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Along the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville is a bustling, populous city and the capital of Spain's second-largest autonomous region, Andalusia.
The city bears the imprint of rich history and contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with the Royal Alcazar Palace, the General Archive of the Indies, and the third-largest cathedral in the world, Seville Cathedral, all being awarded the World Heritage status. The historical legacy of Seville, represented in the art galleries, museums, and palaces, adds to the city's appeal.
Seville buzzes with activity on normal days, but no other city in Spain can match the passionate spirit its people bear during the celebration of fiestas such as the April Fair or Semana Santa. The city truly embodies Spanish culture. From the spectacular opulence of the Royal Alcazar to the city's two rival football clubs, Sevilla FC and Real Betis, the city has something for everyone. The different civilizations that played a role in shaping the city's distinct identity have left us with a multicultural, multifaceted city with diverse people.
Keep reading to learn more amazing facts about Seville, Spain! If you enjoy reading this article, then don't forget to check out Spain food facts and Spain flag facts to discover interesting facts about Spain!
Historically, Seville underwent many stages of transformation. The city began its journey as an Iberian town and upon falling under Roman rule in the 2nd century, it came to be known as Hispalis and became the financial hub of Hispania or Spain. However, the seat of power shuffled hands between the 5th and 6th centuries, as the Silingi Vandals overthrew the Romans first and were themselves overthrown shortly afterward. Various occupants succeeded them, including the Suebi and Visigoths, until the throne finally landed under a stable Moorish reign from 711 AD onwards. Spain experienced a period of cultural growth under Muslim rule and the Alcazar or the Royal Palace of Seville, one of the current UNESCO World Heritage Site, was originally the seat of administration of the Almohad dynasty. By 1248, the city was brought under the rule of Spanish Christians with the Castilian conquest and came to be known as Seville.
Spanish discovery of the New World began a particularly burgeoning period for Seville. In 1503, Seville’s Puerto de Indias was granted exclusive privileges of controlling and regulating the commercial interchange with the New World and exercised its monopoly on all transatlantic trade. They required all the imported and exported goods from Latin America and the Indies to pass through Seville's Casa de la Contracion or House of Trade. By the end of the middle ages, Seville experienced significant economic growth and with the influx of wealth, it became one of the richest cities and a commercial center. The demographic map also witnessed a significant change during this period as the population rose to 100,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in Spain. However, Seville's economic monopoly came under jeopardy as the headquarter of the Casa de Contratación was shifted to the nearby port of Cadiz in 1717, and with its relocation faded Seville's importance in the sphere of world commerce.
Seville is situated in Southern Spain, at the heart of the autonomous community of Andalusia, and borders the east bank of the Guadalquivir River. The city serves as the capital of Andalusia, and as the province of Seville. As Spain's fourth-largest city, Seville's population is around 700,000 as of April 2020.
Seville and the west coast city of San Jose in the US lie on the same parallel, on two ends of the Atlantic ocean. A typical Mediterranean climate characterizes the city and residents experience scorching temperatures during the summer months. In contrast, winters are relatively mild.
The Baroque period entailed a golden age of development in Seville. Stunning architecture, historical artworks, and music were among some attributes that flourished during this period and played a role in shaping the city's culture. Seville is the birthplace of many notable patrons of art such as Diego Velazquez and Francisco de Zurbarán whose artistic expressions dominated the Baroque era in Spain and have subsequently left an indelible mark on the blueprint of Spanish culture. It was in Seville prison that Miguel de Cervantes developed his framework for the famous literary masterpiece, Don Quixote after getting involved in some financial discrepancies with the Spanish crown.
The Arabian-esque city of Seville owns a very unique secret code, 'NO8DO' which can be traced back to the reign of King Alfonso, in 1282. The code is a reference to the phrase ‘No me ha dejado' which literally stands for ‘It has not abandoned me'. According to legend, the people of Seville stood for King Alfonso X at a time when his son tried to usurp the throne and seize power for himself. Thus, an interesting interpretation suggests that the slogan was originally drafted by the king to pay homage to Seville's fidelity. To this day, the secret code drives popular sentiments and acts as a tool of symbolic patriotism for the people of Seville.
Sevilla is a hive of activity on normal days and explodes in a mood of contagious celebration during its fiestas. Of these, Semana Santa is a week-long, annual festival celebrated during the week preceding Easter Sunday. Traditionally, elaborate penance processions are held by Catholic brotherhoods all over Spain during this time but, Seville's processions are notable for the pasos. Showing piety isn't the keynote although Semana Santa is a religious festival and it is celebrated by Sevillanos with flamboyant flamenco music and plenty of revelries. Two weeks after Easter Holy week, the city hosts another vibrant fiesta known as the April Fair.
Contrary to popular belief, Flamenco shows serve not only a purpose of entertainment but depict the centuries-long Spanish traditions in a very complex art form that incorporates poetry, guitar playing, singing, and dancing. As one of the most cherished attractions of Seville, these performances abound in every nook and corner of the city. In addition, the city hosts one of the biggest flamenco events, La Bienal, every two years. They celebrate this biennial cultural exhibition through the streets of Seville for about a month.
Tourism is a mainstay in Seville, and there are various tourist attractions abounding in the city.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary or Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic Cathedral and the third-largest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the world. UNESCO also listed it as a World Heritage site. The architectural masterpiece sits on the site of the Great Mosque of Seville. Its bell tower is Giralda, which used to serve as the minaret during the Almohad reign and is among the few surviving parts from their former mosque. The Cathedral famously houses the resting place of Italian explorer and navigator, Christopher Columbus.
The beautiful city of Seville has appeared in several Hollywood movies, which has added to the interest from visiting tourists. Most notably, the extravagant scenes in the popular show 'Game of Thrones' featuring the Kingdom of Dorne were all filmed across different locations in the city. Furthermore, Seville's Plaza de Espana was used as a filming location to depict the city of Theed in the cult classic 'Star Wars'.
Seville's Royal Tobacco Factory is another popular tourist attraction for its architectural grandeur and for being the descendant of Europe's first-ever factory to produce tobacco. The Spanish Empire commissioned it and it began operations in 1758. Even though the former Royal Tobacco Factory went defunct and began to operate as the headquarters of administration of the University of Seville since the 1950s, the building is still open for tourists and houses some incredible art.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Seville Spain facts then why not take a look at Spain Christmas symbols, or soccer in Spain facts?
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