The City Rarely Seen

Universally recognized for the architectural group that make up the Cathedral, the Reales Alcazares and the Archivo General de Indias as World Heritage since 1987, Seville hides other marvels for the visitor, beyond the clichés and the typical images that the city is famous for. Places not exempts from history that are sprinkled along our itinerary through the center and nearby areas, and which usually form part of the cultural program for the   Spanish Courses at the Giralda Center.

Surely there are many who don’t know about the building which presently houses the Town Hall, offering guided tours, and a notable example of the Plateresque style. Approach it from the Avenida de la Constitución, now part of the completely pedestrian surroundings, along one of the walkways most frequently used by Sevillanos and visitors.

From there, we can stroll along two of the busiest commercial streets in the center: Sierpes and Tetuán; passing by the Plaza del Salvador, where we find another of the city’s jewels: the Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador (free entrance along with the ticket for the Cathedral). This impressive example of Barroque architecture shares the same history of Sevillian faith as it was a Roman Basilica and Muslim Mosque before becoming what it is today.

And while we are talking about the Barroque, we must congratulate ourselves on the renovation and recent opening to the public of the current presidential headquarters of the Junta de Andalucía: the Palacio de San Telmo.

The building was at various times the University of Commerce, Naval College, Palace of the Dukes of Montpensier and a seminary.

Leaving behind the center and continuing along Avenida de Eduardo Dato, we come to the gardens and palace of the La Buhaira, the city’s historical limit and part of the suburb San Bernardo. It was the famous poet king Almutamid who first organized the space as a vegetable and flower garden around a lagune that existed at the time. But the true promotor was the Caliph Yacub Yusuf who not only increased the number of vegetal species, but also constructed the first palace, creating a complex very similar to the style of the Cordoban Medina Azahara. It is now a public park with a civic center, so access is free.

Finally, we leave the city center and head north where we find ourselves at the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas. It was first constructed in the 16th century and functioned as a hospital until 1972 when it was converted into the headquarters of the Andalusian parliament in 1986 for which it presently serves. A visit to this extraordinary building can be reserved by phone.

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