Seville (Spanish: Sevilla [seˈβiʎa], see also different names) is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of Andalusia and of the province of Sevilla. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level. The inhabitants of the city are known as Sevillanos (feminine form: Sevillanas) or Hispalenses. The population of the city of Seville was 699,145 as of 2007 (INE estimate). The population of the metropolitan area (urban area plus satellite towns) was 1,450,214 as of 2007 (INE estimate), ranking as the fourth largest metropolitan area of Spain.
Seville is more than 2,000 years old. The passage of the various people instrumental in its growth has left the city with a distinct personality, and a large and well-preserved historical centre.
The city was known from early Roman times as Hispalis. The nearby Roman city of Italica is well-preserved and gives an impression of how Hispalis may have looked in the later Roman period. Existing Roman features in Seville include the remnants of an aqueduct.
After successive conquests of the Roman province of Hispania Baetica by the Vandals and Visigoths, in the 5th and 6th centuries, the city was taken by the Moors in 712 and became an important centre in Muslim Andalusia. It remained under Muslim control, under the authority of the Umayyad, Almoravid and Almohad dynasties, until falling to Fernando III in 1248. The city retains many Moorish features, including large sections of the city wall.
Following the Reconquest, the city's development continued, with the construction of public buildings including churches, many in Mudéjar style. Later, the city experienced another golden age of development brought about by wealth accumulating from the awarding of a monopoly of trade with the Spanish territories in the New World. After the silting up of the Guadalquivir, the city went into relative economic decline.
Seville's development in the 19th and 20th centuries was characterised by population growth and increasing industrialisation.
Seville fell very quickly to General Franco's troops near the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 due to its proximity to the invasion force coming from Morocco. After the initial takeover of the city, resistance continued amongst the working class areas for some time, until a series of fierce reprisals took place.
Main city sights
The city's cathedral
was built from 1401–1519 after the Reconquista
on the former site of the city's mosque
. It is amongst 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 Cathedral reused some columns and elements from the mosque, and, most famously, the Giralda
, originally a minaret
, was converted into a bell tower
. It is topped with a statue, known locally as El Giraldillo
, representing Faith
. The tower's interior was built with ramps rather than stairs, to allow the Muezzin
and others to ride on horseback to the top. Other Churches include Cristóbal Colón,Castile and Iglesia de Bryn.
facing the cathedral has developed from the city's old Moorish Palace
; construction was begun in 1181 and continued for over 500 years, mainly in Mudéjar
style, but also in Renaissance
. Its gardens are a blend of Moorish, Andalusian, and Christian
The Torre del Oro
was built by the Almohad dynasty
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 Town Hall
, built in the 16th century in Plateresque
Style by Diego de Riaño
. The Façade to Plaza Nueva was built in the 19th century in Neoclassical
The University of Sevilla is housed in the original site of the first tobacco factory in Europe, La Antigua Fabrica de Tabacos.
Parks and gardens
- The Alcázar Gardens, arranged to the back of the palace. They were planted and developed alongside the Alcázar throughout the centuries. Sheltered within the walls of the palace, they are laid out in terraces, and present variations of influences, styles and plants in each sector.
- The Gardens of Murillo and the Gardens of Catalina de Ribera: alongside the wall of the Alcázar and next to the district of Santa Cruz.
- La Isla Magica, Cartuja Island, a theme park built on the site of the 1992 Universal Exposition of Seville
Other prominent parks and gardens include:
- Parque de los Príncipes
- Parque del Alamillo
- Parque Amate
- Parque Metropolitano de la Cartuja
- Jardines de las Delicias
- Jardín Americano
- Jardín Este
- Jardines de Cristina
- Jardines Chapina
- Jardines de la Buhaira
- Jardines de San Telmo
- Jardines del Guadalquivir
- Jardines del Valle
The climate of Seville is Mediterranean, with oceanic influences. The annual average temperature is , which makes this city one of the warmest in Europe.
- Winters are mild: January is the coolest month, with average maximum temperatures of and minimum of .
- Summers are very warm: July is the warmest month, with average maximum temperatures of and minimum temperatures of and every year the temperature exceeds on several occasions. The extremes of temperature registered by the weather station at Seville Airport are on 12 February 1956, and on 23 July 1995. There is a non-accredited record by the National Institute of Meteorology which is on 1 August during the 2003 heat wave, according to a weather station (83910 LEZL) located in the southern part of Seville Airport, near the abandoned military zone. This temperature would be one of the highest ever recorded in Spain and Europe.
