Meal schedules tend to be a bit later than the rest of Europe: breakfast is taken between 7.30 to 10am. Lunch at restaurants is served from 2 to 3.30pm and dinner starts around 9pm until 11pm.
Business hours in the morning are from 10am until 1.30pm and in the afternoon from 4.30pm – 8pm. During the summer months, shops and businesses open a bit later in the afternoon, at around 5.30 or 6pm until 9pm. Department stores operate from 10am until 9pm.without a break.
The Central Post Office schedule is from 8.30am until 8.30pm, Monday thru Friday.
Address: Avda. de la Constitución, 2
Stamps can be purchased in any estanco (government licensed tobacconist kiosk).
The current in Spain is 220 – 240 V AC. U.S. electrical appliances require a transformer and adapter, which can be purchased at any electrical or hardware store (ferreterías).
Most hotels, restaurants and shops in Seville accept all major credit cards such as: American Express, VISA, Mastercard, 4B, Access and Diners Club.
Most banks are open Monday thru Friday from 8.30am til 2 or 2.30pm. Only a few branches are open Saturday mornings. ATM machines are located throughout the city offering 24 hour service, most of which provide international service (Servired, 4B, etc).
Numerous and varied cultures have been present in Seville’s history. The city’s cultural, monumental and artistic legacy gained over the centuries can be admired in it’s streets and museums. Seville’s dark origins have provided legends such as the one that attributes Hercules as it’s founder. In order to appreciate the ancient history of Seville, one must visit the Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum), a spectacular site in itself; once a Pavilion of the 1929 Exhibition. Here one can observe the remains of cultures that traveled from across the Mediterranean, bringing with them their distant gods. The Tesoro del Carambolo is a clear example of oriental influences assimilated by the ancient peoples of Seville.
Neighboring Seville (Alcalá del Río) was the scene of the final battle between Romans and Carthinigans (206 A.C.. It was also the location of the first Roman colony in the region, Itálica. Known as the city of Julia Romula Hispalis, it was named after its founder, Julius Caeser (45 A.C.). He converted Sevillians into Roman citizens with full rights. In the 17th C Rodrigo Caro confirmed, “Although there were once great and suntuous temples and amphitheatres… everything has disappeared”. This is just yet another reason to visit the Museo Arqueológico, where the Roman period is magnficently represented with findings from Itálica.
The figures depicted on the city’s shield of San Leandro and San Isidro (Saints), are accompanied on both sides by the conquering king from the Visigoth period, an era shadowed by the splendor of Islamic Seville, a period which followed immediately afterwards (712).
It was during the Almohade stage era (mid 12th C) when Isbiliya reached its greatest SPLENDOR. The Mesquita Mayor (mosque) was constructed. Its minaret became the symbol of the city. Renaissance touches crowned the building’s tower and soon would become known as the Giralda.
The city was occupied by the Crown of Castile, conquered by King Santo Fernando III in 1248. Mosques were converted into Christian worship places. Even the Great Mosque (Gran Mesquita) fell under the same luck. A century and a half later considering the site’s ruinous state, the ecclesiastic council decided to tear it down and in its place erect the Catedral (Cathedral), the indisputable symbol of Christian Seville. During the medieval period King Don Pedro built the Palacio Mudéjar (14th C) on the grounds of the ancient walled Islamic Alcázar.
After the discovery of America, 16th C Seville became the Puerto de las Indias, monopolizing trade with the New Continent. The Casade la Contratación was set up in the Alcázar and local merchants built the Casa Lonja which centuries later was converted into the Archivo de Indias. Many palace-homes were constructed during this period, such as the emblematic Hospital de las Cinco Llagas, today the seat of the Andalusian Parliament.
The 17th C brought in illustrious and universal artists, though a significantly progressive transfer of economic activity from the Americas to the city of Cádiz soon began to occur. The Hermandades de Pasión (Holy Week Brotherhoods) which has traditionally paraded without any order were soon organized under the Carrera Oficial (Official Route) body. The float’s itinerary was coordinated according to seniority; Semana Santa (Holy Week) was becoming formalized and its profound religiousness was represented in works of artists such as, Montañés, Murillo, Zurbarán and Valdés Leal. Their works can be found today in the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) as well as in various city parishes. Important religious structures are built during this period, such as: the church of: la Caridad, el Salvador and the impressive, San Luis de los Franceses. Touches of Seville’s Baroque master, Leonardo de Figueroa, are present in all of these churches.
