Seville is absolutely one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The old Jewish quarter, Santa Cruz, is really unique. The narrow streets and graceful courtyards, the scent of jasmine and orange blossom in spring, the many typical Andalusia style squares and colourful flowers on the balconies and the magic light in the south of Spain makes Seville a very special city. When you visit Seville you immediately notice that the people are different from other places in Spain, they are somehow more Spanish!
Seville is one of the best cities in Spain to enjoy delicious Spanish tapas and wine or beer at the many typical Tapas Bars in the city, and again the Santa Cruz quarter is to be mentioned when looking for tapas, wine and fun in Seville.
Festivals in Seville
There always seems to be something going on in Seville: The people in the city loves to party and there are many celebrations and festivals trough the year. The two most important events are Easter (Semana Santa) and The April Fair (Feria de Sevilla – Feria de Abril).
Easter or Holy Week is celebrated with beautiful processions day and night. The religious Easter celebrations in Seville are considered to be the very best in Spain and the city is crowded.
La Feria de Sevilla or Feria de Abril is the biggest party you ever will find. During the fair the party is going on day and night. Women and men dressed up in colourful flamenco dresses, flamenco music, horses, horse carriages, lights, flamenco dancing, wine and food, bullfights and a huge temporary amusement park: That’s LA FERIA DE SEVILLA!
For many reasons, Seville and its province are something more than just another tourist destination: in this corner of Spain’s geography, history and traditions live on in a time of their own; always contemporary while blending the realities of yesterday and today. There are festivities all year round in the province of Seville. Every year, each of the 104 villages celebrates its saint’s day, holds a fair or organises a pilgrimage…, not forgetting Holy Week. Full of local colour, all these captivating events will arouse the interest of the visitor, heightening the enjoyment of his stay. Most of the province’s fairs and fiestas take place from April to October. A good number of Flamenco Festivals of some renown are also held, mainly in the summer, while February is the time for carnival; May, Cruces de Mayo; June, the festivity of Corpus Christi; and January, the Procession of Twelfth Night.
As there are so many villages all over the province holding so many fairs and fiestas, it would be impossible to describe them all, or even to provide a summary of the main ones: they are all of interest, they are all full of tradition and beauty; there is nothing artificial about them. They all give the visitor the chance to join in the fun and enjoy the hospitality of the people of Seville.
In the city, a combination of external factors, such as the climate and the broad cultural spectrum which has forged Seville’s character since its foundation, is still reflected today in the form of its fiestas, some of which are known and admired all over the world; for instance, Holy Week and the April Fair.
Unquestionably, Holy Week is Seville’s grand fiesta, unique in its aesthetic and spiritual intensity. In the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, nearly 60 brotherhoods take to the streets to re-enact the Passion of Christ. Although many of the brotherhoods were founded by people of note or ecclesiastic congregations, their origin dates back to the first guild meetings of the sixteenth century; hence the tradition of starting out at their own particular church to join a procession of penitence in which all districts and social groups are represented.
One of the salient features in Seville’s Holy Week is the involvement of the sevillanos themselves, either as part of the processions or as spectators, adopting a different attitude in accordance with the theme of the procession, with unfailing respect for the brotherhoods.
Seville’s brotherhoods are active all year round, holding solemn ceremonies of devotion to their respective images of Christ and the Virgin Mary. They also do a lot of charity and social work. In most cases, the brotherhoods have two pasos (huge, mobile altars borne on the penitents’ shoulders): one depicting Christ and the other, the Virgin, placed beneath a canopy. The procession makes its way along the streets of the city to Plaza de la Campana, where the “official itinerary” begins. Passing City Hall, the procession ends at the cathedral. So that everything runs smoothly, the brotherhoods must strictly abide by the times set by the General Board of Brotherhoods of Seville, the brotherhoods’ highest governing body.
Many of Seville’s Holy Week images are admired and revered beyond the bounds of the city. Instances which immediately come to mind are the Virgen de la Esperanza Macarena and Señor del Gran Poder. Their respective brotherhoods bear them along the streets in the procession held early in the morning on Good Friday. Moreover, some of the images worshipped by Seville’s brotherhoods are true works of art, born of the hands of artists like Martínez Montañés, Juan de Mesa, Ruiz Gijón, Bautista Vázquez el Viejo and Francisco de Ocampo.
