Living and Dancing in Seville

You can’t miss it: on the banks of the Guadalquivir river, there are strong aromas of Andalucian cuisine, churches built on top of old mosques, the unmistakable architectural ornamentations and the omnipresence of the poetic sounds and movement of flamenco. This is Seville, a city where the old Moorish culture is still present and where one finds strong colours, an intense lifestyle and contagious joy.

Dream, History and Art

The historical influence of the Moors can be felt in several locations and traditions, as well as everyday life.

The streets show us a city that served as a crossroads of different cultures over the centuries. Perhaps the best example of this is the Real Alcázar — a majestic palace complex where the legacy of History coexists with the boldness and creativity of the arts. This ancient fortress has been a royal residence since the 14th century and gradually became a dream landscape with beautiful Moorish-style buildings and refreshing gardens filled with statues and fountains. The scenery is evocative of several different time periods and cultures, with a focus on mudéjar architecture.

But there is more in the historical centre, where we find the world’s largest Gothic building: the Seville Cathedral. It was built during the late Middle Ages on top of an Islamic temple after the Christians conquered the city in 1248, and to this day we can still see the old mosque’s minaret — the Tower of Giralda, from where we can enjoy an amazing view of the city. At Plaza de España, we can gaze at grandiose buildings and arcades — despite having been built in 1928, the square’s architecture has Renaissance and Moorish elements. Moving closer to the banks of the Guadalquivir we find the regional government headquarters: the San Telmo Palace, a Baroque treasure. Finally, to learn more about Seville’s artistic traditions, you should get to know the collection at the local Fine Arts Museum.


 When dinner time comes, you should begin your flavour tour — after all, Seville is known for its food and wine culture, which benefit from the rich ingredients coming from the surrounding farm regions as well as centuries of History and mixing between Arabic and Iberian gastronomical traditions. The highlight goes to culinary delights such as the Gazpacho Andaluz (a fresh tomato soup), the iconic tortillas, several pork meat dishes and delicious tapas such as Jamón Ibérico. Besides the regional wines, Sevillans also enjoy manzanilla, a popular local fortified wine.

To find the best of what Seville’s cuisine has to offer, all you need to do is explore the streets of the city centre near the Cathedral, the Santa Cruz neighbourhood or El Arenal. In all of these areas you will find many places where you can discover the taste of Seville, from modest tapas bars to the fanciest restaurants, as well as several bars and terraces where Sevillans enjoy spending their evenings. 

Between Faith… and Dancing!

But don’t have too much to eat, because later you might have to dance! It is impossible to visit this city without experiencing Flamenco. This emotional style of folk music and dance had its origin in the gypsy people, who arrived at the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages after the Moorish conquest. The music is melancholic yet rhythmic, played with guitars, hand claps and percussions and including melodic singing. The other element of Flamenco is its vigorous dancing style that include fast movements, sensuous motions and tap dancing by both male and female performers wearing colourful traditional clothing.
Currently, Flamenco is an essential part of Spanish identity and Seville is regarded as the “capital” of this art, since it is home to some of its most prestigious performers. To fully know the depth of Flamenco and get into the spirit of its rhythms, the best thing to do is to visit the Triana quarter. Here, you will find several Flamenco bars where you can attend live performances with the region’s best artists… and possibly, join the fiesta

To learn more about Flamenco, head for the Museo del Baile Flamenco. In this museum you can get to know the History of Flamenco, watch performances and even attend music and dance classes! 

But while Flamenco represents the profane side of Seville, one must also not forget the city’s deeply religious element, which is more evident during Semana Santa (Holy Week): one most important local events, attracting tens of thousands of people from all over the country. During the Catholic Easter period, the streets are filled with crowds taking part of religious processions led by the nazarenos — men who parade the streets wearing austere hooded religious clothes. Each quarter of the city is home to different groups (confrarias) of these men who lead the processions and cross the city’s streets with religious decorative floats and images of the Virgin Mary.
Interestingly enough, as if to highlight the religious / profane dichotomy, another important event takes place just after Semana Santa: the Seville April Fair. For a whole week, the banks of the Guadalquivir river come alive with open air traditional markets, folklore parades with people wearing traditional Flamenco clothing, bullfighting and music and dance performances — all of this you will find in what is regarded as one of the biggest annual festivals in Spain!

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