The 18th C brought the construction of the world famous Fabrica de Tabacos (Tobacco Factory), an industrial building and scene of Carmen la Cigarrera. Another setting from this same opera, the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza (Bullring) was also started, yet was not completed until the end of the following century.
Seville became known as an exotic destination for pioneers of the 19th C Romanticism movement. Some of these artists were excellent designers whose influence on the city remained intact up until contemporary renovations and the opening up of roads in and around Seville took place. This was a response to outward growth which brought down their walls. Two of Seville’s finest examples of Arquitectura del Hierro (Ironwork Architecture) can be found in the Puente de Triana (bridge), inspired by the Carrousel of Paris, the other being the Naves del Barranco.
The 20th C started off with the preparations and promises of a World’s Fair – Exhibition. This event was postponed for various reasons until it finally opened in 1929. This Latin American Expo left us the Plaza de España, the Plaza de América, and various country Pavilions representing different architectural styles and native pre-Colombian cultures. The century closed with yet another Exhibition, the ’92 Expo, which commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Discovery of America. From an urban point of view this event marked not only the incorporation of the Isla de la Cartuja (Island), but also the elimination of two old railroad stations which had become traffic obstacles within the city. The new station of Santa Justa, home of the High Speed Train (AVE) as well as major beltways were constructed for the opening of this fair.
The headquarters of the “Expo” has been converted into a techo-park (Parque Tecnológico). Many important companies also have their main offices on this site.
A few years have passed since that magnificent event and the history of Seville continues; the city is still growing.
Part time Residence of the Royal Family, is the oldest Royal Palace used in Europe. Noteworthy as it is it not mererly a singular palace but a series of palaces, the product of successive reforms that took place since the Arab occupation. Since then various Monarchs have made additions of a wide array of styles, materials used and influences that are commonly found in Seville. Thus these grounds bring together a perfect symbiosis, a succession of architectural styles, from Islamic to neoclassical, incorporating mudéjar elements, gothic, renaissance, plateresque, purist, baroque and rococo; all contributing to the magnificence of this landmark. Noted for its beautiful gardens, patios, rooms and tapestries, it preseves certain relics from the Arab Alcázar. One of the most noted pieces of art is the altar with the statue of the Virgen de los Navegantes, work of Spanish-Flemish artist, Alejo Fernándes. Painted in 1531-1536, it is considered the first artistic representation of the the Discovery of America. It depicts the Virgen protecting under her cape, Columbus, the Pinzón brothers, Carlos I and other personalities from the Casa de la Contratación. The size of those represented differs according to their prerceived importance. The altar is flanked on the sides with effigies of various Saints: San Telmo, San Juan, Santiago and San Jorge. Adjacent to the palace courtyard are peaceful gardens with flowers and plants that recreate a heavenly setting. One can appreciate glimpses of islamic, classical and modern environment with the Doña María del Padilla baths, statues of Mercury and Cenador, which sits on an ancient oratory of a muslim cementary. The New Garden section are modeled after English and Arab-Andalusian landscaping. Due to the exemplary ongoing conservation and restoration program carried out at this site, new historic, artistic and technical findings that provide a greater understanding of the Reales Alcázares are witnessed. The cultural program which frequently offers events of all types is one of the richest in the city.
ARCHIVE OF THE INDES
Its history began in the 16th Century. Until then, market traders would set up their stalls on the Cathedral terrace (the space between the walls and the chain surrounding them). This itself was not a problem, however, church leaders took exception to traders seeking shelter from the rain in the interior of the temple. This created the need for a covered market in Seville, which was communicated to Felipe II who then approved the construction of such a building. Work lasted from 1583 to 1646. Two questions needed to be resolved: The building site: it was built in an area between the Cathedral and the Alcazar which housed derelict buildings. Choose a project: Seville sent to the court a project by Asensio de Maeda, but this was rejected by the King in favour of another by Juan de Herrera. Herrera designed the layout of the building while Juan de Minjares and Alonso de Vandelvira were involved with the construction. The Academia de Bellas Artes Sevillana (Seville Academy of Fine Arts) was founded in this building in 1660, with an initial presidency shared by the artists Murillo and Herrera el Mozo and later taken over by Juan Valdés Leal. In the 18th Century, King Carlos III decided to gather together all the documents related to the New World and created the Archivo de Indias (Indian Archive). In order to serve adequately as a library, certain improvements and alterations were necessary. The archives are among the most important in the world in terms of the volume of documents and information they contain. Special reference must be made to Columbus’ journal, which can also be found here. The Archivo de Indias is outstanding not only for the purpose it serves, but also for the magnificent furniture conserved there. Due to its importance as a source of information, the Archives are constantly visited by scholars from all over the world for a plethora of various purposes and tasks.
