Guide to Seville (Sevilla)

Guide to Seville, a historic city in the Andalucia region of southern Spain.

Seville - Andalucia - Spain

Located on the plain of the Guadalquivir River, the city of Seville (Sevilla) is the financial and cultural capital of southern Spain, its 699,145 inhabitants (2007) live in a compact and relaxing city with a rich cultural heritage, it is the capital of both the province of Seville and of the huge region of Andalucia.

With over 2,000 years of history, Seville’s story is closely linked with that of Spain itself, from the early Iberian culture, through the Roam occupation, the Vandals, the Visigoths and the Moors.

Known in Roman times as Hispalis, Seville would have been similar in layout to the nearb, better preserved, Roman city of Italica, which was founded in 206 BC after the defeat of the Carthaginians by Scipio Africanus. The Romans stayed in Spain for around 700 years, though there is little evidence left in Seville, bar the remains of a Roman aqueduct.

The Romans were replaced by the Vandals, who were in turn replaced by the Visigoths and finally in 712 AD, the Moors. The Moors were invited into Spain by the Visigoths to sort out some minor dispute, they liked what they saw and returned a year later to claim the region for themselves, they named it Al-Andalus. Under Arab control Seville became an important centre in Muslim Andalucia, and did not return to Christian control until 1248, when it fell to King Fernando III.

After the reconquest, Seville’s development continued under the Christian monarchs, who employed Mudéjar craftsmen (Mudéjar means “those permitted to stay”), to build palaces and churches, examples of which still remain today, for instance the Iglesia de San Marcos, parts of the Casa de Pilatos and the Palacio Pedro I in the Real Alcazares.

Following Spain’s discovery of the New World, Seville entered its “Golden Age”, with enormous wealth pouring into the city, Spain’s main port at the time. This wealth funded the building of numerous religious buildings, paid for elaborate artistic projects and caused the population of the city to rise, despite this wealth there was still much poverty in Seville. However, much of this wealth was later to be squandered by the Habsburg and Bourbon monarchs, mostly on expensive wars, this and the silting up of the Guadalquivir River led to Seville’s economic decline, recovery came once more during the !9th and 20th centuries. In the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Seville fell quickly to Franco’s Nationalist forces although the working classes put up some defiant resistance and suffered many terrible recriminations.

Present day Seville is a modern and vibrant city but still seeped in Spanish tradition, flamenco and bullfighting run through the blood of Sevillanos, and it is in this region that both were first practised. There is plenty to see and do in Seville and you will need a few days to get a real taste of what the city has to offer.

Seville Links: Seville Tourist Attractions - Seville Map - Seville Weather

Nearby Places: Carmona - Utrera

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