Seville, UNESCO, and movie sets

by Lorraine Williamson
Seville UNESCO site - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trascoro,_Catedral_de_Sevilla,_Sevilla,_Espa%C3%B1a,_2015-12-06,_DD_109-111_HDR.JPG

ANDALUCIA – Seville is the capital and largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalucia and the province of Seville.

Seville has an interesting history and is famous worldwide for its culture, monuments, traditions, and artistic heritage. This is also where you can witness the most incredible Easter (Semana Santa) processions.

Ambiance in abundance

Hailed as the birthplace of Flamenco, you can often see impromptu flamenco dancing in the evenings as you wander through the plazas. Additionally, there are plenty of bars and restaurants to relax and enjoy a glass of wine or a caña.

Seville has ambiance in abundance! For instance, you can stroll through orange-scented courtyards, view the stunning Mudéjar architecture, and enjoy walking the Plaza de España. You can even take a boat ride or a horse-drawn carriage. There are many things to do and see in Seville! In this article we look at just a few.

UNESCO

Among the top “must see” places are, the Cathedral, the Réal Alcazar and Archivo de Indias. All three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are set in the heart of the city. These three buildings form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville.

The Alcazar

If you only have time to visit one UNESCO site in Seville, it must be the Alcazar. It is believed to have been built as a fortress due to the Normandy invasion in Seville. However, it is clear it was one of the most important palaces of Al-Andalus during the Arabic time. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back from the Arabic period and Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Baroque period. Moreover, the architecture is phenomenal, and you cannot fail to be impressed.

The Alcazar was originally constructed for King Peter of Castille on the site of a Muslim fortress. To this day, the royal family still use the upper rooms as a personal residence. The bedrooms, bathrooms, and gardens are incredible. In fact, many films are produced here.

The Cathedral and the Alcázar date back from the Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century. With their Moorish influences, they are an exceptional testimony to the civilisations of the Almohads and of Christian Andalucia. The Giralda (the bell tower of the Cathedral) minaret is the masterpiece of Almohad architecture. However, if you climb the Giralda tower (over 100 metres high), you will witness the most spectacular views. Also, the bronze weathervane at the top has represented “faith” since the 16th century.

The Cathedral

This magnificent building is a mix of different styles – Gothic, Romanic, Renaissance, and Mozarabic. However, for the most part, the Cathedral is Gothic.  Furthermore, it is the largest Gothic building in Europe and took over 100 years to build.

With numerous spires and arches, the white stone walls frame the beautifully stained-glass windows. The massive scale and incredible beauty continue throughout the building. Inside is a central nave which is over 40 metres high, 80 side chapels, and the Retablo Mayor. Situated in the Great Chapel, this hand-carved altarpiece is the lifetime’s work of a single craftsman. The gothic carving of 45 scenes from the life of Christ will leave you lost for words.

Christopher Columbus

No matter what history says about Christopher Columbus, he is certainly the (non-religious) person who most affected the history of the world. 

The tomb of Christopher Columbus is in the Cathedral of Seville. Columbus died in the Spanish city of Valladolid. It was his wish to be buried in the New World, so his daughter-in-law took Columbus’ bones to the Dominican Republic, where he rested in the cathedral of Santo Domingo until 1795.

When the Spanish retreated from the Caribbean, the bones of Columbus came with them, and he is now buried in the Cathedral of Seville.

Archive of the Indies

Located in the Casa Lonja de Mercaderes which became the Archivo de Indias, contains valuable documents. The archive dates from 1785 and holds 43,000 records documenting 300 years of Spanish colonialism in the Americas.

Originally, it was one the most known markets in the city. And after the American conquest, the Archivo de Indias became the main source for those who wanted travel the New World. Among the archives is the information on how Christopher Columbus travelled to the New World, the agricultural production of the New World, the variety of ways to arrive there and the new things found by the travellers.

Italica

Italica is situated just outside Seville and is the birthplace of two Roman emperors. It is the best-preserved Roman ruins in Spain. In the past, nearly 25,000 could be entertained in the giant Colosseum which now lies in ruins.

However, even the ruins are magnificent. Just inside the entrance gate you can see the beautiful gardens which will give you an idea as to what the town could have looked like. Furthermore, the foundations of some of the houses are also still there. Likewise, the mosaic-tiled floors that the Romans are famous for.

During the latest excavations, three special mosaics have been found. The current archaeological work should be completed around now.

Apart from the amazing historical element to the area, did you know two seasons of Game of Thrones was filmed here?

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