The Atarazanas

We continue along our itinerary to an historically fastenating sight as yet unknown to the public because it is currently a project under construction –  a perfect excuse to return to Seville! And I feel it definitely belongs in our blog.

The Ataranzas (DRAE: from Hispanic Arabic *ãdár assán’a, from árdár assiná’a, and from Classical Arabic dar assina’ah “house of industry”) meaning shipyards, represented the naval industry belonging to the Crown of Castille in Seville from the 13th to 15th century.

Alfonso the Wise ordered construction of the building in 1252, with only 7 parts remaining of the original 17. The area next to the Torre de Oro was chosen as it  was just 1 meter from the Guadalquivir River and at the time connected by an esplanade of sand to facilitate the transport of ships from the factory to the navegable sea.

In this surface area of more that 7,000 metres square, carpenters worked along side other guilds such as fishermen, specialists in salt-curing and merchants.

The location of this Gothic-Mudejar building, occupying the streets of Temprano and Dos de Mayo in the crowded quarter Barrio del Arenal, forms part of Sevilla’s historical landmarks. This building was principally designated for the construction of galleys, rowing vessels and sails; and with its proximity to the river, became the center of the city’s port activity.

And from where it stood there were magnificent views of the Cathedral which are now impossible to enjoy.

The architect Guillermo Vazquez Consuegra, whose renovation work is paralyzed at the moment, says that this building is “key to understanding the process of the city’s construction. Its interior is the most fascinating and intense space in all of Sevillian civil architecture, comparable only to the Cathedral.” This singular space in Seville has been closed for over 20 years and is pending renovation that is presently at a stand-still. I must say that in 2008 we were lucky enough to visit the area as part of a program for school-visits. It certainly made a lasting impression on us and will come as no surprise that it was chosen for the setting of HBO’s 7th season of “Games of Thrones”.

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