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15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seville

Seville casts a spell of enchantment over visitors from the minute they step foot on the quaint
cobblestone lanes and stroll the palm-lined promenades. Elegant edifices, old-fashioned
street lamps, and horse-drawn carriages create a magical ambience, and the sights are as
stunning as the atmosphere. Seville's cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Christendom
with a majestic tower that was once the minaret of a great mosque. Another relic of the
Moorish past, the Alcázar dazzles with its lavish Mudéjar decor and lush gardens. Discover
the charm of this quintessential Andalusian city in the peaceful courtyards and winding alleys
of the medieval Barrio Santa Cruz. Take a walk through the beautiful Parque de María Luisa,
and bask in the sun at the Plaza de España, Seville's most graceful square. Fun-loving
tourists will want to watch the feisty flamenco performances and take part in the city's
famously flamboyant festivals.

1 Catedral de Sevilla

Catedral de Sevilla

Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in Christendom, unmatched in


its impressive scale and abundance of art treasures. Listed as a UNESCO
World Heritage Site, this incomparable monument was constructed between
1402 and 1506 on the site of the town's principal mosque. The Giralda
Tower was originally the minaret of the mosque built in the 12th century by Almohad
Moorish rulers. This 93-meter-high tower of the cathedral is still the emblem of
Seville. To arrive at the cathedral, visitors walk through the Patio de los
Naranjos (Patio of Orange Trees), which was the forecourt of the mosque. The
octagonal fountain in the center is a remnant of the Islamic midha, the fountain for
religious ablutions.

Entering the cathedral, visitors are immediately awestruck by the immense


proportions of the nave. The five-aisled interior extends 117 meters in length and 76
meters across and soars to 40 meters in height. This overwhelming space is the most
grandiose Gothic interior in Spain. The Capilla Mayor (Main Chapel) features a
resplendent retablo, considered a masterpiece of Gothic woodcarving. In the center
is a silver image of the Virgen de la Sede surrounded by 45 scenes from the Life of
Christ and the Life of the Virgin. In the south transept stands a striking monument to
Christopher Columbus, fitting of his historic stature. Behind the Capilla Mayor is
the Capilla Real(Royal Chapel). Built between 1551 and 1575, this domed
Renaissance chapel contains the royal tombs. The Sacristía Mayor is a magnificent
16th-century chamber that contains a large candelabrum and a crucifix by Pieter de
Kempeneer. Within the Sacristía Mayor, the Treasury displays the precious gem-
adorned crown of the Virgen de los Reyes.

For a break from sightseeing after visiting the cathedral, head to the Calle de las
Sierpes, north of the Plaza Nueva. This narrow pedestrian lane is Seville's main
shopping street, lined with shops, cafés, and restaurants. For a special treat, stop at
the Confiteria la Campana to sample enticing Andalusian confections such as
candied figs, oranges, and pears.

Address: Catedral de Seville, Plaza del Triunfo, Avenida de la Constitución, Seville

2 Barrio Santa Cruz: Seville's Most Charming


Neighborhood
Brimming with old-fashioned Sevillian charm, the Barrio de Santa Cruz was
the Judería (Jewish quarter) during the medieval era under Moorish rule.
Many of the quarter's churches were originally synagogues. The Barrio Santa
Cruz is found in between the cathedral and the Alcazar. This medieval
neighborhood is characterized by its labyrinth of cobblestone pedestrian lanes
(too narrow for cars), whitewashed houses with attractive patios, and
picturesque shaded plazas with outdoor cafés. Many of the quiet courtyards,
such as the Plaza Doña Elvira, are planted with fragrant orange trees.
The Plaza Santa Cruz features rose beds and a 17th-century wrought-iron
cross in the center. At the Plaza Refinadores, visitors will find a statue of Don
Juan Tenorio, a famous local literary character.

