Top Historic Sights in Seville, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of Seville

Seville Cathedral

Seville's cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years. History The basilica occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque, built in the late ...
Founded: 1401 | Location: Seville, Spain

Archivo General de Indias

The Archivo General de Indias ('General Archive of the Indies'), housed in the ancient merchants" exchange of Seville, is the repository of extremely valuable archival documents illustrating the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines. The building itself, an unusually serene and Italianate example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, was designed by Juan de Herrera. This struc ...
Founded: 1584 | Location: Seville, Spain

Alcázar of Seville

The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace, built for the Christian king Peter of Castile. It was built by Castilian Christians on the site of an Abbadid Muslim residential fortress destroyed after the Christian conquest of Seville. The palace, a pre-eminent example of Mudéjar architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, is renowned as one of the most beautiful. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal famil ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Seville, Spain

Plaza de España

The Plaza de España in the Parque de María Luisa was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of the Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Baroque Revival, Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival (Neo-Mudéjar) styles of Spanish architecture. The plaza complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous ...
Founded: 1928 | Location: Seville, Spain

Antiquarium

Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways. These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Par ...
Founded: 1st century BCE | Location: Seville, Spain

Casa Consistorial de Sevilla

The Casa consistorial de Sevilla is a Plateresque-style building in Plaza Nueva, currently home of the city"s government. The work begin under architect Diego de Riaño, who directed the work between 1527 and his death in 1534. He was commissioned to construct a stone building, durable and with a façade to the Plaza Mayor in front of the convent of San Francisco. He executed what is now the southern section of the ...
Founded: 1527 | Location: Seville, Spain

Maestranza

The Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla is a 12,000-capacity bullring in Seville, Spain. During the annual Seville Fair in Seville, it is the site of one of the most well-known bullfighting festivals in the world. It is a part of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, a noble guild established for traditional cavalry training. Construction began in 1749 of a circular ring on B ...
Founded: 1749 | Location: Seville, Spain

Salvador Church

The Salvador church was erected on the remains of the Ibn Adabba, the Great Mosque of Muslim Seville (9th century). This religious temple, as well as its surroundings, had great importance in the daily life of the people, which is why when the Christians conquered Seville, they allowed it to be used as a mosque in the beginning, but in 1340, it was converted into the parish of Salvador. In addition, it was agreed to main ...
Founded: 1674 | Location: Seville, Spain

Torre del Oro

The Torre del Oro ('Tower of Gold') is a dodecagonal military watchtower erected by the Almohad Caliphate in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river. Constructed in the first third of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river, due to its building materials (a mixture of mortar, lime and presse ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Seville, Spain

Palace of the Countess of Lebrija

The Lebrija Palace or Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija is a house-museum in central Seville. Dating to the 16th century and remodeled between the 18th and 20th centuries, the palace is characterised by its collection of art, including Roman mosaics and other antiquities as well as Asian art, paintings by European masters and European decorative arts. The interior of the palace is decorated in a palette of architectural s ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Seville, Spain

Casa de Pilatos

La Casa de Pilatos (Pilate"s House) serves as the permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli. It is an example of an Italian Renaissance building with Mudéjar elements and decorations. This beautiful mansion is one of central Seville’s hidden treasures, and its exquisite gardens, though smaller in scale, match anything you’ll see in the Alcázar. The construction, which is adorned with precious azulejo tile ...
Founded: 1483 | Location: Seville, Spain

Seville Shipyard

The Seville Shipyard (Atarazanas) is a medieval shipyard. It was operative between the 13th and 15th centuries, and are built in Gothic style. They were specialized in the construction of galleys, which played an important role in the struggles for the control of the Strait of Gibraltar, as well as in the Castilian participation in the Hundred Years" War. The complex consisted of a building with seventeen naves next ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Seville, Spain

Museo de Bellas Artes

The Museum of Fine Arts of Seville has a collection of mainly Spanish visual arts from the medieval period to the early 20th century, including a choice selection of works by artists from the so-called Golden Age of Sevillian painting during the 17th century, such as Murillo, Zurbarán, Francisco de Herrera the younger, and Valdés Leal. The building itself was built in 1594, but the museum was founded in 1839, after the ...
Founded: 1839 | Location: Seville, Spain

