What an amazing city! Seville proudly wears its historical legacy while still embracing all the best aspects of the modern world, from architecture, the visual and performing arts to marvelous cuisine.
Seville has witnessed the kind of varied and illustrious history that few cities can boast. Settled by the Romans, it later became a capital of the Moorish Caliphate of Al Andalus which enjoyed dominance over the region for more than two centuries until the Reconquista, the Catholic conquest of the Muslim Empire in what is now southern Spain.
In the years following Christopher Columbus’s so-called ‘discovery’ of America in 1492, Seville became one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities after being selected by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella as the home port for all the treasures being plundered from the ‘New World’. The Guadalquivir River, which runs through the heart of the city, was utilized as a safe harbor for the tons of gold and silver which were brought back to Spain and stored in the Torre de Oro (Tower of Gold) on its banks.
While Seville still preserves historical layers from all these civilizations, it was Columbus’s voyages to the Americas that sealed its fate as one of the world’s greatest cities. This magical stroke of good fortune, and unparalleled wealth that followed, has bequeathed the city with its greatest architectural legacy.
Marvel at one of the world’s largest cathedrals, royal palaces fit for both Muslim Caliphs and Catholic Kings as evidenced in Seville’s most awe-inspiring structure known as The Alcazar, ornate municipal buildings that would be viewed as royal palaces in lesser cities, grand plazas and gold-encrusted alters and meticulously crafted sculptures that fill the breath-taking spaces of the city’s innumerable churches.
While I’m not a fan of the genocidal aftermath of Columbus’s (and others) voyages to the Americas, my fascination with history allows me to still marvel at both the horror and the creativity humans are capable of producing. From Columbus’s ornate tomb inside the Seville Cathedral to the numerous public squares and other buildings bearing his name, it’s clear that his legacy is still celebrated here.
So, take your time and see how much of Seville’s history you can absorb in this photo journal. I’ve also included photos of one of my favorite structures, an ultra-modern wooden construction, the Metropol Parasol. It’s evidence that Seville intends to stay at the forefront of contemporary architecture and build on the legacy of its past.
Note: I’ve used English captions in an effort to make them accessible to all.