Seville or Sevilla, is the capital of the Andalusia region in Spain. It is among the major cities in the country, providing friendly environment for tourists and investors as well. The hectic city centre is also very safe for travellers going on foot, since several of the great attractions are only walking distances apart.
There is a charm and compelling fascination about Seville which produces in the traveller visiting the city for the first time a sensation of physical ecstasy. The spell of the Pearl of Andalusia is instant and enduring; I have not met a man or woman proof against its witchery. George Borrow shed tears of rapture as he beheld Seville from the Cristina Promenade, and listened to the thrush and the nightingale piping forth their melodious songs in the woods, and inhaled the breeze laden with the perfume of its thousand orange gardens. The Moors left their beloved capital at the height of its prosperity, in the full flower of its beauty; change has not affected its material importance, and time has not staled its infinite variety. A Christian Cathedral now stands on the foundation of the great mosque of Abu Yakub Yusuf; but the Moorish Giralda, the most expressive monument of the Mohammedan occupation, still beckons the distant traveller onwards to the promised land; the Alcazar breathes the spirit of its Oriental masters; and the shim¬mering Torre del Oro still reflects the light of the setting sun upon the broad bosom of the rose-coloured river.
The history of Seville from the time of its subjugation by Musa is a volume of romance ; its pages are illumined by the cold light of flashing steel and stained with the blood of tyrants, traitors, and innocent men; but it forms a chronicle which the reader will follow with absorbing interest. The more exacting student will satisfy his thirst for knowledge in Dr Dozy’s “History of the Mohammedans of Spain” in Gayangos1 translation of El Makkari!s “History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain”’ in Coppee’s “History of the Conquest of Spain,” and Pedro de Madrazo’s “Sevilla”—to refer to only a few of the many learned works that have been published on the subject. Many will continue to be content with the few pages of Notes which appear in the various Spanish Guides; but a certain section, it is hoped, of the English travelling public, will find in this book an album, a handbook, and a history which will supply a long-felt want.
Architecture and Climate
Andalusian architecture also originated from this marvelous city, where they execute flamboyant festivities and colorful traditional events. Seville is a concentration of many Spanish truisms – Hearty, Lively and Dreamy.
Seville spreads on the plain at the Guadalquivir River, in a slightly sloping terrain of 7 meters or 23 feet above the sea level. In a recent population study in 2011, the city’s population was 703,021. Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain in terms of population.
The climate in Seville is Mediterranean for the rest of the year. During the month of January, temperature gets real cold since it marks the middle of winter season. Summer, during months July and August, are hot and sunny. The most pleasant weather in Seville comes in May, when the weather is all mild and fresh.
Architecture of the majority of structures in Seville is predominantly of Moorish influence, since the Andalusian region had been in their rule for several hundred years. Many conquerors were evidently captivated by its charm. Phoenicians, Visigoths, Arabs and Romans took settlement upon this rich region.
Seville was believed to have been established 3,000 years ago. Since then, the city has been home to different civilizations. The city has acquired medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Arabic culture, which makes Seville a culturally and historically rich Andalusian city.
According to myth, the city was allegedly founded by Hercules or Melqart as related to a god in Phoenicia. It was said the Hercules sailed the Atlantic coming from the Strait of Gibraltar. He founded Cadiz, and Seville afterwards, and made them to be trading points.
Seville had been under five hundred years of Islamic rule. The Moors conquered the city starting in 712 AD until 1248 AD. During those times, the city grew out beyond the boundaries of the Old Walls. The Islamic centre of Seville used to be situated upon the east bank of the Guadalquivir River. Today, the Cathedral is now sitting on the location where the 12th century Almohad Great Mosque once stood.
Beginning 1147 AD, North African Almoravids followed by Almohads set Seville as capital of Al-Andalus replacing Cordoba. The Great Mosque was constructed in the later part of the 12th century under the Almohad caliph Abu Ya’qub Yusuf.
In 1248, the Catholic Reconquista (reconquest) has successfully gained control of Seville under the leadership of King Fernando III of Castile. Structures built under the Castilian rule were more of the Mudejar style. The Cathedral de Sevilla that was constructed in the 15th century was designed in Gothic architecture.
Seville’s Golden Age came after Christopher Columbus set sail in his expedition to the New World in 1492. Along with conquering territories for the then emerging Spanish empire, the expedition brought along significantly large amount of trade from the West Indies that was a great benefit to the city. The population in Seville grew to almost a million during this period. It was only in the late 16th century that Seville’s monopoly of New World merchandise was broken.
In 1649, the city was hit by the Great Plague which hugely decreased Seville’s population. By the 18th Century, Guadalquivir accumulated silt that ceased shipping in the river, resulting to further financial decline.
By the late 19th century, Seville gradually recovered from the economic depression of the previous centuries. The population increased and industrialization came to the city. In 1929, Seville hosted the Spanish-American Exposition. Afterwards, several modern structures like Parque Maria Luisa and Plaza de Espana were built.
In 1936, General Quiepo de Llano initiated a coup that led to the Spanish Civil War. In 1992, Seville once again hosted an exhibition of state-of-the-art attractions in the Isla de Cartuja.
Seville is the most alluring city in the Spanish Andalusian region. Deciding to visit Seville is a great idea for those looking for a worthwhile vacation filled with history, tradition and pleasing ardour.