Seville is the Andalucian capital and the third most extensive Spanish city. Bathed by the Guadalquivir river, Seville has a strong identity all its own, while its popular quarters, such as Santa Cruz, are as interesting as its many monuments and old buildings. There is the Alcazar, or Morrish fortress, La Giralds, the turret of the old 12th century Moorish mosque that was incorporated as a belltower into the grandiose Gothic cathedral three centuries later, and the Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), an old bastion in the Moorish walls of the city.
How to get there
Iberia flies to Seville every day from Madrid, Barcelona, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Valencia and London. Aviaco also offers a daily service from Alicante, and flies from Bilbao and Palma de Mallorca every day except Sunday, from Lanzarote on Tuesday and Thursdays, and from Fuerteventura on Sundays. Visit flightGURU for advice and information on hundreds of cheap flights , special offers and discounted airlines, or call their travel desk on 01258 473355.
Seville's cuisine, like that of the rest of Andalusia, is light and simple in accordance with the climate. The fame of the city's tapas has, however, obscured the other fine regional dishes. The best-known of these is gazpacho, the basis of every summer menu, but there is also heavier fare like menudo (Andalusian-style tripe), spinach with chick peas, and other vegetable stews. Fried fish is as popular here as in the rest of Andalusia: try the local variant known as Soldaditos de Pavia, made with either cod or hake.
Cathedral. Built in the 15th century on the site of the largest Almohad mosque, this is the third largest church in Christendom.
Giralda. A former Almohad minaret dating from the 12th century. Hernan Ruiz's bell-tower was added in the 16th century, as was the weather-vane at the top, known as "El Giradillo". Regarded as the symbol of Seville, it is one of the most beautiful towers in the world.
Royal Fortresses. a beautiful Mixture of the Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance styles, reflecting the two great cultures that created it: Islam and Christianity.
Tower of Gold. A 13th-century Almohad fortification on the banks of the River Guadalquivir. Its moment of greatest fame came after the discovery of America when it marked the point of arrival for the ships sailing from the Indies.
District of Santa Cruz. Formerly a Jewish quarter, this is a typical district with lovely streets, like La Pimienta, and little squares like Santa Marta and Santa Cruz. The latter contains the "Locksmiths' Cross", and intricate 17th-century creation in wrought iron.
General Archive of the Indies. Inside this Renaissance building, originally intended as a merchants exchange, is a massive collection documents on the voyages of discovery of the 15th to 19th centuries.
Provincial Museum of Fine Arts. This Baroque building, formerly the Convent of La Merced, contains paintings by Murillo, Valdes Leal, Zurbaran, El Greco, Alonso Cano and others.
Casa de Pilatos. It is arguably Seville's top aristocratic town mansion and it is the only one open to the general public. Exemplifies beautifully the typical Andalusian use of glazed tiles for decorative effect.
Cartuja. The Park of Discoveries. One of the largest theme parks in the world. It makes use of some of the infrastructure and part of the grounds where Seville's Expo 92 was held. Closed for remodeling until June, 1996.
Seville has a rich tradition in various types of handicraft. Examples are the ceramics of La Cartuja (Calle Alfonso XII, 25) and the wrought iron of Forja Hispalense (Calle Feria, 130). For tooled leather, go to San Pablo in Calle Bailen; and for mantillas and embroidery, try Feliciano Foronda (Alvarez Quintero, 52). It is also worth visiting the street market held on Tuesdays in Calle Feria. Home-made sweets are sold at many of the city's convents: particularly recommended are the so called yemas de San Leandro (Convent of San Leandro, Plaza de San Ildofonso).
In Seville, a round of drinks after dark is as much de rigor as a round of tapas before lunch. The liveliest areas are to be found around Plaza de la Alfalfa, Calle Marques de Paradas.
On Summer evenings the taverns in the villages just outside the city, known as the ventanas sevillanas, are very popular and people make trips out to places like Velazquez Gavino in La Panoleta, Manolo in La Algaba, and the Ventorrillo Canario in Santiponce.