Located in southern Spain, Seville is the capital of Andalusia and as the economic powerhouse of the region, it offers everything from culture, history, architecture, and beautiful landscape to its visitors.
As Seville was founded by the Romans but ruled by the Moors from the 8th to the 13th centuries, many of the city’s landmarks are exciting fusions of Christian and Muslim influence.
Seville deserves many days to truly appreciate all its beauty, but if you are pressed for time, you can centre your visit on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as one of the most beautiful parks in Europe.
Explore the Cathedral
The Cathedral of Seville is opulent and majestic and is one of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city. Built in the early 16th century, it is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world.
Most notably, the Cathedral is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus’ remains, and a visit to the Cathedral’s treasury is also a must, to view a fine array of fascinating solid gold artefacts.
If you’re up for a physical challenge, you can climb to the top of the Giralda, a former minaret converted to a bell tower located at the Cathedral. The iconic medieval tower offers a breathtaking view of the city.
Follow Columbus’ Footsteps in the Alcázar
The word Alcázar is derived from the Arabic word meaning “palace, castle, or fort”. The Alcázar of Seville was originally a Moorish fort built in 913. After the various extensions to the original structure, the Christians took over in 1248.
The Christian Spanish monarchs admired the Moorish architectural style, so they made many additions to the Alcázar. The most impressive of such additions is the Moorish Palace by King Pedro I.
Some of the best sights within the palace are the Admirals Quarters, where Queen Isabella met with Christopher Columbus after one of his voyages.
The Alcázar of Seville also served as the backdrop for many scenes from Game of Thrones, when the action was taking place in the ancient city of Dorne. Jaime Lannister’s scenes with the Sand Snakes took place around the Alcázar – which offered the majesty as well as the intense heat with which Dorne was depicted.
Take a breather at the Maria Luisa Park
Built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition, The Maria Luisa Park is a great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
The park is awash with monuments, ponds, fountains, and one interesting building not to be missed is called the Queen’s Sewing Box, a hexagonal castle with turrets at each corners. The monument to Miguel de Cervantes and the Fountain of the Lions are also worth visiting.
Got more than one day?
If you decide one day just isn’t enough in this seductive city, you won’t regret it. You can round out your World Heritage tour by visiting the General Archive of the Indies, the repository of documents regarding the exploration of the Americas. You’ll want to spend plenty of time here exploring all the exhibition has on show.
Image credits: Alexander Savin, Herry Lawford, John Picken Photography, Toni Rodrigo, Jorge Franganillo