Dates from the end of the 15th Century to the beginning of the 16th. The most lavish palace that can be visited in Seville, after the Royal Palace Alcazares. It is of interest not only for its architecture – an admirable joining of Mudejar, gothic and renaissance styles, but also for the roman objects and paintings/furniture from a variety of periods which render it a first class museum. The house was bought in 1483 by a member of the Sevillian nobility, Don Pedro Enríquez, and his wife Catalina de Ribera. His son Don Fadrique, the first Marquis of Tarifa, on return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1519, realised that the house and the Cruz del Campo (shrine situated on the edge of the city) was the same as that between the ruins of the paetorium in Jerusalem and Golgotha. He was so impressed by this coincidence that he decided to create a Way of the Cross. The first station of this Way of the Cross began at the façade, was marked by a marble cross and represented Christ before Pilate. It would appear that this Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) gave rise to the Sevillian Semana Santa (Holy Week processions). It was believed among Sevillians that the design of the house was a replica of Pilot’s real house, hence its given name. An Arc de Triumph like doorways leads to the initial courtyard- typical among Andalusian mansions, used for the entry of horses and carriages. The stables were distributed along the front part, a spectacular rectangular vestibule bordered with vaults on pairs of column originally destined to serve as a sculpture gallery. A beautiful 19th Century gate leads to the main courtyard, a masterpiece of Sevillian architecture noted for its combination of Mudejar plasterwork, classical columns and a gothic banister. The top floor is accessed by means of a majestic staircase, decorated with iridescent tiling and covered by a spectacular golden wooden dome. The chapel, perhaps the oldest piece, is characterised by its ribbed vaults and gothic mouldings, as well as by the vitro-ceramic walling located in the lounge which serves as vestibule. Valuable sculptures and busts can be found in any corner of the palace, as well as mural paintings by Pacheco, Pantoja, Ribera or the Zurbarán school and beautiful mudejar craftwork. En 1980 The Casa Ducal Medinaceli Foundation was created with the aim of protecting the cultural and historical heritage of the palace. The lounges are used to hold social and cultural events.
HOSPITAL OF THE FIVE WOUNDS (ANDALUCIA PARLIAMENT)
This large building has a rectangular floor and four courtyards defined by a cruciform layout of two large corridors used as infirmaries. The main façade has two parts, with Doric and ionic frames, the upper part being more adorned with a great marble doorway crowned with the coat of arms of the Cinco Llagas foundation, at the side of which are the coats of arms of the founders. The chapel, designed by Hernán Ruiz en 1560, is very representative of his style of work. In order to comprehend the importance, we must go back to 1500, the year in which Catalina de Ribera obtained the papal bull which allowed one of the best known and popular works of charity in 16th century Seville. This work was continued and extended by her son, Don Fadrique Enriquez de Ribera, Marquis of Tarifa, until his death in 1539. A year later, by means of last will/testament, the foundation passed into the hands of the priories of Santa Maria de las Cuevas and the monasteries of San Jerónimo de Buenavista and San Isidoro del Campo; and as such became open to public competition for the construction of a majestic building in the proximity of the Macarena gateway. Tenders were received from prestigious architects of the time and finally granted to Martin Gainza. Gainza began work began in 1546, continued up to his death, and was succeeded by Hernán Ruiz, who was similarly succeeded by the Neapolitan Benvenuto Tortello in1570 and set to work in 1572 on Aresenio de Maeda’s project. The hospital was functional until it was forced to close due to its deteriorating state. The building was restored and is currently used as the seat of the Andalusian Parliament.
