Seville is a Spanish city, it is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir. The inhabitants of the city are known as sevillanos (feminine form: sevillanas) or hispalenses, after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. Seville has a municipal population of about 703,000 as of 2011, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the fourth-largest city in Spain and the 30th most populous municipality in the European Union. Its Old Town, the third largest in Europe with an area of 4 square kilometres (2 sq mi), contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The Seville harbour, located about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain.
Seville was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis, and was known as Ishbiliya (Arabic:إشبيلية) after the Muslim conquest in 712. During the Muslim rule in Spain, Seville came under the jurisdiction of the Caliphate of Córdoba before becoming the independent Taifa of Seville; later it was ruled by the Muslim Almoravids and the Almohads until finally being incorporated into the Christian Kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand III in 1248. After the discovery of the Americas, Seville became one of the economic centres of the Spanish Empire as its port monopolised the trans-oceanic trade and the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) wielded its power, opening a Golden Age of arts and literature. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan departed from Seville for the first circumnavigation of the Earth. Coinciding with the Baroque period of European history, the 17th century in Seville represented the most brilliant flowering of the city's culture; then began a gradual economic and demographic decline as silting in the Guadalquivir forced the trade monopoly to relocate to the nearby port of Cádiz.
The 20th century in Seville saw the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, decisive cultural milestones such as the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and Expo'92, and the city's election as the capital of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia.
Main sights of Seville
The Alcázar, the Cathedral, and the Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Cathedral of St. Mary was built from 1401–1519 after the Reconquista on the former site of the city's mosque. It is among the largest of all medieval and Gothic cathedrals, in terms of both area and volume. The interior is the longest nave in Spain, and is lavishly decorated, with a large quantity of gold evident.
The Alcázar facing the cathedral was developed from a previous Moorish Palace. Construction was started in 1181 and continued for over 500 years, mainly in the Mudéjar style, but also in the Renaissance style.
The Torre del Oro was built as a watchtower and defensive barrier on the river. A chain was strung through the water from the base of the tower to prevent boats from traveling into the river port.
The City Hall was built in the 16th century in high Plateresque style by master architect Diego de Riaño. The façade to Plaza Nueva was built in the 19th century in Neoclassical style.
The Palace of San Telmo, formerly the University of Sailors, and later the Seminary, is now the seat for the Andalusian Autonomous Government. It is one of the most emblematic buildings of baroque architecture, mainly to its world-renowned churrigueresque principal façade and the impressive chapel.
The Royal Tobacco Factory is housed on the original site of the first tobacco factory in Europe, a vast 18th century building in Baroque style and the purported inspiration for the opera Carmen.
The Metropol Parasol, in La Encarnación square, is the world's largest wooden structure. A monumental umbrella-like building designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer, finished in 2011. This modern architecture structure houses the central market and an underground archaeological complex. The terrace roof is a city viewpoint.
The General Archive of the Indies, is the repository of extremely valuable archival documents illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines. The building itself, an unusually serene and Italianate example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, was designed by Juan de Herrera.
The Plaza de España, in Maria Luisa Park (Parque de Maria Luisa), was built by the architect Aníbal González for the 1929 Exposición Ibero-Americana. It is an outstanding example of Regionalist Revival Architecture, a bizarre and loftily conceived mixture of diverse historic styles, such as Art Deco and lavishly ornamented with typical glazed tiles.
The neighbourhood of Triana, situated on the west bank of the Guadalquivir River, played an important role in the history of the city and constitutes by itself a folk, monumental and cultural center.
On the other hand, La Macarena neighbourhood is located on the northern side of the city center. It contains some important monuments and religious buildings, such as the Museum and Catholic Church of La Macarena or the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas.
The most important art collection of Seville is the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville. It was established in 1835 in the former Convent of La Merced. It holds many masterworks by Murillo, Pacheco, Zurbarán, Valdés Leal, and others masters of the Baroque Sevillian School, containing also Flemish paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Other museums in Seville are:
• The Archaeological Museum, which contains collections from the Tartessian and Roman periods, placed in América square at María Luisa Park.
• The Museum of Arts and Traditions, also in América square, in front of the Archaeological museum.
• The Andalusian Contemporary Art Center, placed in La Cartuja.
• The Naval Museum, housed in the Torre del Oro, next to the Guadalquivir river.
• The Carriages Museum, in Los Remedios neighbourhood.
• The Flamenco Art Museum
• The Bullfight Museum, in La Maestranza bullring
• The Palace of the Countess of Lebrija, a private collection that contains many of the mosaic floors discovered in the nearby Roman town of Italica.
