A buzzing and sizzling hot Andalucian hub of activity offering a healthy dose of culture, history, charm and elegance.
Seville is a cultural Mecca in Spain, the vibrant and fascinating southern area is the capital of Andalusia and of the province of Sevilla.
Once described by Byron as "a pleasant city, famous for oranges and women", Seville carries an illustrious history and a reputation for the intensity and enjoyable nature of its lifestyle.
The city also displays a peculiar dichotomy between its wealth - mainly gained through its food processing, shipbuilding, aircraft construction and tourism industries - and the fact that it is situated in an area of great agricultural paucity.
Culture And Traditions
The city is dominated by architecture from the period of Moorish control in the year 711 and of modern Spanish influences.
Wandering the streets the atmosphere is electric and although the city is well inland now, it once was an important sea port, prior to the silting up of the Guadalquivir. Like most port cities other national influences have penetrated its Spanish exterior infusing different tastes, recreational pastimes and cultures into the cuisine, social scene and administration.
It was from Seville that Ferdinand Magellan obtained ships for his round the world voyage, where the Spanish treasure fleet landed and where the first commercial shipment of chocolate arrived.
Seville was a centre of artistic splendour in the 17th century, with painters such as Velazquez, Murillo and Valdes Leal leaving behind their legacy in the shape of their works.
In 1929, the city hosted the Latin American Exhibition, which brought about important urban improvements, and the Expo of 1992 also helped to shape its image as a vibrant and diverse destination.
It is clear that the atmosphere of Seville has not only inspired explorers but the city also has an important cultural heart. It is the setting for the legend of Don Juan and also has numerous operas set in the area. Carmen, The Barber of Seville and La Forza del Destino are all set there.
Things To Do And See
For the Expo 92 World's Fair, the Alamillo Bridge was constructed which is a popular tourist attraction for visitors.
Other famous buildings include the Cathedral of Seville, which has the longest nave in Spain and the Alcazar, the city's old Moorish Palace built in 1181.
There are also other structures of historical significance including the Torre del Oro, built as a watchtower and defensive area on the river, and the Bridge of Triana.
The Parque Maria Luisa is another interesting area. It is filled with monuments and museums and was created for the 1929 Exposicion Ibero-Americana World's Fair.
The city certainly serves up a feast for arts lovers, with five theatres and a number of different musical festivals throughout the year.
No holiday guide would be complete without a mention of the locals' ability to enjoy their nightlife, and the city offers a wide range of bars and clubs.
The many open-air bars along the river are particularly appealing on warm summer evenings, while the streets of Marques de Paradas, Julio Cesar and Adriano are lively for late-night drinking.
Tourists wanting to see an important Spanish festival should visit Seville during the holy week of Easter. It is at this time that many families take part in the solemn but beautiful procession known as Semana Santa.
Later in April it becomes time for the Seville Fair, "La Feria de Sevilla". During this time families often set up tents and spend the week dancing, drinking and socialising. Flamenco dresses are often seen during this festival.
Weather In Seville
The city plays host to blazing hot sun every day from June to September, with virtually no rain and temperatures reaching 40C during the day and 18C in the evening.
The winters are milder, but still tend to be clear and sunny, with the occasional warm and overcast day. The evenings are noticeably cooler, but temperatures can still reach 20C during the day.
Destination Checklist For Seville
- Seville has a population of around 700,000, with a total of 1.5 million in the metro area.
- The city is one hour ahead of the UK.
- The official currency is the Euro.
- Spanish is the official language spoken.
- Seville's international dialling code is +34.
- Our roving reporter reviews his experience of the aforementioned Semana Santa festival here.