The Alcazar of Seville is one of the oldest and most impressive structures in the city, and it’s been a place of honor since the 11th century when it was built by the Moors - the Muslim tribes that conquered and ruled Spain during the Middle Ages. Since then, the elegant palace has changed many hands, and today it is partially owned by the Spanish royal family, who live in it.
The palace has several bedrooms and halls at the upper level of the building, which you can visit and be impressed by the grandeur and splendor that characterize them. The real beauty of this palace lies in its architecture, which exhibits a rare combination of styles - from Mudéjar architecture - the method used by the Moorish Muslims, to the classical architecture of the Renaissance.
Seville Cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in the city and is the largest Catholic cathedral in the world. In keeping with Seville's Muslim roots, this site also began as a mosque built during the 15th century, but after the city was re-occupied by the Christians, it was converted to a cathedral that lasted more than 100 years.
In 1987, the cathedral, together with the Alcazar of Seville, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and when you visit the place, its enormous size may make you feel spectacularly small: you can spend a great deal of time here taking in its meticulous design and its large collection of religious artifacts, among them, the largest altar in the world.
The wonderful art of Flamenco - which includes poetry, dance, movement and above all passion – can’t be separated from its roots deep in Andalusia and in Seville in particular. The innovative Flamenco museum, established in the city by a local dancer, celebrates the beauty of this sensual art and traces its varied origins with a series of interactive exhibits and expositions that cover all its aspects and tell its story: from the dance steps themselves, through traditional singing and rhythmic guitar playing, to the spectacular costumes that characterize it. In addition, live flamenco shows are performed every night throughout the whole year, and if you are a fan of dance and rhythm, you won’t want to miss them.
Another site that will render your trip to Seville incomplete if you miss it, is the Plaza de España - a large square located in the city center which is considered one of the cities symbols. In contrast to the other classic buildings of the city, the plaza is less than a century old and was built during the preparations for the Ibero-American exposition held in 1929.
The square is an example of Regionalism Architecture, with a large fountain decorating its center, and buildings attached to one another forming a crescent moon. The buildings are connected to each other by means of a network of bridges and narrow canals reminiscent of Venice. Accordingly, one of the leading attractions here is the hiring of a rowboat and rowing between the canals.
If you’re the type of person who vigorously pursues a glimpse of green in the heart of the urban jungle, then Parque de María Luisa will not disappoint. The park sits in the center of Seville near Plaza de España. Like the plaza, the park was also established in 1929 for the Ibero-American exposition that was held in the city.
Untill this day, it remains one of the most popular destinations in Seville. The park offers many leisure activities such as, walking through the shady paths, bike riding, taking a ride on a horse-drawn carriage or enjoying the sculptures, fountains, lakes, and bird species that adorn it.
A visit to this spacious and elegant palace is a must for lovers of architecture and art among us. The classical Andalusian style of architecture, which combines the many ethnic influences that existed in the region, is displayed here - from Muslim Mudéjar Architecture, through to Catholic Gothic design to Renaissance-style building.
You will be impressed by its beauty as you pass through the magnificent marble gates and enter the well-kept courtyard, which is adorned with a wealth of historical sculptures. The glorious staircase leading to the top floor is also decorated with Mudéjar art pieces, and at the end of it, you will find a showroom displaying famous Spanish painter, Francisco Goya’s finest bullfighting paintings.
If you want to experience the authentic Seville in full force, visit the historical district of Triana, which used to be the gypsy quarter of the city and today is a unique attraction. In the labyrinth of narrow alleys and stone buildings of Triana, you will find all the things Seville is associated with: workshops by ceramic artists who decorate their handcrafted pottery with traditional paintings, a host of small and homely restaurants that serve the well-known Spanish tapas, and of course many flamenco clubs.
If you find yourself in Plaza Encarnacion in the old quarter of the city, there is no way you won’t notice Metropol Prosol - one of the most popular and exceptional attractions in Seville. This is an innovative and expansive complex that incorporates a city market, a variety of restaurants and cafes, an archeological museum and an elevated promenade overlooking the city's rooftops.
The unique design of the place, which was inaugurated in 2011 at an investment of more than 50 million euros, was conjured up by German architect Jürgen Mayer. His design included the construction of the huge umbrella-like structure that adorns the head of the complex and gives it its unique shape and name, which in English translates to "urban umbrella".
Like the Triana district, Santa Cruz is also a collection of narrow, picturesque alleys with a fascinating history and a no less interesting and attractive present. Even among the many alleys that exist in the major cities throughout Europe, Santa Cruz stands out for its beauty and abundance of flowering courtyards, small restaurants, and cozy cafes that hide deep inside them and make it so interesting.
To enjoy a vantage point that will give you a breath-taking view of the entire city, head to the bell tower of La Giralda, right next to the Seville Cathedral. It too serves as one of the city's most famous symbols. Like most of Seville's historic buildings, this building was also built by the Moorish Muslims during the 12th century as the tower of a mosque, and eventually became a bell tower with Christianity taking control of the place once more.
You’ll be surprised to learn that unlike other towers, you won’t find a long, winding staircase that reaches the top, but instead 36 ramps that climb up to the top of the tower, built especially by the Moors to make it easier for the Mu'adhin (Muslim leader of mosque) and tower guards to reach its top on horseback.
Many travelers have testified that an excellent way to get to know Seville and its glorious past is by sailing around the Guadalquivir River that crosses the heart of the city. In the past, the river was the main access route from the region to the Atlantic Ocean and thus, served as the main traffic and transport hub of the capital of Andalusia and as the starting point for the famous New World Discoveries.
Today, the Guadalquivir is one of the city's most famous attractions, and it is definitely worth a cruise. On the banks of the river, you can find vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and cafes, and good places to catch some sun and relax.
image source: Cyan Animática
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