Seville, Spain , the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the River Guadalquivir, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Places to visit in Seville have been shaped by the 2,200-years-old capital of Andalusia being founded by Hercules, shaped by the Romans, ruled by the Moors, and finally conquered by the Christians, making it an architectural wonderland. The city became an important trading center after the discovery of the America (Christopher Columbus left for his maiden voyage to the Americas in 1492 from a nearby port whilst Ferdinand Magellan began his voyage to circumnavigate the globe from Sevilla in 1519), ushering in Sevilla’s Golden Age. A period of immense wealth and the city blossomed as a cultural center, during this period under the Castilians, the city developed rapidly. The Seville harbor, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain. Seville houses historically significant monuments and dazzling Moorish palaces, with styles spanning from Mudejár and Gothic to Baroque and Spanish Renaissance. History oozes through its very pores, with ancient Moorish walls, Roman ruins and Baroque churches at every turn.

The city boasts many theatres, opera houses and performance arenas. It has museums and art centers, theme parks, theatres and clubs including its numerous terraces, inns and bars where visitors can partake in one of its deeply-rooted traditions namely, ‘going out for tapas’. It is known for the Maestranza bullfighting ring and the people’s passion for Flamenco dancing. Seville is truly the heart of Spanish culture with its Flamenco dances and deep appreciation for music and dance. Also, its diverse music scene can be seen in the variety of its club-centered nightlife.

From great tapas bars to enchanting old neighborhoods and giant wooden mushrooms, Seville holds something for everyone. The city is bustling with culture, history, colors, music and delicious food. The architecture of this city seems to have ornate details at every single turn, with a myriad of sights and activities, this city will never leave visitors stuck for choice.

1. Catedral de Sevilla

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville, Andalusia, Spain. It was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It was built between 1434 and 1517 over the remains of what had previously been the city’s main mosque. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years. The total area occupied by the building is 23,500 square meters (253,000 sq ft). The Gothic section alone has a length of 126 meters (413 ft), a width of 76 meters (249 ft) and its maximum height in the center of the transept is 42 meters (138 ft). The interior has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. The central nave rises to a height of 42 meters (138 ft). In the main body of the cathedral, the most noticeable features are the great boxlike choir loft, which fills the central portion of the nave, and the vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. This altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart. Unmatched in its noteworthy scale and bounty of workmanship treasures, ‘Seville Cathedral’ is the biggest Gothic house of God in Christendom. It is the third-largest church in the world as well as the largest Gothic church.

2. Royal Alcazar Palace

The Alcázar of Seville, commonly known as the Royal Alcázars of Seville, is a royal palace in Seville, Spain, built for the Christian king Peter of Castile. It was built by Castilian Christians on the site of an Abbadid Muslim residential fortress destroyed after the Christian conquest of Seville. The Royal Alcazar Palace in Seville is a centuries-old complex of beautiful buildings, courtyards, and colorful gardens. Still used as the Seville residence for the Spanish royal family, it is the oldest continually-inhabited royal palace in Europe administered by the Patrimonio Nacional. One of the most striking features of the Alcazar is the blend of architectural styles it brings together, it is a preeminent example of Mudéjar architecture in the Iberian Peninsula but features Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque design elements from previous stages of construction. This mixture speaks eloquently of the Moorish and Christian cultures that have shaped Seville. It was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

3. Plaza de Espana

The Plaza de España is a plaza in the Parque de María Luisa (Maria Luisa Park), in Seville, Spain, built-in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, which took place in Maria Luisa park, as the Pabellon de Andalucia. The architect Anibal Gonzalez designed the Plaza to wow the Expo’s other exhibitors, and visitors, from around Spain and Latin America, and to show Seville’s talents in industry and crafts. This massive building is Seville’s one of the most impressive for its sheer scale and grandeur. Plaza de Espana is a semi-circular brick building, Renaissance/neo-Moorish in style, with a tower at either end (tall enough to be visible around the city, these towers – north and south – are major landmarks). In front of the building, following the curve of its façade, is a 500-meter canal crossed by four bridges, and in the center of it all is the Plaza itself. You can rent small boats to row in the canal – the Plaza is known as “the Venice of Seville”. A major tourist attraction, it is the finishing point of horse-and-carriage rides. It is a landmark example of the Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Baroque Revival, Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival (Neo-Mudéjar) styles of Spanish architecture.

