If you haven’t been to a major city in Spain before, Seville will probably fulfill all your prejudices and expectations. Seville is said to be the birthplace of the popular Flamenco, where the country’s bullfighters meet a demanding and enthusiastic audience.
Despite over 700,000 inhabitants, Seville’s historic districts do not seem particularly metropolitan, with its narrow cobbled maze of alleys, squares and alleys. There abound of small tapas bars and cervecerías in a blissful mix of Gothic palaces and rows of orange trees.
500 years ago, Seville was one of the richest cities in Europe, and you can still see clear traces in the architecture and the many opulent building facades.
The mild climate of the Andalucia region makes Seville a destination you can visit at any time of the year, and the vast majority of visitors fall for Spain’s fourth largest city.
We recommend without a doubt Seville as a destination for your next long weekend trip.
Get to know Seville
Seville’s history stretches back 2000 years. The city was founded by Romans as a port on the Guadalquivir River. After the fall of the Roman Empire, a period followed the Visigoths, where Seville was named Hispalis, and experienced strong growth.
Like the rest of the Iberian peninsula, Seville was under Muslim rule for 400 years before being displaced by the Christians. The Muslim era still shows clear traces of Seville.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America, and it became a jackpot for the city, which was granted the exclusive trade rights with the new continent. Seville grew quickly to become one of the richest and most beautiful metropolises in Europe, and a number of beautiful Renaissance palaces and churches were built to see to this day. The city’s population has quadrupled over a century, and the 16th century was a golden age in Seville’s history.
The 17th century, on the other hand, suffered a sharp setback. A plague eradicated half of Seville’s inhabitants, and its position as a port city was weakened by the Guadalquivir River drying up and becoming the reason for carrying the ever-larger merchant ships. In the 19th century, the city grew further. Bridges were built across the river and the city walls were demolished. Seville was heavily involved in the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, but a new upturn came in 1992, when Sevilla hosted the International Technology Fair Expo ’92, on the 500th anniversary of Colombia’s famous Atlantic cruise. This led to a radical improvement in the city’s infrastructure and tourist facilities.
Seville is currently Spain’s fourth largest city, after Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. The city has approx. 700,000 inhabitants, and is the capital of the Andalucia region. Don’t forget that the city’s name is pronounced as Sevija, and not with the letter L as Seville is written.
As a tourist, you will probably spend most of your time in the three most central districts of Centro, El Arenal and Barrio de Santa Cruz, and primarily in the latter.
- Abbreviation: COR
- Country: Spain
Barrio de Santa Cruz
Barrio de Santa Cruz, or just Santa Cruz in everyday speech, is what was Seville’s Jewish quarter in the 13th and 13th centuries. The area has largely retained its medieval appearance. Santa Cruz includes the city’s premier landmark, the magnificent Gothic Cathedral, and the Alcazar Palace complex, and these are the city’s top tourist attractions. But even without these, Santa Cruz is a very charming neighborhood and an attraction in itself.
The area east of the cathedral is a maze of narrow and crooked cobblestone streets between old churches and white houses with iron gates. Here it is cooler than in the rest of the city, which is good to know when summer is at its worst. Climatically, Seville has the unofficial European heat record of all time; in 2003, a temperature of around 46 degrees was recorded.
From time to time you come to idyllic small squares with outdoor restaurants, fountains and rows of orange trees abounding with fruit. Here also lies the park Jardines de Murillo, with its old thick trees, fountains and a tall double column with a lion and the inscription “1492” in memory of the discovery of America and Christopher Colombus. And just north of this is the Plaza de Santa Cruz, dominated by a large iron cross, constructed in 1692.
Santa Cruz is buzzing with bodegas, tapas bars and cervecerias, and you will find souvenir shops selling everything from caps to flamenco dresses on almost every corner. This is, as I said, the tourist area. In the evenings and at night, Santa Cruz transforms into Seville’s nightlife area, but again, primarily for the many tourists.
Santa Cruz is bounded on the west by Seville’s main avenue Avenida de la Constitución where the city’s only tram line runs. West of this you will find the district of El Arenal. This was Seville’s port area during the Golden Age, until the river was destroyed and the port moved further south. El Arenal is located by the river Guadalquivir which has a pleasant river promenade along the street Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, which is the Spanish name of Colombus.