• The "Centro Velázquez" (Velázquez Center) located at the Old Priests Hospital in the turistic Santa Cruz neighbourhood.
• The Antiquarium at Metropol Parasol, an underground museum that exhibits in situ Roman and Muslim remains.
• The Castillo de San Jorge (Castle of St. George) remains, below the Triana market, next to Isabel II bridge. It was the last seat for the Spanish Inquisition.
• The Museum and Treasure of La Macarena, where the collection of the Macarena brotherhood is exhibited. This exhibition gives visitors an accurate impression about the Seville Holy Week.
Parks and gardens in Seville
• The Parque de María Luisa (María Luisa Park), is a monumental park built for the 1929 World's Fair held in Seville, the Exposición Ibero-Americana. The so-called Jardines de las Delicias (literally, Delighting Gardens), closer to the river, are part of the Parque de María Luisa.
• The Alcázar Gardens, within the grounds of the Alcázar palace, consist of several sectors developed in different historical styles.
• The Gardens of Murillo and the Gardens of Catalina de Ribera, both along and outside the South wall of the Alcázar, lie next to the Santa Cruz quarter.
• The Parque del Alamillo y San Jerónimo, the largest park in Andalusia, was originally built for Seville Expo '92 to reproduce the Andalusian native flora. It lines both Guadalquivir shores around the San Jerónimo meander. The impressive 32-meters-high bronze sculpture, "Birth of the New World" (popularly known as Columbus's Egg, el Huevo de Colón), by the Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, is located in its northwestern sector.
• The American Garden, also completed for Expo '92, is in La Cartuja. It is a public botanical garden, with a representative collection of American plants donated by different countries on the occasion of the world exposition.
Festivals in Seville
The Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the Feria de Sevilla (Seville Fair), also known as Feria de Abril (April Fair), are the two most well-known of Seville's festivals. Seville is internationally renowned for the solemn but decorative processions during Holy Week and the colourful and lively fair held two weeks after. During the Feria, families, businesses and organisations set up casetas (marquees) in which they spend the week dancing, drinking, and socialising. Traditionally, women wear elaborate flamenco dresses and men dress in their best suits. The marquees are set up on a permanent fairground in the district of Los Remedios, in which each street is named after a famous bullfighter.
Seville had a vibrant rock music scene in the 1970s and 1980s[with bands like Triana, Alameda and Smash, who fused Andalusia's traditional flamenco music with British-style progressive rock. The punk rock group Reincidentes and indie band Sr Chinarro, as well as singer Kiko Veneno, rose to prominence in the early 1990s. The city's music scene now features rap acts such as SFDK, Tote King, La Mala Rodríguez, and Dogma Crew. Seville's diverse music scene is reflected in the variety of its club-centred nightlife.
The city is also home to many theatres and performance spaces where classical music is performed, including Teatro Lope de Vega, Teatro La Maestranza, Teatro Central, the Real Alcazar Gardens and the Sala Joaquín Turina.
Despite its name, the sevillana dance, commonly presented as flamenco, is not thought to be of Sevillan origin. However, the folksongs called sevillanas are authentically Sevillan, as is the four-part dance performed with them. Seville, and most significantly, the western district of Triana, was a major centre of the development of flamenco.
Article Subject: The tapas scene is one of the main cultural attractions of the city: people go from one bar to another, enjoying small dishes called tapas (literally "lids" or "covers" in Spanish, referring to their probable origin as snacks served on small plates used to cover drinks). Local specialities include fried and grilled seafood (including squid, choco (cuttlefish), swordfish, marinated dogfish, and ortiguillas), grilled and stewed meat, spinach with chickpeas, Jamón ibérico, lamb kidneys in sherry sauce, snails, caldo de puchero, and gazpacho. A sandwich known as a serranito is the typical and popular version of fast food.
Typical desserts from Seville include pestiños, a honey-coated sweet fritter; torrijas, fried slices of bread with honey; roscos fritos, deep-fried sugar-coated ring doughnuts; magdalenas or fairy cakes; yemas de San Leandro, which provide the city's convents with a source of revenue; and tortas de aceite, a thin sugar-coated cake made with olive oil. Polvorones and mantecados are traditional Christmas products, whereas pestiños and torrijas are typically consumed during the Holy Week.
Bitter Seville oranges grow on trees lining the city streets. Formerly, large quantities were collected and exported to Britain to be used in marmalade. Today the fruit is used predominantly as compost locally, rather than as a foodstuff. According to legend, the Arabs brought the bitter orange to Seville from East Asia via Iraq around the 10th century to beautify and perfume their patios and gardens, as well as to provide shade. The flowers of the tree are a source of neroli oil, commonly used in perfumery and in skin lotions for massage.