The Barrio Santa Cruz has two noteworthy museums: the Centro de
Interpretación Judería de Sevilla (Calle Ximenez Encisco 22A) that
illustrates the history of the city's Sephardim (Spanish Jews) and the Hospital
de los Venerables Sacerdotes (8 Plaza de los Venerables), a 17th-century
hospital for retired priests that now houses the Fundación Focus Abengoa
collection of Spanish paintings and sculptures. Be sure to stroll through
the Jardines de Murillo, beautiful gardens filled with palm trees, fountains,
and beautifully tiled benches. For an excellent view of the cathedral, head to
the Plaza del Patio de Banderas.

3 Real Alcázar

Real Alcázar
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Real Alcázar was originally the
medieval fortress of Moorish rulers and later of the Christian kings. The palace was
built in the 10th century for Moorish rulers. In the 11th century, it was governed by the
legendary Moorish ruler and poet al-Mutamid. After the Christian Reconquest in the
1360s, Moorish architects created the Mudéjar-style buildings for King Pedro the
Cruel. Visitors enter the palace through the Puerta Principal that leads to the Patio
de las Doncellas. This elegant courtyard was built between 1369 and 1379 and
exemplifies Islamic architecture with magnificent arches featuring open arabesque
work above 52 marble columns. The oldest of the rooms, the Sala de los
Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors) has a splendid stalactitic dome ceiling with
decorative friezes and inscriptions in Arabic script. Off the Patio del Leon (Patio of the
Lion) is the Sala de Audiencias, one of the most ornately decorated rooms in the
palace, featuring a lavish artesonado (intricately carved wood) ceiling.

Be sure to save plenty of time to explore the gardens. These beautifully manicured
grounds are filled with leafy palms, sweet orange trees, and colorful roses. In
traditional Andalusian style, courtyards, decorative pools, and refreshing fountains
are the centerpieces of the landscaping. Across from the Alcazar is the Casa
Lonja, which houses the UNESCO-listed Archivo de Indias, an archive of
documents from Spain's colonial years in the New World.

Address: Plaza del Triunfo, Seville


Official site: http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/

4 Parque de María Luisa and Plaza de España

Parque de María Luisa and Plaza de España


Inside the Parque de María Luisa, the Plaza de España is one of Seville's
most impressive landmarks because of its scale and grandeur. The enormous
50,000-square-meter plaza is surrounded by the balustraded balconies of a
Renaissance Neo-Moorish style building. This semicircular building curves
around, following the shape of the canal running through the square. A
monumental fountain is a graceful centerpiece of the square, while the
peaceful canal is crossed by four footbridges. Tourists can rent a rowboat for
the afternoon to experience the "Venice of Seville" or opt for an equally
romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the park.

The Parque de María Luisa, with the Plaza de España at its center, was the
site of the Exposiciones Universales in 1929. The park is close to the river,
and the main entrance is at the Avenida de Isabel la Católica. This expansive
and beautiful green space was created by the Infanta María Luisa Fernanda
de Borbón. The grounds are filled with exotic palms, orange trees, elms, and
Mediterranean pines. Lovely historic buildings and colorful tiled benches add
to the dreamy ambience, and the landscaping features decorative flower beds,
shady avenues, Moorish fountains, and ornamental pools. Visitors will enjoy a
leisurely stroll through the park, while discovering hidden surprises along the
way such as ponds and pavilions.

5 Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts)

Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) Olivier Bruchez / photo modified
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Seville has an exceptional museum of fine art, housed in the 17th-century Convento
de la Merced. This museum is considered to have the best collection of painting in
Spain after the Prado in Madrid. The collection covers art works from the Gothic
period through the 20th century. The representation of works by 17th-century
Spanish painters is especially noteworthy. Visitors will see some of the best paintings
by famous Spanish artists including as El Greco, Pacheco, Velázquez, and Alonso
Cano. The museum has a special focus on masterpieces by Murillo as well as works
by the Seville school of the 17th century. The religious paintings by Zurbarán are also
excellent.