Archeological Museum of Seville

The Archeological Museum of Seville is housed in the Pabellón del Renacimiento, one of the pavilions designed by the architect Aníbal González. These pavilions at the Plaza de España were created for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The museum"s basement houses the El Carambolo treasure, discovered in Camas in 1958. The treasure comprises 2950 grams of 24 carat gold and consists of golden bracelets, a go ...
Founded: 1929 | Location: Seville, Spain

Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas

The Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas, also known as the Monastery of the Cartuja hosts today The Andalusian Contemporary Art Center (The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo). Legend holds that the area, in Moorish times, was honeycombed with caves made by potters for ovens and to obtain clay, and that after the capture of the city by Christians in the thirteenth century, an image of the virgin was revealed ins ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Seville, Spain

Walls of Seville

The Walls of Seville are a series of defensive walls surrounding the Old Town. They were built in times of Julius Caesar, approximately between the years 68 and 65 BC, when he was quaestor of the city. This new fortification was aimed at replacing the old Carthaginian stockade of logs and mud. The walls were expanded and refined during the rule of his son Augustus due to the growth of the city. The city has been surround ...
Founded: 68-65 BCE | Location: Seville, Spain

Royal Tobacco Factory

The Royal Tobacco Factory, an 18th-century industrial building was, at the time it was built the second largest building in Spain, second only to the royal residence El Escorial. It remains one of the largest and most architecturally distinguished industrial buildings ever built in that country, and one of the oldest such buildings to survive. Since the 1950s it has been the seat of the rectorate of the University of Sev ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Seville, Spain

Palacio de las Dueñas

Palacio de las Dueñas (Palace of the Dukes of Alba) currently belongs to the House of Alba. It was built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences. The palace is one of the major historic homes in the city of great architectural and artistic heritage. Today it is one of the most visited monuments in Seville. The palace consists of a series of courtyards and buildings. The style ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Seville, Spain

Santa María Magdalena Church

Santa María Magdalena was built in 1691-1709 under design of architect Leonardo de Figueroa, above a medieval church built after the Christian conquest of the city in 1248. The façade has three portals, one featuring a sculpture of 'St. Dominic' by Pedro Roldán. Above the portals are an oculus, sided by two blue spheres symbolizing the mystery of the rosary, and a bell-gable (1697). All the exterior of ...
Founded: 1691-1709 | Location: Seville, Spain

Palacio de San Telmo

The Palace of San Telmo is today the seat of the presidency of the Andalusian Autonomous Government. Construction of the building began in 1682 outside the walls of the city, on property belonging to the Tribunal of the Holy Office, the institution responsible for the Spanish Inquisition. It was originally constructed as the seat of the University of Navigators (Universidad de Mareantes), a school to educate orphane ...
Founded: 1682 | Location: Seville, Spain

Church of Saint Louis of France

The Society of Jesus arrived in Seville in 1554 and constructed a church, a professed house and a novitiate. At the beginning of the 17th century, Lucia de Medina donated land for a new, larger building and a new church with the conditions that she would be buried in the chapel and that the church be dedicated to her patron saint, Saint Louis (Louis IX of France, medieval king and first brother of King Ferdinand III of C ...
Founded: 1699 | Location: Seville, Spain

Caños de Carmona Roman Aqueduct

The Caños de Carmona (Pipes of Carmona) are the remains of a Roman aqueduct 17.5 kilometres long, later rebuilt by the Almohads, which connected the cities of Carmona and Seville, and which was fully operational until its demolition in 1912. It was primary constructed from bricks, and consisted of approximately 400 arches standing on pillars, with additional upper arcade sections in some places. It is believed to be the ...
Founded: 68-65 BCE | Location: Seville, Spain

Santa Paula Convent

Seville has many enclosed religious complexes, but few are accessible. This is one of them, a convent set up in 1475 and still home to 40 nuns. The public is welcome to enter through two different doors in the Calle Santa Paula. Knock on the brown one, marked number 11 to look at the convent museum. Steps lead to two galleries, crammed with religious paintings and artifacts. The windows of the second look onto the nuns&qu ...
Founded: 1475 | Location: Seville, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.