Seville and Surroundings

Seville, the capital of Andalusia, can certainly be seen as one of the pearls of Spain. Located on the shores of the Guadalquivir River, the ancient river Betis, it is a lovely place to visit with its charming character, culturally complexity and its exciting history. With the wealth of sightseeing and its proximity to many fantastic beaches, natural parks and famous cities, we are convinced that it will be difficult to get bored during your stay in this part of the world!

The legend says that Hercules founded the city and indeed, according to historians, its origin coincided with settlement by the Tartessians, which maintained commercial relations with the Phoenicians and Greeks. During the 8th century BC, the descendants of the Tartessians created a city named it Ispal, which later was called Hispalis by the Romans and Ishbiliya by the Arabs. Ruling Seville from 712 to 1248, the Muslim left an indelible mark on the culture and monuments. One of those is the tower of the famous Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, called Giralda, which represents the former Minaret of the central mosque of Seville. In 1248, during the Reconquista of Ferdinand III, Seville was finally incorporated into the Christian Kingdom of Castile. Accordingly, the mosque was first converted into a cathedral and latter – during the 15th century – replaced by a new gothic building, which better demonstrated the wealth and power of the city at that time. Actually, still until today, this UNESCO world heritage is the biggest gothic church of the world!

After the discovery of the Americas (1492), Seville became one of the economic centers of the Spanish Empire as its port monopolized the trans-oceanic trade and the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade). Important sailors such as Ferdinand Magellan who performed the first circumnavigation of the Earth, departed from Seville (1519).

Although during the 17th century Seville experienced the most brilliant flowering of the city’s culture, an economic and demographic decline started as silting in the Guadalquivir forced the trade monopoly to relocate to the nearby port of Cádiz. During the 18th century, Charles III of Spain promoted Seville’s industries. During this time, the construction of the “Real Fábrica de Tabacos (Royal Tobacco Factory)” started (1728) leading to an impressive building which inspired not only Prosper Merimée (1847) to his famous novel “Carmen” but also Georges Bizet to his world known opera “Carmen” (1875).

However, also other composers fell in love with Seville. Among the most popular composers are Beethoven (Fidelio), Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni) or Rossini (The Barber of Seville).

Nevertheless, aside of those “must see”, Seville offers many other attractions including art galleries, museums, a new aquarium, the theme and leisure park “Isla Magica” or the modern wood construction Metropol Parasol which offers an unforgettable view over the city. Nevertheless, culture is not only expressed in buildings but is also by the daily lifestyle. Thus, while you are visiting Seville, we strongly recommend to take part of it by trying the local cuisine which offers a high variety of food starting from game meats, pork products made from pigs raised in the mountain pastures, rice from the rice fields of the Guadalquivir marshes, and the fish and shellfish from the Andalusian coast. Believe us, it is worth to try it, not only in the local seafood restaurant but also in the more traditional “tapas” bars!