4. Giralda Tower Seville

The Giralda is the bell tower of Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain. It was built as the minaret for the Great Mosque of Seville in al-Andalus, Moorish Spain, during the reign of the Almohad dynasty, with a Renaissance-style top added by the Catholics. The tower is 104.1 m (342 ft) in height and remains one of the most important symbols of the city, as it has been since the Middle Ages. The tower can be accessed from inside the cathedral. A long climb on the ramp leads to the tower’s belfry from where you have a superb 360-degree view over Seville. The Giralda was registered in 1987 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

5. Torre del Oro

The Torre del Oro (“Tower of Gold”) is a dodecagonal military watchtower in Seville, southern Spain. It was erected by the Almohad Caliphate to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir River. Nestled on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Torre del Oro is one of Seville’s most photographed landmarks. Built in the 13th century, during the Almohad dynasty, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. The tower is divided into three levels, the first level, dodecagonal, was built in 1220 by order of the Almohad governor of Seville, Abù l-Ulà; As for the second level, of only 8 meters, also dodecagonal, was built by Peter of Castile in the fourteenth century, a hypothesis that has been confirmed by archaeological studies; The third and uppermost being circular in shape was added after the previous third level, Almohad, was damaged by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The rebuilding of the third level was done by Brusselian military engineer Sebastian Van der Borcht in 1760. The tower’s name comes from the golden shine, it projects on the river, due to its building materials (a mixture of mortar, lime and pressed hay). (Information Source –

6. Iglesia Colegial del Salvador

The ‘IglesiaColegial del Divino Salvador’, or the Church of the Divine Saviour is, after the big Cathedral of Seville the most important church in Seville. The current building was completed at the beginning of the 18th century. The church was built on a site where a basilica stood in Roman times and a mosque during the Moorish period. The mosque was demolished in 1671. Between 1674 and 1712, the baroque church was built here by Leonardo de Figueroa, during which time the church collapsed once. To prevent this from happening again, solid construction piles were placed in the current church. It is a baroque church, although the main facade, which overlooks the Plaza del Salvador, has a Mannerist influence. Inside, it is projected as a large rectangular hall.  There are pillars with endorsed columns that support high-rise vaults. It is the only church in the region with these characteristics. In the head of the central nave, the columns have a tracery in which Eucharistic symbols, castles and lions are included.  They also have the golden capitals. The dome is of drum and has an octagonal plant.  The base has windows and is crowned by a liter. The church stands out because of its gilded woodcraft, a beautiful main altar and numerous frescos.

7. Santa Cruz, Seville

Santa Cruz is the primary tourist neighborhood of Seville, Spain, and the former Jewish quarter of the medieval city. Santa Cruz is bordered by the Jardines de Murillo, the Real Alcázar, Calle Mateos Gago, and Calle Santa María La Blanca/San José. This was the neighborhood into which Ferdinand III confined the city’s Jewish population when he took the city from the Moors in 1248; nowadays, it’s the heart of historic Seville and the first place many tourists head to. The neighborhood is the location of many of Seville’s oldest churches and is home to the Cathedral of Seville, including the converted minaret of the old Moorish mosque Giralda. The neighborhood is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, where one can wander around or enjoy one of the many touristy restaurants and attractive squares. This barrio is a picture-perfect slice of Seville with its many ceramic shops and small tapas bars along every cobblestone avenue. A mix of the tradition of Seville and beauty of the palace, Santa Cruz breathes life into the streets of Seville.

8. Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas

The Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas, also known as the Monastery of the Cartuja (Charterhouse), is a religious building on the Isla de La Cartuja in Seville, southern Spain. Legend holds that the area, in Moorish times, was honeycombed with caves made by potters for ovens and to obtain clay; and that after the capture of the city by Christians in the thirteenth century, an image of the virgin was revealed inside one of the caves, where supposedly it had been hidden. It prompted the construction of a chapel of Santa María de las Cuevas to house the venerated icon. In the 15th century, the archbishop of Seville, aided by the noble family of Medina, helped found a Franciscan monastery at the site. Restorations were made for the Seville Expo ’92 directed by Bartolomé Ruiz González, the first and only one director of the Monumental Ensemble from 1989 to 1994. The Andalusian Contemporary Art Center (The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC)) is now located on this site. In 1964, it was declared a national monument and now is owned by the government of Andalusia.

9. Maestranza

The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla is a 12,000-capacity bullring in Seville, Spain. Construction began in 1761 on the site of the city’s old rectangular Plaza de Toros, and was finally completed in 1881. During the annual Seville Fair in Seville, it becomes the site of one of the most well-known bullfighting festivals in the world. This bullring is one of the most attractive and important plazas in Spain. It is a part of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, a noble guild established for traditional cavalry training. Particularly attractive is the Prince’s Gate (the main entrance), the ornate black iron gates which are the work of Pedro Roldan, and which were originally the property of a convent. As a stage for bullfighting, it is considered one of the world’s most challenging environments because of its history, characteristics, and viewing public, which is considered one of the most unforgiving in all of bullfighting fandom. Being carried through these on the shoulders of fellow matadors and the public is a mark of great triumph, and one of the highest honors attainable by a matador in Spain. The ring itself is considered one of the city’s most enjoyable tourist attractions and is certainly one of the most visited. The Maestranza’s excellent museum explores the history of bullfighting, and daily tours of the arena are available.

10. Casa pilatossevilla

La Casa de Pilatos (Pilate’s House) is an Andalusian palace in Seville, Spain, which serves as the permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli. It is considered a prototype of the Andalusian palace. It takes its name – “Pilate’s House” – from Quiñones’ son Fadrique, who traveled to Jerusalem in 1519 and returned, overflowing with enthusiasm for the Holy Land. Construction of the palace began in 1483, at the initiative and desire of Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones (IV Adelantado Mayor of Andalusia) and his second wife, Catherine de Ribera, the founders of the Casa de Alcalá. The work was erected on several plots that had been confiscated during the Inquisition. In 1493, the death of Pedro Enríquez left Doña Catalina in charge to undertake the initial configuration of the palace. His son, FadriqueEnríquez de Ribera, and his grandson, Per Afán de Ribera y Portocarrero, expanded and completed the decoration. FadriqueEnríquez (the first Marquis of Tarifa) was a nobleman on horseback from the late Middle Ages and modernity, represented by the Renaissance. Between 1518 and 150, he made a pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem, where he passed through Italy and was deeply impressed by the Renaissance art he saw in the Italian cities. Upon his return, he transferred those Renaissance styles that he had observed to the Casa de Pilatos, combining the Italian Renaissance style with that of the Sevillian Mudejar in the expansions he made to the palace, occupying several annexed plots of land. Per Afán de Ribera, nephew and heir of Don Fadrique, was a great art collector who grew his collection during his stay as viceroy of Naples. He made reforms between 1568 and 1571, installing his vast collection. (Information Source – It is an example of an Italian Renaissance building with Mudéjar elements and decorations. The Casa de Pilatos has around 150 different 1530s azulejo (Spanish glazed tile) designs made by the brothers Diego and Juan Pulido, one of the largest azulejo collections in the world. It is so beautiful that the palace starred in two films – 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and 2010’s Knight and Day.

11. General Archive of the Indies

The Archivo General de Indias (“General Archive of the Indies”), housed in the ancient merchants’ exchange of Seville, Spain, the Casa Lonja de Mercaderes, is the repository of extremely valuable archival documents, illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines. Seville’s position on the river Guadalquivir, which flows through Andalusia and out to the Atlantic, meant that it was excellently placed to cash in on Columbus’s discovery of the New World in 1492. And cash in, it did, with riches from the new Spanish colonies ushering in the city’s Golden Age of the 15th and 16th centuries. This 16th-century building houses 80 million pages of documents and maps about the Indies (9km of shelving), Spain’s mighty empire from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, providing the most complete and documented historical view (if not the most objective) of the Spanish administration of the New World. Also, the key sights here are a 17th-century cannon, maps charting the entire Spanish Empire and several paintings by Goya. The building itself, an unusually serene and Italianate example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, was designed by Juan de Herrera. This structure and its contents were registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site together with the adjoining Seville Cathedral and the Alcázar of Seville. Open to the public, the Archive stages frequent exhibitions, and documents can be viewed for research purposes.

12. Metropol Parasol

Metropol Parasol is a wooden structure located at La Encarnación square, in the old quarter of Seville, Spain. It was designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer and completed in April 2011. The Metropol Parasol is both a new landmark for the city of Seville and an engineering adventure – one of the largest timber structures ever built. Arup worked with architect Jürgen Mayer H to develop its award-winning design. The project consists of six large timber parasols shading the Plaza de la Encarnación and protecting the archaeological site. The parasols, constructed in a mushroom-shaped timber lattice, frame the structure and create shadows that move continuously throughout the day. The structure has four intertwined permeable levels: a basement with a platform to view the archaeology, a 2,155m² marketplace with a raised square for performances and shows, a restaurant, and a public balcony with panoramic views of Seville’s old quarter. To create this unique structure, decisions were made after experimental investigations, to use a micro-laminated wood called Kerto. Consisting of 3mm thick veneers glued together, it offers much higher shear strength than solid wood. The timber is protected from the elements with a waterproof polyurethane coating. Crucial for the behavior of the Metropol Parasol is the 3000 connection nodes at the intersections of the timber elements. Engineers at Arup and FFM developed an innovative connection detail based on glued-in steel bars, which at the same time, are optimized for rapid erection on site. A thermal analysis revealed that the hot climate of southern Spain would be a particular challenge for the connection detail, engineers had to develop a new bonding process, specifically for use in this climate. Any detail adjustments and pre-assembly of the connection elements were carried out in Germany before the 3000 elements were sent by truck to southern Spain. The elements were polyurethane coated on-site by a local company before the final assembly. (Information Source- The building is popularly known as Las Setas de la Encarnación (Incarnation’s mushrooms).

