Seville Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Spain > Seville > History

Seville Universal Seville has entered the 21st century in great form, adapting her urban framework to the functionality and modernity required by the capital of an autonomous province, but without comprising the historical city that was for centuries the gateway to the New World.

Seville today amalgamates perfectly the past, present and future, uniting modern business practice with the old ways and local colour in an inimitable way. Seville is made up of four major parts: the old part of the city, the site of the 1929 Exposition, Triana and the Isla de la Cartuja (Island of la Cartuja).

Historical Seville

This part of the city is of most interest to visitors because of the artistic and architectural wealth represented here. You will find the districts of Santa Cruz and the Judería (Jewish Quarter), El Arenal, la Alameda de Hércules, and an area referred to by some as the Acropolis, with significant monuments such as the Catedral (Cathedral) the Giralda, the Reales Alcázares (Royal Fortresses) and the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), all of which are of immense artistic interest and contain valuable works of art such as paintings and sculptures.

The Arco del Postigo del Aceite (Arch of the Oil Gate) divides the 'Acropolis' from the district of Arenal, where you will find the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza (Maestranza Bull Ring) and the Teatro de la Maestranza (Maestranza Theatre), the Torre de la Plata (Silver Tower) and the Hospital de la Caridad (Charity Hospital) and the most famous of them all, the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower).

This is a busy commercial area with many small shops, and it is one of the most popular areas among the 'movida juvenil' (young people) especially in the calle Adriano in autumn and on the left bank of the Guadalquivir in spring.

It is beautiful to walk through the narrow streets of the districts of Santa Cruz and the Jewish quarter; you catch glimpses of the Giralda over the rooftops from time to time. It was here that the Jews and Hebrews established themselves after the reconquest of the city by Ferdinand III The Saint. The churches are outstanding, many of them crafted in Mudejar style or with beautiful Gothic ogives (pointed arches or windows).

The Alameda de Hércules is one of the most popular parks in Seville. It is said that Hercules founded Seville. It has a youthful and cultural atmosphere. During the city's Carnaval it is a favourite meeting place. On Sunday mornings it is the setting for the popular Mercadillo de la Alameda (Alameda Market) where you can buy almost anything.

Exposition of 29 site

In the 1920s, Seville experienced a cultural renaissance that has been called Regionalismo (Regionalism), because it coincided with the rise of Andalusian patriotism championed by Blas Infante. At this time the Iberoamerican Exposition of 1929 was held, and many beautiful buildings were built in a lovely spot in Seville to mark the occasion. The nerve centre was the Parque de María Luisa (Maria Louisa Park).

Between the city centre and these buildings from the beginning of the 20th century there are beautiful buildings like the Palacio de San Telmo (San Telmo Palace), the headquarters of the Universidad Hispalense (Seville University, formerly a tobacco factory), the luxurious Hotel Alfonso XIII, and a few metres away the Casino de la Exposición and the Teatro Lope de Vega.

In the Parque de María Luisa are the Plaza de España and the Plaza de América, as well as many pavilions built for the Exposition of 29. Among these are the Royal Pavilion, and the pavilions of Mudejar, Domecq, México, Chile and Uruguay (the two latter are now the head offices of public institutions).

There are other Latin American pavilions along the Paseo de las Delicias and the Avenida de la Palmera, including those of Guatemala y Cuba. The latter is one of the most beautiful, and is today the headquarters for the Delegación del Gobierno de la Junta de Andalucía (Andalusia Autonomous Government Headquarters).

Triana

Triana is located on the other bank of the Guadalquivir River. It is joined to Seville by several bridges, including that of Isabel II also known as the Puente de Triana (Triana Bridge).

Triana has traditionally been a fishing district. It was once the site of the Reales Almonas, a factory that produced the most famous soap in the world. Pottery making has also historically been an important resource of this area.

There are plenty of famous streets in Triana, among them San Jacinto, Betis, Pureza and Castilla. Triana is a district that is thought of independently from Seville, in fact the locals refer to Triana and Seville separately, as if they were two different cities.

Churches and chapels abound in Triana. It even has its own cathedral Iglesia de Santa Ana). There is also a great tradition of religious guilds, such as the brotherhoods of Semana Santa (Easter) like La Estrella, San Gonzalo, la Esperanza de Triana, El Cachorro and La O.

This traditional area has many bars where you can try pescaíto frito (small, deep-fried fish), such as in the Kiosco de las Flores, one of Seville's most characteristic restaurants.

Triana's atmosphere is more reminiscent of the traditional districts of Seville in the 1930s and 1940s, than of today's overcrowded cities.

Island of la Cartuja

At the end of the 1980s, the Isla de la Cartuja was practically virgin territory containing only the Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas (monastery), casa de Cartujos (house), and the old ceramics factory of the Marquis of Pickman.

The site was transformed by the Exposition of 1992. Roads and buildings were constructed, and the Island of la Cartuja became one of the most modern areas of Seville, much sought after by companies wishing to see up offices here. The extra-modern Escuela Superior de Ingenieros de la Universidad Hispalense (Engineering School of Seville University) and some private faculties are located here.

It is a spacious and well-lit place, although an inconvenience is that it is so spread out that it is not easy to walk from place to place.

Several attractions are located on the Island of la Cartuja. Among them are the fairground Isla Mágica (Magic Island), the El Alamillo park (an ideal place to get in touch with nature), the Centro de Alto Rendimiento where you can go rowing or canoeing, and the majestic Estadio Olímpico (Olympic Stadium).

What is more, some of the city's most important art exhibitions take place in the monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas, such as that which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the birth of Velázquez.