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The Five Best Historical Places to Visit around Sevilla, Spain

If you are fascinated by history like me, and you had to pick anywhere in the world to live, where would you choose? Rome? Saint Augustine? Paris?
 

What about Sevilla, Spain?

 
 
Located in southern Spain on the Guadalquivir River, Sevilla is one of Spain’s oldest cities, inhabited from before the time of the Romans, and has been occupied by the Tartessos, Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, and Christian kingdoms. Everywhere you go, there is a beautiful blend of cultures in this old port town.
And so, after learning about all of the time periods and people, I decided to go see all Sevilla has to offer and give you my favorite five sights. Whether you are wanting to stop by for a visit or are thinking about studying abroad, Sevilla has more than enough history to keep you loving every minute of it.
 

1. Italica

 
 
This small town of ancient Roman ruins takes your breath away. After the Battle of Ilipia in 206 BC, the Roman victors founded the city. Over twenty-two hundred years later, you can still go and walk the streets. The town still exists as decently-kept ruins, including an enormous gladiator amphitheater, mosaic floors, statues, and the roads with the original stones. It was the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Trajan, and you can’t help but spend an entire afternoon here.

 Roman Ruins of Italica, with original columns and tiles
 
 Although now ruins, this amphitheater held over 25, 000 people in the day!

2. Barrio de Santa Cruz

 
 
One of the oldest “neighborhoods” of Sevilla, this is my favorite part of town to explore. It is part of the old, famed Jewish Quarter, and with tiny curved streets designed to keep out the hot summer sun, this is a maze worth getting lost in. Every street has an open-air café or tapas bar, locals wander the streets, and the smells of fresh tea leaves waft through the corridors. Every street name has an elaborate story and there are innumerable plaques in the sides of buildings left as memorials to famous events, citizens, and time periods.
 Narrow streets and open air restaurants in Barrio de Santa Cruz

3. La Catedral

 
 
Sevilla, if you did not know, is home to the largest Gothic-style cathedral in the world. Right in the middle of the center of town, this cathedral is built on the site of an old Muslim Mosque. The tallest tower of the cathedral, called La Giralda, was part of the mosque and was admired so much by the Christians who conquered Sevilla in 1248 that they decided to leave it standing. Stained glass windows, flying buttresses, columns, alters, naves, the belltower, an orange grove, and so much history.
 The largest gothic cathedral in the world!

4. Torre del Oro

 
 
Standing tall and proud on the river is the Torre del Oro (“Tower of Gold”), left from the Muslims who occupied Sevilla. Once used as defense, this is now one of the oldest and most loved sights of the city. Taking a picture by it is a must!
 The Torre del Oro, or Tower of Gold, is at the heart of the city

5. Hercules Columns

 
 
The oldest things I have ever seen with my eyes are these columns. Once part of a temple to Hercules in the city, these three columns (and two that were moved elsewhere) are the only part still standing. In fact, they still stand at the exact same spot they have since the beginning. Now, because the street level has risen over the years, they now stand some 14 feet below street level. Hidden gem in Sevilla. One of my absolute favorites.
 Original columns of a Roman Temple to Hercules

Hope you love Sevillan history as much as I do!


Jansen Nash is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Seville, Spain. He is currently a sophomore at Clemson University.

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