13. Archbishop’s Palace, Seville

The Archbishop’s Palace of Seville (Palacio Arzobispal) is a palace in Seville, Spain. It has served as the residence of bishops and archbishops of the episcopal see and numerous nobleman and military figures to the present time. It is located in the southern section of Seville, in the Plaza Virgen de Los Reyes, angled almost opposite the Giralda. It is situated on the northeastern side of Seville Cathedral in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz. Designed by architect Lorenzo Fernández de Figueroa in 1704, its imposing red façade is adorned with white pilasters and wrought-iron balconies, while its grand main portal combines elements such as marble columns, vegetable motifs, and beautiful allegorical statues. The palace we see today was built in the second half of the 16th century when the layout was organized around two courtyards. Its magnificent staircase dates from the 17th century, whilst the main monumental doorway and the building itself, the work of Lorenzo Fernández de Iglesias, were completed in 1704. Profusely decorated double columns support a pediment with a large richly decorated balcony containing a pedestal and two vases. The Archbishop’s Palace is a gem of Spanish Baroque architecture, built around two 16th-century Mannerist style courtyards. It has had the status of the National Monument since 1969.

14. Centro CeramicaTriana

Built on the site of an old pottery factory (Fábrica de Cerámica Santa Ana), the newly opened Triana Ceramic Center fuses traditional and contemporary architectural styles, whilst remaining inexorably bound to the culture of this characterful Seville neighborhood. The creation of the Centro CerámicaTriana aims to represent the history of the pottery tradition of Triana and to become a nerve center of reception, interpretation, and organization of visits to the Triana neighborhood. All its elements with archaeological, anthropological and architectonic significance are presented in their original context: the kilns have been restored and enhanced; the routes and relationships between professions mirror those existing in those very same places a long time ago. The architectonic offer is organized from the intention of enhancing the ensemble as a whole, together with some others of spatial, ethnological and anthropological undoubted value. The center has two floors: the ground floor, where there is a permanent exhibition and a visit to the highlighted remains of Sevillian ceramics; and the upper floor, where there is a specialized documentation center, and an interpretation area with different tourist routes of the neighborhood of Triana. Seville’s Ceramics Centre is designed to educate people about the long history of ceramic tile production in the Triana district. Visitors can see the old kilns and production materials of the Santa Ana Factory, as well as examples of ceramic tiles from Moorish times to the present day. Its most arresting feature is the inner courtyard façade, whose decorative steel lattice and ceramic sleeves form an exquisite Moorish inspired celosia, meant for the protection from the sun. A work by AF6 Arquitectos, the museum celebrates the history and tradition of Seville’s iconic azuelos (ceramic tiles).

15. Palacio de las Dueñas

Palacio de las Dueñas (more properly, Palace of the Dukes of Alba; occasionally, Casa Palacio de las Dueñas) is a palace in Seville, Spain, currently belonging to the House of Alba. Built between the 15th and 16th centuries, Las Dueñas was named after the currently disappeared monastery of Santa María de las Dueñas, placed in the adjoining plot and demolished in 1868. It was built in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences. The Palace of Las Dueñas, an example of the Sevillian noble architecture, has a huge architectonic value that lies in the mixture of Gothic and Mudejar styles. The palace consists of a series of courtyards and buildings. The style ranges from Gothic art-Moorish to the Renaissance, with local influences in the bricks, shingles, tiles, whitewashed walls and pottery. Its mixed style resembles that of Casa de Pilatos and Casa de Los Pinelo. This building’s main attraction is the combination of the majesty of the building itself, its patios and gardens, and the appealing of the collection of paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture and antique objects of an enormous artistic and historical interest that are stored in the palace. It became a national monument, now a “Bien de Interés Cultural”, on June 3, 1931. Today it is one of the most visited monuments in Seville. The palace is one of the major historic homes in the city of great architectural and artistic heritage.

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Samiksha Muddamwar, an architecture graduate currently collaborating with a firm involved in conservation and heritage awareness, besides her instinctive explorations in prose, poetry, and visual illustration. Her interests span a multitude of subjects, driven by a curiosity of ways and means, to make the world around her, a better place.

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