Located on the southwestern part of Spain, Seville is rich in cultural history and offers adventure at every corner. Seville is the largest city in Andalusia and very popular among tourists as well as Spanish natives. While there is something for everyone to enjoy, there are three must-see attractions in Seville:
Plaza de España
The grandiose Plaza de España is actually located inside a famous park called Parque de María Luisa. The Plaza de España was designed by Aníbal González and built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The Renaissance style dominates the design of the Plaza but González also included some Art Deco elements to the overall construction of the monument. Essentially, the Plaza de España is a huge complex of buildings that take the shape of a half-circle. For a while, the Plaza was unkempt but, with some renovations, it is now completely back to its original, grandiose state. Within the Plaza are different tiled alcoves depicting the different Spanish provinces, complete with maps and autochthonous motifs, all in alphabetical order. There is also a large fountain in the center of the complex surrounded by bridges and lush greenery.
Presently, the Plaza is used for government affairs. The Seville Town Hall is located within the Plaza. Something interesting about this famed Seville sight is that it has been used to film several films like “Lawrence of Arabia,” The Dictator” and even the blockbuster “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.”
Alcázar of Seville
Originally a Moorish fort in Seville, the Alcázar was built by the Almohad dynasty during the 12th century and is now a royal residence. The monarchs that inhabited the Alcázar after the Almohads have made additions to the original monument. The upper levels of the Alcázar are actually used as the royal residence in Seville for the Spanish monarchy.
Within the Alcázar, there are various sections. The Patio de la Doncellas is one particular part of the residence that is rich in history. For one thing, the name of this section translates to “The Courtyard of the Maidens” and this refers to the legend that Moors demanded 100 virgins from the Christian kingdoms in Iberia. Although this turned out to be a myth, it helped strengthen the Reconquista movement. The Patio de las Doncellas today has sunken gardens on the sides and, in the middle, there is a reflecting pool. But this part of the royal residence wasn’t always this way. It was fully paved in marble for many years and later restored to its original design of water and greenery before English director, Ridley Scott, had the courtyard temporarily restored with marble for the movie “Kingdom of Heaven.” Finally, it was restored to its original design with the reflection pool and sunken gardens. From 1540 to 1572, Luis de Vega richly decorated the upper level of the residence in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Another interesting section of the Alcázar is the “Baños de Doña María de Padilla.” This is a rainwater collection chamber beneath the “Patio del Crucero” section of the residence.
Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro is a tower in Seville that was originally built by the Almohad dynasty in the 13th century. The tower is located on a side of the Guadalquivir river. The tower was strategically built by the river as a military watchtower. It also served as a prison throughout the Middle Ages. Some believe the tower was a secure place where precious metals were hidden from the fleet of the Indies. This is a possible origin for the name of the tower.
The Torre del Oro is a dodecagonal tower and it is divided into three parts, with the uppermost, circular level being added in 1769. Today, the tower is a naval museum that highlights the importance of the Guadalquivir river and Seville’s naval history.