Over 2000 years old, Seville has a history full of legends and folktales that give it a vibrant and impetuous aura. One such tale is the history of NO8DO, which King Alfonso X created as the symbol of the city in honour of the people who supported him in times of trouble. There is also the legend of Susona, the daughter of a rich Jew who fell in love with a Christian. You will find treasures from its wonderful history in every street, square, and alleyway of the city.
Seville is located in the south of Spain and is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia. It has a population about 700,000. At almost four square kilometres, Seville’s historical centre is the most extensive in Spain and one of the largest in Europe.
Among Seville’s outstanding monuments is its cathedral, the third largest in the world, and the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. There is also the Reales Alcázares, a beautiful fortress and palace built and added to over several centuries, and the place where Columbus obtained patronage for his discovery of the Americas. Many movies such as Kingdom of Heaven, and Game of Thrones, have been filmed here.
Near the cathedral and the palace is the Archive of the Indies. This holds important documents relating to the discovery of the Americas. Close by sits the Torre del Oro, or the Gold Tower, part of the old city walls. The walls can still be seen around parts of the city, especially the magnificent Arabian walls in the Macarena quarter.
Museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, house works by great painters of Seville such as Velázquez, Murillo, and Zurbarán. The Archaeological Museum in Maria Luisa Park houses artefacts from Seville’s long and illustrious past, as far back as the Tartessians and even the stone age.
Spain Square, Plaza España, was part of the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, which promoted the modernization of the city. The square is a splendid sight at any time of the day or night. Many famous movie scenes have been shot in the square including Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia.
The mighty river Guadalquivir cuts across the city. With a depth of 8.5 metres, the river is navigable from the sea, and Seville port is the only Spanish inland port. There is also an international airport, founded thanks to the importance of the aeronautical industry to the city. The airport and the high-speed train network were both the fruits of the great advances in infrastructure built for Seville’s 1992 Expo, or World Fair.
Seville also enjoys an extensive network of road and rail links with the rest of Spain, while the city itself boasts an excellent public transport system including a metro line, a tram line, and over 140 km of purpose-built cycle lanes.
The city has two universities. The Hispalense is one of the most prestigious in Europe, while part of Pablo de Olavide University is housed in the 18th Century Royal Tobacco Factory, the setting for Bizet’s opera Carmen, in the historic centre of the city.