Two weeks after Easter or holy week the Seville April Fair takes place. It was conceived in the mid-nineteenth century by two councillors (curiously, a Basque and a Catalan) as an agricultural and cattle fair, consisting of just three stalls. Although the idea was to boost trade, it was not long before the stalls outnumbered the livestock, making the fair into Seville’s greatest social event. Its rural origin, reflected today in the typical Andalusian figure on horseback, wearing a short jacket and a broad-rimmed hat, blends in harmoniously with the signs of urban progress.
This social event is swathed in two entirely different atmospheres: the morning fair and the night fair. At the morning fair, which, incidentally, does not start until about three o’clock in the afternoon, the sevillanos, who are not to be hurried, calmly turn up for lunch on horseback or in pony carts. The meal, a relaxed affair, usually lasts until the early evening. In contrast, at the night fair, there are no horses or pony carts as, in accordance with municipal regulations, they must be removed from the fair’s enclosure by eight o’clock in the evening.
At night, the atmosphere is livelier and, for some years now, there has been a predominance of young people. At both fairs, some sing and dance while others savour the tasty dishes and refreshing wines, all made locally. The stalls at the April Fair may be public or private. Public ones include those set up by the various municipal districts. Here, like the stalls belonging to the local football associations, brotherhoods, employers’ associations, political parties and other societies, admission is free. Private stalls belong to groups of friends, relatives or associations and collectives, where admission is limited.
Many believe that the beautiful buildings in los Reales Alcazares in Seville where built as a Moorish fort by the Emir, Abderraman II. But no. The superb and absolutely stunning palaces Reales Alcazares in Seville where built by Moorish workmen, but for King Pedro the Cruel of Castille. The Reales Alcazares is an absolute must see when you visit Seville.
Casa de Piltos is one of the finest palaces palaces in Seville. It was built by The First Marquis of Tarifa in the late 1400's, to resemble Pontius Pilate's residence in Jerusalem. The palace is owned now by the Duke of Medinaceli and is the most beautiful private residence in Seville, which is luckily open to the public. You'll see beautiful Roman busts, an interesting fusion of Renaissance and Mudejar architectural styles and a collection of family paintings including ones of Barbera de Braganza who once lived there.
The tower La Giralda is a landmark in Seville.
Discover Seville in the south of Spain: There are many more interesting cultural visits and walking tours around the City of Seville that are well worth to discover. Seville is a bustling and very big city full of rich history an many places to visit. The must sees in Seville are really very hard to count: Historic Buildings, typical Andalusia Quarters, Catholic Monasteries and fascinating picturesque south Spanish streets are waiting to be discovered by first time visitors to Seville. And then to be visited again and again by those that already discovered the enchant of Seville. Seville is a beautiful city that is full of life and enchantment or as the Spaniards say: Embrujo! Discover more of the magic Seville: Click HERE >>
Day Trips from Seville: Seville is a perfect destination for day trips to many of the the most interesting and fascinating points in Andalusia in Southern Spain. Among the places worth to visit while staying in Seville you find Jerez de la Frontera that is the origin and hometown of sherry wines. Cadiz, the capital of Costa de la Luz and of course the historical city Granada / Grenada where you also find the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens.
Another very interesting day trip from Seville is the city of Cordoba where history and monuments are found everywhere.
Getting there and away
There are several convenient ways of reaching Seville, which is now not only a popular choice among tourists but also the gateway to the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. The city is endowed with a first-class port on the only navigable river in Spain’s inland, the Guadalquivir, along which freighters and cruise ships sail. For those wishing to travel by rail, the main station is Estación de Santa Justa, where the High-Speed Train and Talgo 200 Terminal is located. On these trains, the journey from Madrid to Seville takes just two and a half hours, while Córdoba is only 40 minutes away. The San Pablo International Airport is just 10 km away from
Getting around Seville
There is a municipal bus service, with terminals at Plaza Nueva, Plaza de la Encarnación, Archivo de Indias, Macarena, Puerta Osario, Pasarela-Prado de San Sebastián and Gran Plaza. Saver vouchers are on sale, covering three days and entitling the holder to change routes. Visitors might prefer the tourist voucher.
If the visitor feels like a sightseeing tour of the city, he may opt for a horse-drawn carriage. Tours start at Parque de María Luisa, the cathedral, Plaza del Triunfo, Plaza Virgen de los Reyes and Torre del Oro.
Another option is to tour the city on the bus services run by Sevilla Tour and Servirama, both of which leave every thirty minutes from Torre del Oro, Plaza de España, Isla Mágica and Monasterio de la Cartuja. Tours round the city’s leading sights last one and a half hours.