Address: 9 Plaza del Museo, Seville

6 Santa Semana (Holy Week Festival)


Santa Semana (Holy Week Festival)

The Semana Santa celebration in Seville is one of the most exciting festivals in
Spain. Following centuries-old traditions, the Catholic brotherhoods (cofradías and
hermandades) from the different quarters of the town participate in elaborate
processions. Clad in penitents' garb, they carry impressive floats that display ornately
decorated figures of saints. The main procession is the eve of Good Friday and on
Good Friday morning. The ceremonies held in the cathedral during Holy Week are
particularly splendid.

During the rest of the year, visitors can still see the famous icon of the Holy Week
procession at the Basilica de la Macarena (Calle Macarena). This church possesses
the figure of the Virgen de la Macarena, which is displayed on a lavish float during
Holy Week. With a tender expression and tears running down her cheeks, this Virgin
figure evokes an emotional response.

7 Museo del Baile Flamenco (Museum of Flamenco


Dance)
Seville is famous for its flamenco, a flamboyant art form with roots in the
Gypsy culture. Flamenco includes both dancing and singing, but most
importantly, it is an expression of the soul. The best flamenco dancers have
technical process as well as a special gift of channeling the emotions. The
Museo del Baile Flamenco celebrates the beauty of flamenco with exhibits on
all aspects of the art: dancing, singing, and guitar. This innovative museum
features flamenco costumes, creative video displays, and other educational
exhibits. The museum also has a Flamenco School and hosts
professional Flamenco Performances daily from 7pm-8pm all year long.

Another place to see authentic flamenco dance is at El Palacio Andaluz, a


traditional tablao-style (small venue) theater that offers intimate performances.
This 19th-century theater is near the Basilica de la Macarena.

Address: Museo del Baile Flamenco, 3 Calle de Manuel Rojas Marcos, Seville

8 Real Maestranza Bull Ring and Bullfighting


Museum

Real Maestranza Bull Ring and Bullfighting Museum


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The Real Maestranza is one of the finest bullrings in Spain, and with seating
for 14,000 spectators, it is also one of the largest. Built in 1761, the Real
Maestranza is an emblematic landmark of Seville and its famous tradition of
bullfighting. Designed in Baroque style, the Real Maestranza features graceful
arcaded seating that provides welcome shade on sunny days. The bullring has
an oval shape, which is unique among Spanish bullrings. Housed within the
bullring is a museum. The collection exhibits traditional costumes,
photographs, and paintings related to the dramatic art of bullfighting.

Address: 12 Paseo de Colón, Seville


Official site: http://www.realmaestranza.com/index-iden-idhtml.html

9 Casa de Pilatos

Casa de Pilatos
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The 16th-century Casa de Pilatos is believed to be a replica of Pilate's house


in Jerusalem. Built by Moorish and Christian architects, the house features a
variation of Mudéjar style, with Gothic and Renaissance details. Typical of
Andalusian architecture, the building has a central patio adorned
with azulejos (colorful ceramic tiles) and antique sculptures. The Salón Dorado
(Golden Room) is a beautiful room with faience decorations and
an artesonado (coffered wood) ceiling. The main staircase and the private
chapel are also noteworthy. A collection of ancient Roman sculptures is
displayed throughout the house.

Address: 1 Plaza de Pilatos, Seville


Official site: http://www.fundacionmedinaceli.org/monumentos/pilatos/
10 Archeology Museum

Archeology Museum

Located within the Parque de María Luisa, the Archaeological Museum occupies a Neo-
Renaissance pavilion built for the Latin American Expo of 1929. The collection begins with
the early Paleolithic period; continues with Phoenician, Greek, and Roman antiquities; and
finishes with Moorish and Mudéjar items from the Middle Ages. The ground floor displays
artifacts discovered at the Itálica archaeological site (nine kilometers away) in the province
of Seville. Among the highlights are the gold jewelry and a statue of Diana. Another
remarkable piece is the Carambolo Treasure from the Tartessian period, which is displayed
in its own room on the first floor. This room contains a reproduction of the gold treasure and
a shrine dedicated to Phoenician divinities.

