Seville, Spain – where it all came to a screeching halt
A fairly smooth transition from Lisbon to my next stop, Seville Spain and all seemed to be going well .. then it all came to a screeching halt, as the Spanish government issued a countrywide lock down. More about that later .. in the meantime I did manage to get 3 days in Seville at least ..
To get myself oriented I did the red bus hop-on, hop-off tour, but to be honest I wasn’t really impressed. What happened to the days when we used to have a ‘live person’ doing the commentary so they could react to things going on and also answer questions? There is a lime green bus tour too, maybe I should’ve checked those out also.
First, a brief bit of history to explain the three major influences that Seville came under and established the foundation of it’s culture in modern times.
Seville (at the time a settlement) was first founded as a city by the Romans and then fell under Muslin rule in 712, until it was taken by the Christians under Ferdinand III for the Kingdom of Castile in 1248. Unlike Lisbon where the great earthquake destroyed much of the original city, Seville has managed to retain some of the Moorish architecture which is still prominent in the city.
Note for history buffs … The two Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian were born in just outside Seville which was founded in 206-205 BC by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.
The Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) is a dodecagonal in design and was erected by the Almohad Caliphate in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river in the first third of the 13th century, and also served as a prison during the Middle Ages.
A view from the Tower del Oro upriver shows a rather more modern tower, the Torre Sevilla, which took seven years to build between 2008 and 2015. The tower building, used as offices, is 180.5 metres (592 ft) tall and has 40 floors.
Another view from the Torre del Oro, (shown as the featured image for this post), gives a glimpse of the Seville Cathedral in the distance. To give it’s full name, The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (or in Spanish: Catedral de Santa María de la Sede), took over a century to be completed (1401 – 1528) and is one of the largest Cathedrals in the world.
A view of the Cathedral looking back through the gateway arch of the Alcazar ..
The Alcazar of Seville was used as a film location in the hugely popular TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘became’ the Water Gardens of Dorne, home of Prince Dorian Martell.
The Royal Tobacco Factory (Real Fábrica de Tabacos), which is now the home of the rectorate of the University of Seville, was the largest industrial building built in the 18th century. It was used as a tobacco factory beginning production in 1758, with the first tobacco auction in 1763. At its height in 1829 it employed a female workforce of approximately 6,000 until the numbers decreased due to mechanization. Bizet’s opera Carmen was said to be inspired by a cigarrera at the Royal Tobacco Factory.
Seville is well-known for it’s handcrafted ceramic tiles and there are numerous fine examples of the locally (Triana) artisan-produced designs around the city.
One of three surviving gates to the walls of Seville, Puerta de la Macarena, was the one used by Kings to enter the city. The walls of the city were built in the time of Julius Caesar on the site of the Carthaginian defence, the gate is part of the extension made by Sultan Ali ibn Yusuf in the 12th century. Its present appearance is the result of remodeling carried out between the years 1723 and 1795, in which the Islamic architectural elements were replaced by the classicist air which presents today.
The typical narrow streets of Seville conceal a myriad of bars, cafes and restaurants that seem to reflect the laid-back approach that makes eating and drinking more of a marathon than a sprint.
As well as the ancient walls and historic buildings there are also a few more modern examples of architecture dotted about the city of Seville. None more so than what is popularly known as the ‘Mushrooms of the Incarnation’. The Metropol Parasol is a wooden structure with 2 concrete columns that hold the access elevators to the viewpoint and is located in the central Plaza de la Encarnación in the city of Seville. It measures 150 x 70 metres and is approximately 26 metres high.
With the news suddenly coming out of the imminent lock-down of the city and the restrictions about to be implemented for global travel I decided the best course of action would be to head back to UK and then on to the USA. This journey was not without its drama as you can read for yourself in the post entitled, ‘The best laid plans … escape from Spain, processing in Chicago’.