Seville, The Historic Andalusian Capital

Today we spend the day exploring Seville. Unfortunately for our group, the rain continues to fall on us. But the locals seem happy because they've had little to no rain so far this season and their mountains really need the snow for snow melt in the spring.

Our local guide Lydia meets us at our hotel (Novotel Sevilla) and gives a briefing on the city as we make our way through the morning traffic.  

Sevilla is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the River Guadalquivir, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Seville has a municipal population of about 690,000 as of 2016, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the largest city in Andalusia, the fourth-largest city in Spain below Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

Its old town, with an area of 4 square kilometres (2 sq mi), contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. 

The Seville harbor, located about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain.
Torre del Oro

In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan departed from Seville for the first circumnavigation of the Earth. 

In 1929 the city hosted the Ibero-American Exposition, which accelerated the southern expansion of the city and created new public spaces such as the Plaza de España and the Maria Luisa Park.

We take a stroll along Calle Aqua and check out the two old pipes from the 12th century. The moors added on to the 10 mile long Roman aqueduct to carry water to the Alcázar. 

We turn around and view the Rosina's balcony from the "The Barber of Seville" an opera by Gioachino Rossini.

 We slowly make our way to the largest gothic cathedral in the world,  St. Mary of the See Cathedral. It's also the 3rd largest cathedral in Europe next to St. Peter's at the Vatican and St. Paul's in London.

The Moors ruled in Spain from 711 until 1492. From 1184-1198 the mosque and minaret where built. In 1248 after the "reconquest" by Ferdinand II, the mosque was declared a cathedral. From 1528-1621 the cathedral went though it's Renaissance period with work on the Royal Chapel, Main Vestry, Chapter House and it's annexes.  From 1434-1517 the gothic cathedral was created. 

The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville. Its height is 343 feet (105 m) and its square base is 23 feet (7.0 m) above sea level and 44 feet (13 m) long per side.
The Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. 

 In the 16th century the belfry was added by the architect Hernán Ruiz the Younger; the statue on its top, called "El Giraldillo", was installed in 1568 to represent the triumph of the Christian faith.

We toured the interior of the cathedral. The High Altar makes you gasp at the detail and unbelievable size. 

The Choir was created in the 13th Century.

The Chapter House was created by Hernán Ruiz in the 16th Century.

And there's the Tomb of Christopher Columbus from the 19th Century.

We take the plunge and climb the 20 minute climb to the top The Giralda. I'm sure the views from the top would have been more spectacular if the weather had cooperated but what can you do?

All that stair and ramp climbing got us hungry and the rain was relentless. So we found a nice cozy place for lunch near the cathedral. 
Genova where everything was delicious and the service was great.

To walk off some of our lunch calories, we decided to visit the Real Alcazar. If you are a "Games Of Thrones" fan (and I am) Real Alcazar was used in Season 5 for scenes of Dorne and the Water gardens. Check out the YouTube videos.

The Alcazar is a 10th century palace built for the Moorish Kings. It's also the oldest royal home in Europe still in use. The palace is decorated with a mix of Islamic and Christian designs.

After our royal garden in the rain adventure, we decide to take in a Flamenco performance at Museo del Baile Flamenco. They don't allow photography during the performance but I grabbed a photo of my sangria before the show.

We grab a taxi back to the hotel after the show. We enjoy a simple carpet picnic while organizing our luggage. Tomorrow we travel to the Costa del Sol but first we stop in Ronda, a village in the Spanish province of Málaga.

More photos from our adventure:

Nancy Nutile-McMenemy is an Upper Valley freelance photographer and writer who loves to attend concerts and local events in and around Weathersfield and the Upper Valley.

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