UNIVERSITY (TOBACCO FACTORY)
Of all the booming industries of 18th Century Spain none can be compared to that of tobacco. Chewing, inhaling and smoking tobacco had all become fashionable. In order to meet such a demand for these various products, the existing tobacco factory since 1610 in Plaza del Cristo de Burgos was replaced by one which nobody, at its time, could ever have imagined. Work on his building began in 1728, following the project of the military engineer Ignacio Sala. Work was halted in 1731 and recommenced in 1750under the direction of Sebastián Van der Bocht who added to the industrial nucleus various palatial elements such as the façade, the vestibule, stairways and lounges. Other Sevillian craftsmen also took part in this work. The monumental factory was completely finished in 1771 (sic), including the Courthouse, jail and administration buildings. Its capacity was somewhat astounding: a human contingent of thousands of workers, he majority of whom from the 19th century onwards were women, immense workshops and warehouses, aired by 24 courtyards, 21 fountains; 10 wells for cleaning the factory; 116 grinding mills, 40 reviewing mills and 87 pens and stables to keep the nearly 400 animals used for the milling. This public building was devised as a type of citadel: it had a chapel, sentry boxes, drawbridges and a moat. This company, apart from being the largest employer of the female population of 19th century Seville, also spearheaded the world-wide projection of the myth of las cigarreras (cigar makers). In 1949 the installation of the various faculties of the University of Seville in this building was finally approved. This resulted in various alterations in the interior, which still remain today much to the delight of those who visit. Since becoming a university seat, the building houses the chapel of la Hermandad de los Estudiantes (Student Fraternity) containing a beautiful image of Cristo de la Buena Muerte – a work of art by Juan de Mesa, created in 1620.
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA (SPAIN SQUARE)
Built by Anibal Gonzal Built as part of an ample construction programme carried out to commemorate of the Hispano-American Exposition of 1929. It measures 200m in diameter and has an are of 14,000m2. Made in regional style (a mixture of mudejar, gothic and renaissance styles). The materials used were brick and ceramics. Around the square are 48 benches dedicated to the Spanish provinces (situated in alphabetical order), decorated with ceramic tiles, coat of arms and map of the province. There is a small stream around the square crossed by 4 bridges representing the 4 kingdoms which constitute the Spanish crown: Castille, Leon, Navarre and Aragon. These building are currently occupied by various public institutions, the civil service and the military.
PLAZA DE AMÉRICA (AMERICA SQUARE)
This square and the 3 buildings it contains were built by Anabel González (between 1913 and 1916) for the Exposition in 1929. Each building encompasses a different architectural style. Renaissance Pavilion: currently the Museum of Archaeology. Gothic Pavilion: currently belongs to the City Hall and is the seat of one of its delegations. Mudejar Pavilion: currently the seat of the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs. Here we can also find a roundabout dedicated to Miguel de Cervantes, decorated with ceramics depicting some of his most renowned works of art.
Built by Vincent San Martín in 1761. It is one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. The bullring and the adjacent buildings form an almost triangular block. The construct of the ring forms an irregular polygon arch, both in the exterior as well as the exterior – a consequence of work carried out throughout 120 years. A typical characteristic of the Seville bullring is that is not totally circular, but slightly ovoid. Inside the ring, we can find the Prince’s balcony, made by Cayetano Acosta. The small bullfighter’s chapel of the bullfighters is presided over by an image of the Virgin of Doleres, attributed to John of Astorga, and which enjoys a great devotion among the bullfighters and who have donated numerous offerings. It contains a bullfighting museum with collection of suits, photographs, pictures, etc., related to the world of the bull. Before the construction of this ring, events were held in plaza de San Francisco. At its side is the seat of the Real Maestranza de Caballería (Royal Riding Club) built by Aníbal González in 1929. This is the owner of the bullring. It is a nobility organization that has its origins in the times of the Reconquest and was reorganized in the 17th century. The bullfighting season of begins on Easter Sunday and finishes in September.