- Precipitation varies from 600 to 800 mm (23.5–31.5 in) per year, concentrated in the period October to April. December is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of . On average there are 52 days of rain, 2,898 hours of sun and four days of frost per year.
Semana Santa and the Seville Fair, La Feria de Sevilla (also Feria de Abril, "April Fair") are the two most well-known of Seville's festivals. Seville is internationally renowned for the solemn but beautiful processions during Holy Week and the colourful and lively fair held two weeks after. During 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 which each street is named after a famous bullfighter.
Seville is a gastronomic centre, with a cuisine based on the products of the surrounding provinces, including seafood from Cádiz, olive oil from Jaén, and sherry from Jerez de la Frontera.
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 in small plates used to cover drinks.)
Local specialities include fried and grilled seafood (including squid, cuttlefish, swordfish and dogfish), grilled meats in sauces, spinach and chickpeas, Andalusian ham (Jamón ibérico), lamb's kidneys in a sherry sauce, snails, and gazpacho.
Typical sweet cakes of this province are polvorónes and mantecados from the town of Estepa, a kind of shortcake made with almonds, sugar and lard; Pestiños, a honey-coated sweet fritter; 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.
Except for polvorones and mantecados, which are traditional Christmas products, all of these are consumed throughout the year.
The Seville oranges that dot the city landscape, too bitter for modern tastes, are commonly used to make marmalade.
Flamenco and Sevillanas
The Sevillanas dance, commonly presented as flamenco, is not thought to be of Sevillan origin. But the folksongs called Sevillanas are authentically Sevillan, as is the four-part dance that goes with them.
Seville, and most significantly the traditionally gypsy barrio, Triana, was a major centre in the development of flamenco.
The motto of Seville is "NO8DO". The "8" is shaped like a skein of wool, or, madeja in Spanish. The motto, therefore, is a rebus, reading "NO madeja DO," a play on the sentence, "No me ha dejado," or "she [the city] has not abandoned me [the king]".
The motto, according to one legend, refers to the city's support of King Alphonse X in a 13th-century war with his son, Don Sancho. Another places the phrase in the mouth of Ferdinand III while riding into the city after expelling the Moors in 1248. This motto is seen in the city flag and throughout Seville, inscribed on manhole covers, and on some street signs.
Seville has two sister cities
, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc.
The economic activity of Seville cannot be detached from the geographical and urban context of the city; the capital of Andalusia is the centre of a growing metropolitan area. Aside from traditional neighborhoods such as Santa Cruz, Triana and La Macarena, those further away from the centre, such as Nervión, Sevilla Este, and El Porvenir have seen recent economic growth. Over the past twenty years, this urban area has seen significant population growth and the development of new industrial and commercial parks.
Due to its size and location, Seville is economically the strongest of the Andalusian cities. The infrastructure available in the city contributes to the growth of an economy dominated by the service sector, but in which industry still holds a considerable place.
The 1990s saw massive growth in investment in infrastructure in Seville, largely due to the hosting of the Universal Exposition of Seville in 1992, which saw the economic development of the city and its urban area is supported by good transport links to other Spanish cities, including a high-speed AVE railway link to Madrid, and a new international airport.
- Seville has the only river port of the Iberian peninsula, located from the mouth of the River Guadalquivir. This harbor complex offers access to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and allows trade in goods between the south of Spain (Andalusia, Extremadura) and Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The port has undergone reorganisation. Annual tonnage rose to 5.3 million tonnes of goods in 2006.
- Seville has conference facilities, including the Congress Palace.
- The city and its surrounding province have a number of large industrial parks and technology centres: Dos Hermanas accommodates the largest Andalusian industrial park, while Alcalá de Guadaíra has the largest industrial complex by surface area in Andalusia; the Parque Científico Tecnológico Sevilla Tecnopolis, gathers companies, research centres and university departments directed towards the development of new technologies; the Parque Tecnológico y Aeronáutico Aerópolis is focused on the aircraft industry.
Characteristics by sector
The town of Seville and its agglomeration have, by their situation in the heart of the plain of the Guadalquivir, maintained dynamic agricultural activity. Agroalimentary industry is flourishing there. Nevertheless, for a long time the area has been looking to the future, while investing massively in industrial activities, supported by the existing infrastructures. The service sector and new technologies are increasingly important. Seville concentrated, in 2004, 31% of large Andalusian companies and 128 of the 6,000 largest national companies. In 2005, the metropolitan area counted a working population of 471,947 people, of which 329,471 (69.81%) worked within the city centre.
