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With a population of 1.3 million, Seville (Spanish: Sevilla) is Spain’s fourth largest city and is the cultural, political and artistic heart of the south.  

According to the Greeks and Romans, the city of Hispalis was founded by Herakles, the greatest of the Greek heroes. Although no one knows for sure if that was the case, what is certain is that the city (now known as Seville) has always been one of the most important centers for commerce in the world. Before the arrival of the Romans in Iberia, the city was used as a center of trade by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, among others. From 711 until 1248, the city was an important port for the Moors, who named it Isbiliyyah.

The city is perfectly situated to be a port. It is located several miles inland, but still only a few feet above sea level and is connected to the ocean by the Guadalquivir River, which is navigable as far as Seville. By the Renaissance Era, Seville was Spain’s most important port: Christopher Columbus set sail on his famous voyages from there, and the city served as the Spanish Empire’s administrative center for the New World. The famous Spanish treasure fleets that came from the New World all arrived in Seville.

Today, Seville is a dynamic, modern city. It was host to the World’s Fair in 1992: the famous Alamillo Bridge, now a visitor attraction, was built for the occasion. It made serious bids to host the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, and although it lost both times, it will probably try again in the future. It has hosted other major sporting events, including the Davis Cup (tennis) in 2004.

Visitors to Seville will be delighted by the variety of things to see and do in the city. The magnificent cathedral, the largest Gothic or medieval cathedral ever constructed, is known for its majestic, gold-filled interior. The remains of Christopher Columbus are housed in the cathedral (although this is disputed by the Dominican Republic, which claims his bones are at rest there). The cathedral, built over a Muslim mosque, still retains some of the earlier styles and structures, most notably the Giralda Tower, which was once a minaret but was converted into a bell tower. At 97.5 meters, the Giralda was for a time the tallest building in the world: today, Sevillanos consider it the defining image of their city. Across from the cathedral, the Alcázar, or old Moorish Palace, is a can’t-miss stop for anyone visiting the town.

During Holy Week (also known as Easter Week), the streets of Seville host the largest celebration of its sort in the world. Thousands of visitors fill the city to see the colorful, solemn processions.


Other places nearby Sevilla: Granada,

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
14 Jun 2007

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