Address: Plaza de America, Seville

11 Barrio de Triana
This historic quarter of Seville has its own distinct character and identity. Across the
river from the main tourist attractions of Seville, the quarter has the ambience of
being a world apart. Similar to the Barrio Santa Cruz, the Barrio de Triana is a maze
of narrow cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways leading to atmospheric squares.
What distinguishes the Barrio de Triana is its heritage as a traditional potters' quarter
as well as its Gypsy community. For centuries, the people of this neighborhood have
used the clay from the banks of the Guadalquivir River to create authentic Andalusian
ceramics.

The ceramic workshops of the Barrio de Triana, mostly located on the Calle Callao,
the Calle Antillano Campos, and the Calle Alfareria, are especially renowned for
their fine azulejos, glazed ceramic tiles adorned with colorful geometric patterns-a
legacy of Andalusia's Moorish aesthetic. The boutiques of this quarter also sell
beautiful decorative ceramic plates, cups, pitchers, serving pieces, and other objects
for the home. After browsing the little shops, tourists will be ready for a meal at one of
the neighborhood's riverfront restaurants; many have outdoor terraces overlooking
the monuments of Seville. An interesting trivia fact about the Barrio de Triana: From
this quarter near the San Telmo Bridge, Magellan set out for his voyage around the
world.

12 Monasterio de Santa Paula

Monasterio de Santa Paula Juanra Peralta

This Monasterio de Santa Paula was founded by Doña Ana de Santillan in


1473 for the Jerónimas nuns. For five centuries, this monastery has been
devoted to divine worship and study of Scripture. Within the cloisters of the
building, the monastery possesses an important art collection. Tourists can
visit the monastery to discover its artistic heritage. Sometimes the nuns can
also be found selling their handmade cakes and confections here.

Address: 11 Calle Santa Paula, Seville


13 Ayuntamiento (Town Hall)

Ayuntamiento (Town Hall)


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This impressive 15th-century town hall was designed in the Plateresque style
by Diego de Riaño. The intricately carved reliefs on the southern facade depict
figures from historical stories and mythology as well as emblems of the storied
founders of the city, Hercules and Caesar. The building was renovated in the
19th century with a Neoclassical main facade that looks out onto the Plaza
Nueva. A small archway connects the town hall building to the adjacent
Franciscan monastery. Tourists may make an appointment to visit the interior,
which contains several important artistic works including a painting of the
town's patron saints, Justa and Rufina.

Address: 1 Plaza Nueva, Seville

14 Biblioteca Colombina
The son of Christopher Columbus, Hernando Colón, put together the collection
for this library between 1496 and 1539. The Biblioteca Colombina is one of the
most important collections of Renaissance-era volumes in Spain, with a
special focus on the humanist writings of the Golden Age. Originally Colón
amassed a collection of 15,000 volumes by buying books on his travels
through Europe. Unfortunately, many of the original volumes were lost. Today,
the library contains 3,200 volumes, including 1,250 incunabula and 587
manuscripts. One of the most noteworthy items in the collection is the Libro de
las Profecías, a biography of Christopher Columbus.

Address: Calle Alemanes, Seville

15 Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija


The Palacio Lebrija is a lovely aristocratic Sevillian mansion. The palace was
designed to impress with its grand staircase leading up to the entrance and
gorgeous artesonado ceilings. The walls are decorated with Arabic-style
plateresque ornamentation, and the courtyard is filled with Andalusian plants.
This palace also displays archaeological treasures including ancient mosaics,
glasses, vases, and sculptures.

Address: 8 Calle Cuna, Seville

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