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SIGHTSEEINGThe city of Seville has one of the largest historic centers, or Old Towns, in all of Europe. The main sights and monuments can be found within the boundaries of the old city walls, much of which have been dismantled over the years.
The two principal monuments in Seville are the » Cathedral and the » Alcazar, both of which should be on any visitor’s list. The sights in Seville also include palaces, churches, bridges, parks, plazas and many charming neighborhoods.
Seville offers the visitor several advantages when sightseeing: the old city center is compact, and almost all of the major monuments and sights can be accessed on foot. The city is also relatively flat, so exploring on foot is easier. In fact, walking through the city itself should be considered an important part of the sightseeing experience: seeing the typical shops, cafes and tapas bars which make up the everyday life of the sevillano is often just as interesting as visiting a monument. Plus there are countless beautiful buildings, streets and plazas which don’t make the official lists of sights.
MONUMENTSIn this section we cover the major monuments. To the left you can click on the name of any monument, or its location on the small map, to get more information including photos, a short description, opening and closing times, entrance fees and up to date information. Seville has many other interesting sights. For more places to visit, also refer to the section on » More Monuments
HISTORYWith over 2000 years of truly unique history, Seville offers some of the most diverse monuments and historic sites in Spain, if not the world. The Roman Empire occupied the city of Seville and nearby Italica for several centuries, leaving its footprint, with ruins and remnants scattered throughout the city and towns close by. Within Seville the Palacio de Lebrija holds an impressive collection of mosaics from Italica, while the Alameda de Hercules features columns from a roman temple, the rest of which can be found in the Santa Cruz quarter. With the decline of the roman empire came the arrival of the Vandals and Visigoths in the 5th and 6th centuries, although both represented considerably brief periods in the history of the city. Seville stills preserves the history of Visigoth rule mainly through names. Several churches (San Isidoro) and streets (Recaredo) carry the names of important figures from the times, as well as subjects in a few paintings by Murillo.
The early 8th century marked the arrival of Moorish occupiers and Muslim Spain, an occupation which would last for over 500 years, and significantly change the face and culture of the Seville. The Torre del Oro, city walls and layout of the old city center are just some of the remnants of this period. With a quick glance upwards, one can also see many church towers which were former minarets from the many mosques in the old city center. The Reconquest, which officially arrived in Seville in the middle of the 13th century, gave birth to a new mudejar style architecture, where Moorish craftsmen were employed to construct municipal buildings, palaces and churches. This period marked the beginning of the construction of the Cathedral on the site of the former main mosque, as well as much of the Reales Alcazares.
Seville also flourished for with the discovery of the New World, and for several centuries reaped the benefits of trade as an inland river port where goods were cleared for entry into the country. The present day Archivo de Indias was a clearing house, and is now the world’s largest repository of documents related to the exploration of the New World. Finally, in the early and late 20th century Seville was marked by two Expositions. The failed 1929 Latin American Exposition was suspended with the economic crisis of 1929. Before the suspension the exposition saw the construction of such monuments as the Plaza de Espana, as well as the extension of the city along what is now Avenida de la Palmera. In 1992, the more successful World’s Fair saw the development of modern Seville, with the development of the Cartuja Island, as well as many public works and improvements to the city’s infrastructure.
While Seville boasts an impressive history and many monuments, we always recommend that you not limit your time to the standard sights. A visit should include a casual stroll through any of the old city center quarters to take in the little details. Seville’s private homes feature beautiful patios, and there are many quaint streets with small stores and artisan workshops. The local food markets also offer a glimpse of daily life, while weekly markets such as antiques on Thursday’s (“El Jueves” on calle Feria), or the collectables market (Plaza del Cabildo on Sundays) are always of interest. These are all important parts of the city’s current history which links to the past, and this is why Seville is such a unique city to visit.
CITY MAPOur new Interactive City Map includes all of the monument locations in better detail. You can calculate walking distances and get directions from your accommodation to the monuments, as well as see the main public transportation points.
TOURSIf you are interested in learning more about the sights and monuments in the city, there are a wide range Tours you can book online: specific monuments or the city center as a whole, private tours or group walking tours, even customized tours if you have specific interests.
EXPLORESEVILLEOur sister web site has a wealth of general information about Seville, including a monthly events calendar, special features, restaurants and tapas sections. And if you are looking for further ideas don’t miss the section on “57 Things to do in Seville”.