Seville – financial, cultural, and otherwise capital of Southern Spain and the 4th largest city in the country.
More than 2,000 years old, it has been a Roman, Moorish, and Christian city over the years. Until 1391 there was a sizeable Jewish population until the Archdeacon forced them out. Today’s Barrio Santa Cruz is the old Jewish Quarter.
Bullfighting is still a big part of the culture here – the Plaza de Toros is the oldest ring in Spain, dating from 1749 and still in active use. Throughout the town you see bullfighting photos and other memorabilia in many of the bars.
We walked through city, especially the El Arenal and Santa Cruz districts, which are each full of vibrant streets and monuments, many of them of Moorish origin. The cathedral is the largest in Europe and is on site of former Mosque. The present bell tower (La Giralda) was originally the minaret that had some additions made to the top, and is now a key symbol of the city.
Not sure what the Bishop would have thought of the troll street performers try to setup outside the cathedral doors!
The Real Alcazar is a Spanish Royal Palace that was built on the site of a Moorish fort. It is a jewel box of Mudejar style architecture which was created by the finest craftsmen from Granada and Toledo.
One good bit of advice when walking around any town or building is to “look up”. It is amazing how, even in the busiest cities, that may seen to have very blah architecture, there exist elements of interest above the usual eye line. Inside Moorish building, the ceilings are usually very impressive, and the Real Alcazar did not disappoint.
In addition to the sumptuous building, there are beautiful gardens, from which the royalty could view from a specially constructed covered walkway – a good way to stay cool in the blistering heat.
From Seville, we are headed to the port city of Algeciras to be able to take nearby ferry from Tarifa to Tangier as well as visit Gibraltar.