As the capital of Andalucia, Sevilla has enjoyed a colorful history stretching back over 2,500 years. Whether strolling around the gardens of Casa de Pilatos or looking up in awe at Alcazar, it isn’t hard to believe.
Casa de Pilatos
Located in the ancient Jewish quarter, the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the Casa de Pilatos is one of Sevilla’s most often visited sites. This 16th century mansion contains royal carriages, Greek and Roman statues and paintings by Goya. The home is filled with antique furniture and decorated with vases that would be notable even in the finest museums.
Equally stunning are the views of Sevilla from the patios. Standing amid architecture that is an interesting mixture of Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance influences, Casa de Pilatos reflects the blend that is Sevilla itself. Stroll around the gardens briefly with the scent of oranges and you’ll never want to leave.
An even more often visited royal residence is Sevilla’s famed alcazar, a series of palaces that combine elements of the Mudejar, Gothic, Baroque and many more. Filled with stunning tapestries and equally awe-inspiring carved wooden ceilings, inlaid and featuring gold leaf, it is a highlight of any trip to the Andalucian city. Be sure not to miss the Ceiling Room of Carlos V or Felipe II, done in the Mudejar style.
The exterior is equally impressive, offering peaceful gardens that provide an oasis in this hectic Spanish city. The New Garden section houses a fascinating mixture of English and Moorish styles. The Pool of Mercury is a capstone to any tour that must include the Doña María de Padilla baths.
Like many great cities, Sevilla doesn’t lack for buildings that have been public since their beginning. The Catedral de Sevilla is one of the more notable ones on view.
Constructed in the 16th century, it is by no means as old as churches in Europe go. But the style is surpassed by none. With an entrance similar to that of Notre Dame in Paris, it remains a favorite of visitors.
Inside there are over a thousand Biblical scenes around the walls, carved at a time when few churchgoers could read and hence had to learn the stories by seeing images. The High Altar is a masterpiece, gargantuan at 27 meters (88 feet) high and 18 meters (59 feet) wide. Yet the Gothic vault that hovers above is still higher at 37 meters (121 feet).
Not least of the attractions of the cathedral is the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Supported by four figures representing the four former Spanish kingdoms (Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarre), it is a highlight of the visit.
Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes
Last, but far from least, one should never leave Sevilla without visiting one of the finest fine arts museums in Europe: the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes de Sevilla.
First opened to the public in 1841, it is housed in a former convent built in the early 17th century, the Convento de la Merced. There are works by the Spanish masters Francisco de Zurbaran and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, along with hundreds of other lesser known, but equally skilled artists.
The galleries are arranged around three courtyards that alone make the visit worthwhile. Surrounded by art from the 14th through the 18th centuries, visitors in this setting can easily imagine themselves transported back to those eras.