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Visit Seville

How to Spend Your Downtime in Seville

Flamenco

From flamenco to tapas, Sevilla is likely to have everything you expect to find in Spain: the sun, the hospitality and the three-hour siesta in the middle of the day are just a few of the elements that create that carefree environment that has come to be the source of much envy and many jokes abroad. Together with this, however, Sevilla also brings a world of opportunities to its visitors, who have a practically inexhaustible amount of options to choose from in terms of both cultural activities and entertainment.

Located right in the core of Andalucía's cultural map, between Cádiz on the shoreline and Córdoba just a bit further inland, Sevilla is within easy access of other enormously interesting centres, such as Granada, with its world-famous Alhambra, as well as Gibraltar, Morocco and Portugal. Yet, while Seville might serve as the perfect hub for further excursions into foreign lands and cultures, the city boasts far too much history and tradition to be used merely as a stopover destination.

The World Is Your Oyster

With more than 2000 years of history, Sevilla has bore witness to just about every civilization that has inhabited the Iberian peninsula. As an important settlement during the Roman, Muslim and Christian times in Spain, it boasts one of the richest heritages not only in the country but in the world. As such, Sevilla counts among the most popular destinations for visitors who wish to learn Spanish in Spain.

Among the greatest benefits of spending a period of time in this part of Spain is the sense of perspective it can give you both in geographic and in cultural terms. Thus, if you consult a Sevilla city guide you will find that among the highlights of the city there are a variety of monuments from the different times and civilizations that have passed through the area. Such as the Roman ruins of Itálica, for instance, of the Muslim 'Tower of Gold'. In this respect, Sevilla truly epitomises Spanish culture as a whole, in that the city clearly shows the syncretism that has been adopted in order to accommodate the vast diversity of traditions that have cohabited it.

Nowhere is this syncretism more evident and better represented than in the Real Alcázar of Sevilla, the Royal Palace, which stems from as far back as the Muslim invasion of 712, when the first structure was erected as a fortification to protect the conquered city. Soon thereafter a palace was attached to the fortification and from then onwards the building was developed with both a military and a residential purpose. Towards the end of the XI century the palace was enlarged, with further gardens and courtyards appended to the property, although presently the only portion of the Alcázar that remains intact from its Muslim period is the Patio del Yeso (Plaster Courtyard).

Alcázar

Undoubtedly one of the most impressive constructions in all of Spain, the Alcázar is perhaps the best representation of the Mudéjar style – a truly unique architectural form of the peninsula. Especially remarkable within the building is the Palacio de Padro (Pedro's Palace), which was ordered built by Peter I of Castile in 1364, and which contrasts with the earlier Gothic reforms carried out under the rule of his grandfather, Alfonso X.

From the Many to the One

The multiplicity of influences evident on the surface of Sevilla is a perfect parallel of the of the way Spanish culture has been forged. If you come to learn Spanish in Sevilla you will have the opportunity to experience first hand Spanish cultural activities at their rawest. Indeed, some schools in the city offer combined courses that allow you to collate language lessons with, for instance, flamenco classes. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the origin of flamenco is as obscure as it is mixed – possibly imported by foreign hordes, developed through the influence of Moorish instruments and presently appropriated by the Gypsy culture, flamenco has a fascinating and multifarious heritage.

Sevilla is also a popular spot for watching a spot of bullfighting or visiting the Arab baths, two activities with very different origins, but both equally at home in this cultural mecca.

Whether you come in the winter or in the summer, for the Feria or for Christmas, Sevilla is warm and welcoming at any point. More importantly, the city always lends itself to be peeled into the different elements that constitute it and that, ultimately make it one. Like Spanish culture in general, Sevilla is made up of many separate aspects, which come together in this space to create a unique and perfectly unitary place.