- Agriculture represents less than 1.3% of the workers of the city. Cereal, fruit and olive-growing constitute the principal agricultural activities in this area of Andalusia.
- Industry contributes up to 28% of the economic output of Seville. It employed in 2005 15.2% of workers in the city. It is well established in the metropolitan area, stimulated by the various industrial parks, the presence of good infrastructure and the proximity of the complexes of the Bays of Cádiz, Algeciras, and Huelva.
- The service sector employs 83.5% of the working population of Seville. It represents a significant share of the local economy and is centred on tourism, trade and financial services.
Research and development
The city of Seville makes a significant contribution to scientific research, as it houses the first and largest DNA bank in Spain, through the local company Neocodex. Neocodex stores 20,000 DNA samples and is recognised internationally. In addition, Seville is also considered an important technological and research centre for renewable energies and the aeronautics industry.
Through its high-tech centres and its fabric of innovating companies, the Andalusian capital has risen to among the most important Spanish cities in term of development and research. Moreover, the scientific and technological activity of the three Seville universities has to be added, whose certain laboratories and research centres work in close connection with the local socio-economic power. Thus, the Parque Científico Tecnológico Sevilla Tecnopolis gathers private and public actors in various fields of research.
The principal innovation and research orientations are telecommunications, new technologies, biotechnologies (in relation to local agricultural specificities), environment and renewable energy.
Sevilla is served by the TUSSAM (Transportes Urbanos de Sevilla) bus network which runs buses throughout the city as well as outlying areas surrounding Sevilla. El Metrocentro Tranvia is a tram line consisting of four stops, running from el Prado bus station, past the University and the Cathedral, and stopping at Plaza Nueva where the direction of service reverses.
By the end of 2008, the city hopes to see completion of its first metro line, almost 28 months later than originally planned. The project experienced several delays caused by various reasons, including the relocation of archaeological findings and the need for a deeper tunnel under the Guadalquivir River, to avoid possible water leakages.
The Santa Justa train station is served by the AVE high-speed rail system, and is operated by the Spanish formerly state-owned rail company Renfe.
Currently in progress as well is the Sevici community bicycle program which has integrated bicycles into the public transport network. Across the city, bicycles are available for hire at low cost and green bicycle lanes can be seen on most major streets. This network of lanes (carriles) is also currently being expanded.
Famous people born in Seville and Seville province
- Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian were born in Italica
- Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik Ibn Zuhr (known in the West as Avenzoar) - 1091-1161 C.E - "Master Physician"
- Ibn Arabi (known in the West as Doctor Maximus)- 1165-1240 C.E - Muslim mystic known as "The Greatest Master"
- The family of the great IslamicArab historian and sociologist ibn Khaldun
- Renaissance composer Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero
- 16th century novelist Mateo Alemán
- Playwrights Lope de Rueda, Hermanos Alvarez Quintero
- Historian of New Spain Bartolomé de Las Casas
- Explorer Juan Díaz de Solís, born in Lebrija
- Spanish Linguist and Grammarian Antonio de Nebrija, born in Lebrija
- Baroque painters Diego Velázquez, Valdés Leal and Murillo
- Explorer and astronomer Antonio de Ulloa
- Romantic poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
- Bullfighters Juan Belmonte, Curro Romero, Gitanillo de Triana, Espartaco, Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, José Antonio Morante de La Puebla and Joselito el Gallo
- 20th century poets:
- Composer Joaquín Turina
- Actors Juan Diego, Paco León, Manuel Luna
- Actresses Conchita Bautista, María Galiana, Soledad Miranda, Verónica Sánchez, Carmen Sevilla, Paz Vega
- Beauty queen and model Eva Maria González
- Dancers Antonio, el bailarín, Realito, Farruquito
- Singers Isabel Pantoja, Juanita Reina, Estrellita Castro, Lole y Manuel, Paquita Rico, El Caracol, and a large etcetera...
- Francisco Javier Álvarez Colinet, know as Javi, member of the Spanish band D'NASH
- Comedians Paco Gandía, Josele, Pepe da Rosa, Manuel Summers and the Cadaval brothers, Jorge and Cesar, better known as Los Morancos.
