Welcome to Seville

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Eleanor McKenzie
Plaza de Espana, Seville

Seville, or Sevilla in Spanish, is not only the capital city of the Andalucía region, it is one of Spain’s most vibrant and cultured cities, as well as a business and financial centre.  Lying on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, it was once a rich port and trading centre with the Americas; it also has a rich Moorish heritage and is the home of flamenco.

Sightseeing

Seville Cathedral

This remarkable building on the Avenida de la Constitución, stands on the site of what was once the Great Mosque, built by Andalucía’s Moorish rulers. It was converted to a Christian building in 1248 and visitors will note the progression of architectural styles as the cathedral was added to over the centuries. Significantly, the remains of Christopher Columbus are buried in the cathedral. It is also the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Giralda Tower

This magnificent bell tower is one of Seville’s most famous landmarks. You’ll find it adjacent to the cathedral. The tower was originally the minaret (a tower from which people are called to prayer) of the mosque. The distinctive El Giradillo weather vane was added in the 16th century. A visit to La Giralda includes the Orange Tree Courtyard, which is in the Arab style and includes a Visigoth pool.

The Alcázar

A royal palace that was once a Moorish fort. Don’t miss what is widely regarded as the most beautiful palace in Spain and an outstanding example of mudéjar architecture; a period of architectural style after Andalucía was returned to Christian rule in 1492, which uses Arab influences. The palace is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the upper levels are still an official residence of the Spanish royal family.

Triana

This district unites old and new Seville. It’s named after the Emperor Trajan and since Roman times, has been a centre of ceramics. The area is also strongly associated with flamenco and bull fighting.

 

Metro Parasol and Plaza de España

Metro Parasol and Plaza de España

These are two outdoor attractions that visitors shouldn’t miss. The first is a wooden construction in La Encarnación square and the plaza is in the Parque de Mariá Luisa. Some of star Wars was filmed in it.

Andalucía Contemporary Art Centre

Housed in a graceful Carthusian monastery on the Isla de la Cartuja, this art museum houses the works of the most important representatives of Spanish art since the mid-20th century to the present.

Seville Museum of the Fine Arts

Visitors who prefer earlier art movements will enjoy a visit to this museum that houses some of Spain’s finest painters from the medieval period onwards, including Murillo and Zurbarán.

 

Shop for tiles at Coco Chanel

Shopping

Seville is a major city and you can expect to find the most famous international brands and designer shops in the city’s main shopping area. But visitors should check out some of Seville’s local boutiques for high quality traditional gifts as well as the best of Seville’s contemporary designers.

Coco Sevilla

Located next to the Casa Pilatos, this colourful shop contains an eclectic mix of tiles and jewellery for sale. The shop is also renowned for its fans and silk scarves. If you’re looking for above average souvenirs, this is the place for you.

Ceramica Santa Ana

This shop in the Calle San Jorge has been open since 1870. It’s tiled exterior makes it a popular holiday snapshot image and its products are the best of local craftsmanship.

Horno San Buenaventura

While you’re shopping or sightseeing drop into this café for a rest and try some of the best coffee and cakes in the city. The Café de Indias coffee shops scattered around the city are also highly recommended.

 

Dining in Seville

Dining

Seville is renowned for the creativity of its approach to tapas. If you want to experience the best, watch where the locals go – and follow them in!

El Rinconillo

Located in the city centre, El Rinconillo is one of the classic places to sample Seville tapas. It was founded in 1670, so it has had plenty of time to perfect its tapas and service.

La Azotea

Located in Triana, La Azotea reflects the modern Spanish approach to tapas and is worth visiting if you want to explore a contemporary cuisine and design ambience.

Los Coloniales

Situated on Plaza Cristo de Burgos, Los Coloniales is highly recommended for a more substantial meal. This place may not look stunning on the outside, but once you discover the food you won’t care!

by Eleanor McKenzie

Eleanor McKenzie is a Northern Irish writer with a passion for art, literature, and red wine. She's worked at advertising agency JWT, edited a journal for a European social policy think tank and tried to teach teenagers the difference between "there" and "their". Being 50+ has not significantly changed Eleanor's life, although she finds it a handy excuse when she wants to avoid anything too energetic.