CATHEDRAL AND GIRALDA
Since its construction, The Cathedral of Seville cathedral holds the title of Magna Hispalensis, not only for being one of the greatest Gothic building to ever exist, but also for being one of the most colossal of Christendom. It went declared a national monument in 1928 and granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1987. Important files and documents are kept in the Colombian library in the Patio de Los Naranjos. Its appearance is product of the successive happened enlargements and transformations since the original mosque was razed by the Almohads. Today the only remains of the mosque can be seen in the Patio de los Naranjos and the minaret (Giralda), from where can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. In the cathedral we can see beautiful works of art. In the High Altar is the greater altarpiece, considered one of the largest in the world (27 m2 high 18 m2wide). In the chapel of San Antonio we can see one of the treasures of the cathedral, A painting by Murillo “The Vision of San Antonio”. The chapel of the Virgin de la Antigua is one of the largest and wealthiest of the 14th century and is heritage of the discovery of America.. The monument to Columbus holds the remains of this discovery. We can also contemplate one of best works of the Sevillian baroque sculpture, the Christ of Mercy, by Martínez Montañés . In the sacristy of the chalices can see paintings of great value, such Goya’s “Santa Just and Santa Rufina”. The main sacristy is of great beauty in itself due to its plateresque style, and works of art such as the Custody de Arfe, used in the Corpus Cristi processions. In the capitular hall, the dome is decorated with paintings of Murillo, and can see ” La Inmaculada”, considered to be the most beautiful of its kind. In the Royal Chapel we can see to the Virgin of the Kings, a 13th century image and patroness of the city, and in an urn of silverware the mummified body of the Ferdinand III King, Saint, conqueror and owner of the city. This tower is one of the few remains of the ancient Almohad mosque. It is considered to be the sister of the Kotobyya in Marrakech and of the great tower of the mosque of Al asan in Rabat. Many others have been constructed in its image. Undertaken by Ahmed ben Baso, the foundations, estimated at 8.5 metres, are of ashlars of stone to a height of a few 2 metres above the current ground level. Some stones proceed from the remains of Roman and Arab constructions. The tower totals a height of 82 metres. The minaret was crowned for four spheres of golden bronze, that were destroyed as a result of earthquake of 1356. Towards 1400 a steeple was decided to be placed. The current bell tower was made by Hernán Ruiz between 1558-1568. This crowned the tower with a series of falling volumes and red ochre plasterings and cobalt/azure tiles were hung. Fresco paintings were made and around 50 embossings were made under the supervision of Juan Bautista Vázques el Viejo. The vane that crowns the site, popularly known as “the Giraldillo” symbolises the victory of the Christian faith and it was the work of Bartholomew Morel, carried out between 1566-1568. This “weathercock” or “giralda” is that which gives the name to the tower by which it is universally known. The Renaissance figure represents to a woman with tunic, a warrior’s shield in one hand, and a palm branch in the other measures 3.5 metres in height and weighs 128 kilos. The new architectural whole reaches a total height of 103 metres due to the body of bells.
COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF EL SALVADOR
In the place that today occupies this church, a mosque was once built in the 9th century during the reign of Abd al Rahman II, known as Idn- Addabas. The remains of this mosque can be seen in the Patio de Los Naranjos and the starting base of the tower. The building of this temple began in 1674 and was carried out by several artists, the last of which was Leonard of Figueroa, between 1696 and 1712, who completed the work, directing the roof of vaults and domes and the interior ornamentation. In one of the lateral exteriors of the church is a ceramic representation of the Christ of the Love, title of the brotherhood of the same name. A piece of 1930s work by Enrique Rodrigo Marble, this is the largest of its kind in Seville since it represents the Christ in his true size. The church has hall like plan, divided in three naves, and subdivided into four sections. On the zone of the transept a dome is raised on scallops, with stone embossed figures of the four evangelists. In this church we must note: The Greater Altarpiece made by Cayetano de Acosta (18th Century) Baroque altarpiece with the effigy of Saint Christopher, carved by Martínez Montañés in 1597. Altarpiece of the Brotherhood of the Christ of the Love. In the center of this altarpiece, of neobaroque style, is the sculpture of the holder, carved by Juan de Mesa between 1618 and 1620. Sacramental chapel, has an cover-altarpiece made by Cayetano de Acosta. In this chapel is the effigy of Our Father Jesus de Pasión, carved by Martínez Montañés. Brotherhood of Passion (Holy Thursday).