Sevilla - Heritage and Romance
Sevilla is the romantic capital of Spain, as well as the political capital of Andalucia. To not visit Sevilla is to miss out on the pulsing heartbeat of Spain. This is the home of true flamenco.
Seville is a delight for the senses: sights, sounds, smells and tastes; hurling into dynamic juxtaposition the ancient and the ultra-modern. Old classic architecture, narrow winding streets, tiny boutique shops, plenty of old churches, a castle in the centre of the city, lots of lush verdant parks smelling of orange blossom and roses, and an ancient moorish mosque that is now a part of the cathedral.
The 1929 World Fair was held here, and all the extravagant buildings of that event remain. Many of Lawrence of Arabia's palace scenes were filmed here in the Plaza de España. Each province of Spain has its own shield emblazoned on the walls of the Plaza, along with the ornate Arab decoration. Beyond, gushing fountains jet water high into the air. An impressive blue, white and yellow ceramic bridge spans a meandering moat to create a palatial entrance to the grand building.
Sevilla was a city at the heart of the opening up of the New World. Ships would sail straight up the Guadalquivir river to unload their cargos of gold silver and precious stones at the Torre de Oro. Still today, there is a respect for good living and fine things that was born during the golden years of Spain's American empire, survived the centuries of decline and was re-awakened as the nation embraced democracy and became a modern member of Europe.
Like any city, Seville is a place of contrasts, not least the contrast between the searing heat of summer and the cold winds of winter. Spring and autumn are best, and of course spring brings you face-to-face with the amazing April Fair. Everyone who is anyone will be there, seeing, and being seen. At night, the feria will be illuminated by a million light bulbs, as everyone sits down to sip an ice-chilled Manzanilla or Jerez and to witness the horses promenading up and down the rows of heraldic tents. Not to be missed, but you must book early, and be prepared for prices that match the magnitude of the occasion.
Sevillanos have their own way of being, where manners and over-politeness are an indelible part. Ask directions from anyone, and he will race in front of your car beckoning enthusiastically to guide you to your destination. This is his obligation. You are an outsider, lacking in the true knowledge of knowing precisely where you are. But you have enquired of him, and now he is the one chosen to enlighten your way and to help you find your way in his city.
They are all right in the most interesting old quarter of Seville, except Casa de Carmona which is in a nearby town within easy striking distance of the city.
15 Oct 2015, 11:09