragon, Navara, Leon.
The Treasury contains the Crown of the Virgen de los Reyes. The torso of the angel in front of the crown is made up of a pearl— said to be the world’s largest!
A short, but incredible week in Seville. I can’t wait to go back! (Maybe we can swing through on our way back to Canada so I can pick up a dress… what do you think, Neil?)
Note: This is just a quick overview post about our time in Seville. I do plan on writing a few more posts about it in the future, in which I’ll include more pictures and dig into its history more!