Down in the South of Spain, in the region of Andalusia, lies the amazing city of Seville. Birthplace of Flamenco and home to one of the most beautiful Easter processions, Seville is considered one of the most charming cities of Spain and, in my opinion, of the world.
Some people say that Andalusia is actually the true Spain, where Spanish culture and history can truly be experienced fully. I have to say I agree with this statement, my trip to Andalusia was extremely intriguing and full of new discoveries.
According to legend, Sevilla was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. Thanks to all its great monuments and to its fascinating history, it has become famous for being a joyous town.
What fascinated me the most about this city was its overwhelming atmosphere. As soon as I arrived, I felt embraced into this magical Spanish culture which could be sensed everywhere: in the white sandy colors, in the fresh smells, in the joyful sounds… everything conveyed a sense of happyness and identity.
Before talking about the cultural and architectural sites you must see when in Seville, I would like to talk about food for a while. Amazing. Tapas. Before coming to Seville I had heard a lot about these famous Andalusian tapas which were super good, super cheap and, especially, everywhere. Reality was way more than I had imagined: any bar you go to, you can just order a caña (small beer) and with a few euros you will be asked to choose among a huge variery of typical tapas. Quality is great, way better than the Barcelonian over-priced touristic tapas you eat on Las Ramblas. The food here is fresh and you can really taste it has been made with love. I have just one great reccomendation for Seville: Taberna Coloniales – A typical tapas restaurant hidden from the touristic eye. Totally worth it and probably the best Tapas I ever had.
And now, what to see.
Obviously, you have to see the old city with the Cathedral and the Giralda tower at its heart. Climbing up the thousands of stairs of la Giralda may be boring (and crowded) but it will bring you to a magnificent view of the city! Another amazing view of the city can be seen by the Metropol Parasol, a wooden structure made by the German architect Jürgen Mayer in 2011 which can be reached by elevator and where you can drink a glass of wine while admiring the sunset.
From there you should then walk through the Santa Cruz quarter which is full of tiny, cramped streets, flowered balconies, richly decorated facades, and hidden patios. As you walk through these streets, you will really feel as if you are part of something and I promise you won’t be able to avoid falling in love with the Spanish culture.
Despite loving everything in Seville, there were two main things which literally took my breath away: the Alcazar and Plaza de España.
The Alcazar: a royal palace originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings which is now a UNESCO world heritage site. There are no right words to describe the beauty of this place and the same is true for pictures: no photograph is able to express the grandness of this place. As you enter the Alcazar you start feeling infinitely small and need to take your time in order to really understand where you are and what is around you. The richness of details, the immensity of the gardens, the strength of the colors… everything is overwhelming. What I advise is to lose yourself in the gardens, just start walking around and embrace everything you see, stopping to take a closer look at everything you deem interesting. As I strolled through the Alcazar and made my way across the hallways, the gardens, the baths, and the patios, I couldn’t help imagining how living there must have been. Some views are extremely romantic and poetic, be ready to come to close contact with your emotions. What I particularly found amazing was the level of detail of everything there: the colorful patterns on the walls, the intrinsicly designed ceilings, the geometry of spaces…everything has been planned and executed in an impeccable manner and the results are amazing.
Plaza de España, the second time I was swept off my feet. It is in the middle of the park Maria Luisa and is now mainly home to government buildings. What fascinated me here was, not only the immensity of the plaza, but also its timelessness. When you enter Plaza de España you feel as if you have been taken back in time. All you can hear is the sound of the river, the huge fountain, and the horses walking around with their carts.It is a huge semi-circle with buildings running around the edge accessible by many bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. You can either walk around the square, jump onto a small boat on the river, or on a wooden carriage. Here, like in the Alcazar, colorful patterns may be found on the bridges and columns, making everything even more special.
Therefore, if you are planning to go to Seville, be ready to experience real beauty and make sure you take enough time to assimilate the cultural richness it has to offer.