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According to legend, Seville was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civillisation. It was called Hispalis under the Romans and Isbiliya with the Moors. Its high point in its history was following the discovery of America.
Seville lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir and is one of the largest historical centres in Europe, it has the Mohammedan minaret of La Giralda, the cathedral (one of the largest in Christendom), and the Alcazar Palace. Part of its treasure inlcude Casa de Pilatos, the Town Hall, Archive of the Indies (where the historical records of the American continent are kept), the Fine Arts Museum (the second picture gallery in Spain), plus convents, parish churches and palaces.
It has hosted two international exhibitions (1929 and 1992) and is the administrative capital of Andalucia. The quarter of Triana on the other side of the river, La Macarena, Santa Cruz and San Bartolomé, the street of Las Sierpes, plus La Maestranza bullring, Maria Luisa park and the riverside walks are all representative images of Seville.
For all its important monuments and fascinating history, Seville is universally famous for being a joyous town. While the Sevillians are known for their wit and sparkle, the city itself is striking for its vitality. It is the largest town in Southern Spain, the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro.
The Sevillians are great actors and put on an extraordinary performance at their annual Feria de Abril, a week-long party of drink, food and dance which takes place day and night in more than a thousand especially mounted tents. But above all it allows the men to parade on their fine horses and the women to dance in brilliantly coloured gypsy dresses.
Immediately before that is Holy Week, Semana Santa, a religious festival where hooded penitents march in long processions followed by huge baroque floats on which sit images of the Virgin or Christ, surrounded by cheerful crowds. Both spring events are well worth experiencing.
In Seville, you will want to visit the old city, with the Cathedral and the Giralda tower at its heart. (You can climbe the steps inside the tower for a magnificent view of the City). Very close by are the royal Mudéjar palace known as the Alcazar with marvellous gardens and the Santa Cruz quarter, with cramped streets, flowered balconies, richly decorated facades, hidden patios.. Other sights not to be missed are, in the old city, the Casa de Pilatos, a large sixteenth-century mansion where Mudéjar, Gothic and Renaissance styles blend harmoniously amidst exuberant patios and gardens and, crossing the Triana bridge over the large Guadalquivir river, the lively popular quarter of Triana with charming narrow streets around the church of Santa Ana and traditional ceramic factories.
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