Perhaps most long overdue is my post on Seville, one of the most well known Spanish cities, and the capital of Spain’s southern-most province of Andalusia. Known for its classic Spanish style, this is the birthplace of flamenco, bullfighting, and a lot of other things you may think of when you think of Spain!
Contrary to popular belief, though, Andalusian culture doesn’t ring throughout Spain. Yes, you’ll see bullfighting in Madrid, and flamenco dancing still happens here, but in Andalusia, things are different. The air is hotter, the people are warmer, and the Spanish is tricker, or so the people of Madrid say. I happened to really like their accents in Seville, along with everything else they had to offer!
Having visited Spain’s southern province before in 2009, I already knew I loved it. Back then, however, Seville wasn’t in the travel plans; unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough time. This incapability to see everything Andalusia had to offer was one of the major reasons why I decided I had to return to Spain, and after this trip to Seville, I was glad I did!
Among the many beautiful sites to see in the town, the Alcazar was a breathtaking view of what was once a different Spain – one under Islamic rule. This monument is beautiful, and while it has been updated, it is very much reminiscent of Spain’s past. If you are a student, or have a valid student ID, make sure you take it with you – the Alcazar costs money to visit, but is extremely cheap if you are a student!
Also on the list of sights to see was the famous Cathedral, coupled with the Giralda tower. While the Cathedral was beautiful, it was very similar to one of the other Cathedrals I had seen in Andalusia. The tower, however, was, for me, a unique site that offered a spectacular view of the city. The descent also demonstrated how varied Andalusia’s history is, as with the Islamic remnants of the Alcazar, the tower offered views that would remind one of knights, castles, and princesses.
A short walk away from the Cathedral and Alcazar is Plaza de Espana, a courtyard surrounded by fountains, beautiful Spanish steps, more towers, and a mural representing each major village and city in Spain. The perfect film set, it’s been featured in The Lord of The Rings and Star Wars.
This area – the tourist center, as I like to call it – is very east to get sucked into. That’s why, while it offers much to see, it’s imperative to step out into the real core of the city. Further out, one can find the long and wide river that runs through the city, which provides a spectacular view for all to see. Whether you choose to dine by its side, or take a boat ride along its core, it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.
One important aspect of Andalusia, in general, is that a visit to this region makes you feel as though you are privileged with a real Spanish experience. Each region in Spain varies quite a bit, and while Madrid has a lot to offer, living here doesn’t quite quench any thirst for Spanish culture. The city is very much a mix of different things, as Madrid itself is much more of a metropolitan than a city with ancient history. On the other hand, Seville makes you really feel as though you’re in Spain and are experiencing the Spanish, and Southern European, lifestyle. The city is hot, feels relaxed, and values its history and traditions above all else. A local mentioned to me that in Seville, many sites were officially UNESCO World Heritage sites, and that the citizens of the city were opposed to recent proposals to build more “modern” structures, particularly those that would be taller than their traditional structures. It was clear, just from these short exchanges, that the people of Seville don’t need their home to look like other major cities in order for it to be important – its authentic feel is what attracts so many people and will only continue to do so.
Though I visited Seville in late September, it was very hot. Therefore, be warned – choose your visiting hours wisely!
More pictures below: