Sevilla, usually referred to as Seville by English speakers, is one of the great cities in Spain. From the times of Moorish rule to its storied past as the center of bullfighting, there are so many things to do Seville. As we explore some Seville attractions, you’ll begin to understand what a diverse, beautiful European city this is.
Located in the region of Andalusia, Seville is in the southwest corner of Spain and is the 4th biggest city in the country. The city is a great mix of cultures along with a rich history of religion and sports. While it may not attract the attention of other well known Spanish cities like Barcelona and Madrid, there may be no other city in Spain that has as much to offer in so many areas of life.
Seville has a long history in Spain and was one of the most heavily influenced cities by Moorish culture. For many years, Spain was ruled by the Moors and was their last stronghold before being defeated in 1248. The influence of Moorish culture can be seen in the celebrated flamenco dances with its Muslim chants and music. The Alcazar is the arguably the second best piece of Muslim architecture in the country (behind the Alhambra) but despite its design and architecture, it has been influenced by Western culture and Christianity as well.
Seville Flamenco by V_Fujii
For Catholics in Spain, there may not be a city as holy as Seville. While Toledo and Santiago de Compostela are well known for their religious landmarks and pilgrimages, Seville’s cathedral and its celebration of Easter are like no other city in the country. With its grand cathedral, parades, floats, and beautiful Virgin of Macarena, devotion, religious passion, and tears are an essential part of this city.
Seville Cathedral by Wild Guru Larry
While controversy has grown over bullfighting in recent years, Seville is still the center of bullfighting in Spain. In its historical Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullfighting ring still holds weekly bullfights throughout the summer. Matadors are as celebrated as movie stars and there is a passion for this bloody sport unlike any other in the country.
Seville’s bullfighting arena (Plaza de toros) by Le Grand Portage
The city’s rich history also includes a devotion to art with great Seville museums like the Museo des Bellas Artes. Spanish and Muslim cultures are not the only things that are a part of this city’s history. The Barrio de Santa Cruz area is home to the old Jewish quarter where Jews once thrived in the narrow lanes of this neighborhood. To add to the culture of this city, there is a major university here which gives the city a youthful edge and brings energy to this area.
Decorated ceiling at Seville’s Museum of Fine Arts by Son of Groucho
Aside from all of this, Spanish life goes on and thrives as everyday people live and work in this fabulous part of Spain. As the city is explored, we will weave through its history, people, and sights to better understand what makes Seville so unique to Spain.
From its museums to its holy week, from its Moorish architecture to its bullfighting heritage, Seville has so much to offer and I think it one of the best places to visit in Europe.
Guides to more Spanish Cities
We’ve Europe city guides to the following cities in Spain on Europe a la Carte.