Seville, which is also known a Sevilla, is known as a large historical center in Europe. Seville lies on the left bank of the river Guadalquivir and 60 miles northeast of Cadiz. It is linked to Triana, Los Remedios and other newer areas to the west by four bridges. According to the 1988 census, the population is 663,000. It is the forth largest city in Spain. The average temperature varies from 60 degrees in January to around 100 degrees in August. Seville is a major port as well as an important industrial, cultural, and tourist center. Wines, fruit, olives, cork, and minerals are exported.
Its industries include the manufacture of tobacco, armaments, explosives, perfume, porcelain, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles, and machinery. It also has a university founded in 1502. Seville was once governed by the Romans starting around 205 BC. The Romans added many roads and aqueducts to the land. The next rulers can be traced back to the Moors who ruled from 711 until 1248. After 1248, with Ferdinand III as the ruler, the Catholic Church defeated the Moors and took control of the city. At around this time, many of the cities famous buildings were created.
One of which was the Macarena Walls, which were walls circling the entire city for protection. The walls were torn down during the 19th century. After the fall of Granada to the Christians, Spain entered an era of expansion and prosperity. The conquest of the New World made Seville one of the most affluent cities in Europe, but much of this wealth was squandered on wars by the Habsburg kings. After the 13 Year War the Bourbons took the throne and under the Treaty of Utrecht lost Gibraltar to the British. Ties with France then dragged Spain into the Napoleonic Wars.
After the Battle of Trafalgar the Spanish King, Carlos IV resigned and Napoleon Bonaparte placed his brother on the Spanish throne. As the Peninsula War ensued the French were driven out of Spain. By the 18th century, Spain had fallen into economic decline and in the 19th and early 20th centuries poverty led to political conflict and ultimately to civil war. In Seville the New Year is accompanied by a parade of floats on Epiphany, which takes place on January 6th. This parade announces that the Three Wise Men have arrived and are handing out presents to the children of Seville.
The parade lasts for a few hours during which candy is thrown to the crowds from the people on the floats. Holy Week, or Semana Santa, first began in the 14th century. The Catholic Church led precessions through the streets of Seville, carrying huge wooden figures of Saints. The festival is held the week before Easter, beginning on Palm Sunday. Dozens of men can be found carrying floats with statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The men carrying the floats are all members of the various 57 brotherhoods or fraternities belonging to the different churches in Seville.
Many of the floats contain candles that are used to illuminate the statues. Good Friday is the most active day during this week. The precession leaves the church starting at midnight and parades through the city throughout the night. Feria de Abril, or the April Fair of Seville, which takes place usually a week or two after Holy Week, began in 1847 as a cattle fair. The fair has since evolved to one of the most popular festivals in Spain. The festival takes place in the Los Remedios district of the city. This area is almost one mile long and 700 yards wide.
The streets are filled with thousands of lanterns and their lighting signals the beginning of the fair. The festival begins on Monday at midnight and ends the following Sunday. The majority of the women can be found wearing flamenco dresses, and some of the men may even decide to dress up. Daily bullfights are also found. Many casetas, which are circus type tents, can be found. These caretas are owned by individual families as well as clubs and political parties. Every night these casetas are used for flamenco dancing and singing.
Corpus Christi is a festival held by the Catholic Church in celebration of the Euchurist on the sixtieth day after Easter. Store windows, streets and houses are all decorated for the celebration. The cathedral holds a mass in which a group of little boys called Seises and dance and sing. The group can be found wearing costumes in red and gold. Sevilles cathedral is currently the third largest in the world. Saint Peter’s in Rome and Saint Paul’s in London are the only two larger. It was constructed from 1402 to 1519 and stands on the site of an old Moorish mosque.
The altarpiece is the largest in the Christian world being 20 meters tall and 13. 2 meters wide. In the center of the nave, at the foot of the altar there is a rich silver urn that holds the remains of King San Fernando. The cathedral also contains many famous paintings be artists such as Murillo, Zurbarn, Valds Leal and Goya as well as the famous “Cristo de la Clemencia” by Martnez Montas One of the most known monuments in Seville is the Giralda, which is a bell tower on top of the citys cathedral. It dates back to the 1300s. At the time it was built, it was the highest building in the world.
Today it measures 97. 5 meters, which includes a huge bronze statue at the top. The Reales Alcazares, or Royal Tower, is an Arabian style palace thats first creation dates back to around 884. It was previously used as a kings palace by the Moorish Caliph Mohammed V. The majority of the structure was constructed after the Christian reconquest in 1248 by King Pedro. The different rooms vary in different architectural styles from Islamic to Neoclassical. The Casa de Pilatos is a wonderful palace, which dates back to the late 15th and early 16th century.
It is rumored that the palaces original owner, Don Fadrique de Ribera, first Marquee of Tarifa, after seeing the palace of Pontius Pilot in Jeruslem in 1519 decided to recreate it. The palace contains many famous frescos of Francisco Pacheco. The Torre del Oro, or Gold Tower, was built between 1221 and 1222. The tower was part of the wall of defense that ran from the Reales Alcazares to the river. It is said that the tower got its name from the gold times that covered its dome. It currently holds a naval museum with many models and paintings of Spanish navigators and ships.