- Football (soccer) players Antonio Ramiro ("Antoñito"), José Antonio Reyes, Fernando Muñoz ("Nando"), Ricardo Serna, Sergio Ramos, Jesús Navas, Antonio Puerta,Diego Capel, Carlos Marchena.
- Track and field runner Antonio Jiménez Pentinel (European Champion in steeplechase)
- Olympic swimmer Fátima Madrid
- Rower Beatriz Manchon
- Politicians Felipe González, President of the Government of Spain from 1982 to 1996, and Alfonso Guerra, vice president from 1982 to 1991
- Seville is the hometown of two rival football (soccer) teams: Real Betis Balompié and Sevilla Fútbol Club.
- Seville also unsuccessfully bid for the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, which it lost to Athens and Beijing, respectively. For political reasons, it was unable to bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics as Madrid was also interested in submitting its own bid. Seville had already shown its ability to cope with other international sport events such as the Tennis Davis Cup in 2004 and the 7th Athletics World Championships in 1999. If, as expected, Madrid's 2016 Olympic bid proves unsuccessful, Seville will submit a new one again in 2020.
- Sevilla FC stadium Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán hosted the 1982 World Cup Semi-Finals in which Germany beat France in the penalty shoot-outs after a 3-3 tie.
- Seville FC stadium Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán hosted the 1986 European Cup Final, in which Steaua Bucharest (Romania) unexpectedly defeated FC Barcelona (Spain).
- Seville also hosted in 2003 the UEFA Cup Final in the new Olympic stadium. The final was between Celtic F.C. (Scotland) and Futebol Clube do Porto (Portugal). The match finished in extra time 3–2 to Porto after a 2-2 draw at 90 minutes.
- Sevilla FC won the 2006 UEFA Cup, their first European trophy, with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Middlesbrough FC of England in the final, played at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven on May 10, 2006. Sevilla retained the UEFA Cup in 2007 against fellow Spaniards Espanyol in 3-1 on penalties, after a 2-2 draw at Hampden Park, Glasgow. They are also the holders of the European Supercup which they won with a 0-3 defeat of F.C. Barcelona (Spain) in Stade Louis II in Monaco on August 26, 2006. On June 23, 2007 Sevilla FC won the King's Cup (Copa del Rey) beating Getafe 1-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Real Betis are the 2005 King's Cup (Copa del Rey) Champions, and were the first team from Andalusia to compete in the UEFA Champion's League competition in 2005-2006.
Seville in fiction
Literature, television's inspired
- The picaresque novel Rinconete y Cortadillo by Miguel de Cervantes takes place in the city of Seville.
- The novel La femme et le pantin, ("Woman and puppet") (1898) by Pierre Louÿs, adapted for film several times, is set mainly in Seville.
- Seville is the setting for the legend of Don Juan (inspired by the real aristocrat Don Miguel de Mañara).
- Seville is the primary setting of many operas, the best known of which are Bizet's "Carmen" (based on Merimée's novella), Rossini's "The Barber of Seville," Verdi's "La Forza del Destino," Beethoven's "Fidelio," Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "The Marriage of Figaro," and Prokofiev's "Betrothal in a Monastery."
- The episode "The Grand Inquisitor" in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov is set with Christ's return to Seville.
- Seville is the setting of the novel "The Seville Communion" by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
- Seville appears in the first chapter of science fiction novel Ringworld by Larry Niven.
- Seville is both the location and setting for much of the 1985 Doctor Who television serial The Two Doctors.
- Seville is also used as one of the locations in Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress". According to the author he started to think about writing his The Da Vinci Code when he was doing a course on Art History at the University of Seville. The description of Seville in the book is in question and according to an article by Alvaro Sanchez Leon in the January/February 2006 issue of the Spanish-language magazine Epoca, "Ese señor nunca ha estado matriculado en esta universidad, a no ser que se apuntara a un curso de otoño de los que se dan en la "Facultad de Geografía e Historia" para alumnos extranjeros." (trans: That gentleman has never enrolled in this university, unless he attended one of the short Autumn courses for foreign students at the Faculty of Geography and History.")
- Arthur Koestler's book Spanish Testament is based on the writer's experiences while held in the Seville prison, under a sentence of death, during the Spanish Civil War.
- Robert Wilson's police novel The Hidden Assassins (2006) concerns a terrorist incident in Seville and the political context thereof, with much local color. Note also his title The Blind Man of Seville (2004).