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The first stop for most tourists visiting Seville, but in all fairness, it’s with good reason. A spectacular piece of Gothic architecture and the third-largest church in the world, it is a sight that needs to be seen to be believed.
Twisting spires and an ancient minaret fashioned into a bell-tower, the 104.5m tall Giralda, this UNESCO World Heritage site really sums up Seville’s history. Originally constructed as a mosque, the cathedral was essentially built on top of it, and elements of the original Mosque still remain, interwoven with the building as the legacy of the Moors is interwoven with the Christian influence on the city.
Situated in the hot, bustling Plaza Virgen de los Reyes, the cathedral once stood as the tallest building in the world. It has withstood earthquakes, invasion, revolution and an inquisition to still be standing almost 900 years after it’s conception, and draws tourists from all over the world to gaze upon its magnificence.
Triana is Seville as all travellers imagine it to be. It is a maze of twisted, shaded alleyways and ornate arches where one can stumble upon a picturesque, colourfully tiled courtyard, a little atmospheric tapas tavern in a snug alcove, or a sweat-slicked bssodega, alive with the passion of Flamenco.
The trianeros have been influenced by countless cultures: Christian, Roman, Moor, Jewish, Gypsy, and this rich variety of cultures is reflected in the lives of the residents of this bohemian, exciting neighbourhood. With bars, taverns and cafes aplenty, there is a huge amount to explore in this area, and you’re likely to find some hidden gems tucked away from the crowds.
Andalucia is the home of tapas, so there is no greater place than the capital of this region to indulge on delectable meats, exquisite seafood, and incredible cheeses, breads and olives. In Seville, you’ll find hidden gems known only to citizens, where you can truly immerse yourself in the culture of the locals as excellent wines and authentic dishes are brought in a steady stream to your table.
Take the opportunity to get off the tourist track for this, and find the spots where the locals go. Why? Because quite simply, these are the best places to try real tapas. The authentic, traditional dishes will be found at them, so even if it takes a little more digging, if you want to immerse yourself in the cuisine culture of Andalucia, take the time to find yourself the very best Seville has to offer.
Another famous export of Andalusia, the story of Flamenco begins with the Romani people, commonly known as the Gypsies, as their equivalent of the blues as they lived under the Christian regime of the 19th, or possibly even 18th century.
For this reason, there’s nowhere else quite like Seville to catch a traditional Flamenco performance. Dripping with passion, melancholy and energy, they really are something to behold, and an evening spent in an intimate tavern, squeezed in with a dozen or so locals as you sip red wine and take in the spectacle, is certainly one well spent.
Expect all the magnificent dresses, heel-clicking and castanet clacking you would come to expect, but be surprised by the mournful edge a performance carries, and be blown away by the skill of performance a proper Flamenco show can bring.
The Real Alcázar and it’s gardens are some of the grandest and most decadent examples of royal palaces you’ll ever have virtually complete access to. Technicolour mosaics, incredible Moorish domes, magnificent courtyards and endless hallways make up this complex, that is simply begging to be explored.
A much changed, much-developed palace, that was once the site of an Abbadid Muslim residential fortress before the city fell to a Christian conquest, boasts lush, immaculately kept gardens complete and an air of royal dignity, it should, the royal family still has the upper levels as their official residence.
A trip here represents a step back in time. You can almost imagine the whispered conversations in shady chambers, conspiring and plotting in the far reaches of the gardens. If you’re a history buff, there’s a huge amount to learn here, but if you’re an architecture enthusiast, then there are very few better places to visit in a city inundated with incredible buildings.