El Arenal is also home to some of Seville’s top sights. The city’s bullfighting arena is the country’s most important after Madrid, and also one of the oldest still in use. Just south of this lies the Golden Tower, Torre del Oro, with an 800 year long and interesting history. Today the tower houses the Seville Maritime Museum.
North of the cathedral are the central areas of Seville, with the self-explanatory name El Centro. The centerpiece is the city hall, Ayuntamiento, with Plaza Nueve and Plaza de San Francisco squares on each side. This is also where Seville’s main shopping streets start, primarily the pedestrian street Calle Sierpes (Serpentine Street) and the parallel streets Calle Tetuán and Calle Velazquez, which extend north to the Plaza del Duque. Just east of these lies Plaza Salvador, which with its many restaurants and cervecerias always buzzes with merry Spaniards. Here was the forum in ancient Roman Seville.
A few blocks further east is Plaza Alfalfa, where the city’s youths often gather in the evenings and weekends. There are also many bars and tapas bars. At Plaza Pilates in Centro you will find another of Seville’s attractions, the 16th century palace nicknamed Pilate’s House (Casa de Pilates). The palace has an Arabic-inspired courtyard with fountains and Roman statues, with arched pillars and Gothic balustrades.
Of other neighborhoods of interest we can mention the Triana, which is on the other side of the river opposite El Arenal. Triana is considered the birthplace of flamenco, and flamenco is still popular here. Many of the city’s young boys learn to play Spanish guitar, while the girls learn to dance flamenco. The district is also known for its many pottery workshops and handicraft outlets.
Triana was originally a working area where gypsies lived, but lately the area has become more trendy and housing prices have skyrocketed. Notice the beautiful Puente Isabell II bridge connecting Triana to El Arenal. It was constructed between 1845 and 1852, and is often called the Puente de Triana in daily speech.
To the north of Santa Cruz is Macarena, also a working area most famous for the church that houses Seville’s sacred statue, the Virgin of Hope from the 16th century (Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza de la Macarena). The district is bounded on the north by the longest remaining part of the city walls that once encircled old Seville.
Here is also the Andalucia Parliament, and the University of Seville. Also see the Calle Feria, where it has been arranged markets for hundreds of years, at least since the 1100s.
Isla de la Cartuja
Finally, in our downtown photo, we mention Isla de la Cartuja, an island in the Guadalquivir River just northwest of downtown. This area houses the big Expo ’92 technology fair, but today the biggest draw is the large Isla Magica theme park, which is open from April to October.
There is also Seville’s big Olympic Stadium, a modern art museum and the monastery where Colombus was planning his big move west.
Facts about Seville
Seville is Spain’s fourth largest city and capital in the Andalucia region in the south of the country. Andalucia is known for tapas, flamenco, bullfighting, sun and bath. Enjoy your vacation here!
|Official languages||Spanish (castellano) – download free language pairing – glossary|
|Currency||Euro. Most credit cards (Visa, Mastercard Diners, AmEx) are accepted in most places. ATMs are available almost everywhere.|
|Tips||Tips are included at bars and restaurants, besides it is optional if you want to give some coins extra.|
|Embassy||Norway has a consulate in Seville, located in Virgen de la Regla 21, with telephone 954 275 442. The Norwegian embassy is located in Madrid and has telephone +34 91310 3116. www.emb-noruega.es|
|Tourist||Avenida de la Constitucion 21, also at Plaza de Triunfo and at Santa Justa train station.|
|Electricity||220/240 volts, the same two-pin contact system as in Norway.|
|Holidays and Holidays||January 6, August 15, October 12 (National Day), November 1, December 6 (Constitution Day)|
|Visa||Not required for Norwegians.|
|Vaccinations||No vaccines are required.|
|Water||Can be drunk from the tap, but not recommended. Fine toothbrush.|
|Nearest major cities||Cordoba, Cadiz, Huelva, Malaga.|
|Safety||Slightly violent crime, but beware of pickpockets and scammers.|
List of Seville Acronyms
The most commonly used abbreviations about Seville is COR which stands for Seville. In the following table, you can see all acronyms related to Seville, including abbreviations for airport, city, school, port, government, and etc.