Captivating and beautiful, the capital of Andalucía intoxicates and excites. It is the city of flamenco, bulls, Carmen and Don Juan; its history and culture give rise to pride, tradition, passion and joy. Native “Sevillano” and Madrid & Beyond insider Jaime has worked as a guide for more than 25 years. He started working with large groups but, as time went by, realized he could lead more successful tours, and make better connections with his clients, in smaller groups. With formal training in architecture and tourism, an adaptable personality and bundles of enthusiasm, Jaime makes a perfect companion for discovering the delights of Sevilla. He talks us through his five architectural highlights of the Andalusian capital.
“While my brother used to read comics as a child, it was the black and white photos of iconic buildings in an old encyclopedia that caught my attention. This early interest in structural design led me to train as an architectural draftsman before working in Germany with a team of archaeologists. Now, I love to share this passion with travelers who visit my hometown of Sevilla, revealing some of the architectural treasures of this beautiful city.”
- María Luisa Park This vast urban park, home to over 140 species of trees from all over the world – can be enjoyed all year round. It is historically important as the site of the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929 which changed the park with the addition of the adjacent Plaza de España, a 50m2 half circle facing the river and representing every province of Spain in decorative tiled alcoves.
- Sevilla Jewish Quarter While this isn’t a single building, the charming “barrio” known as Santa Cruz was once home to the largest Jewish community in the country. With its maze-like streets, it’s a beautiful part of the city to explore, especially for architecture lovers.
- Sevilla Cathedral Sevilla’s enormous cathedral – the largest Gothic church in the world – occupies the site of the old Muslim mosque and houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus. ‘La Giralda’, the famous bell tower, has stood since the 12th century and is the minaret of the former mosque. If it seems familiar you may have seen its twins in Rabat and Marrakesh.
- Royal Alcázar A must-see in Sevilla, the Royal Alcázar is one of the oldest palaces in the world dating back 1,000 years. It was created by Abd al-Rahman III, the great Arab Emir who also created the Medina Azahara in Córdoba. The gardens are particularly striking combining Almohad, Mudéjar and Renaissance styles.
- Gold Tower This iconic 12-sided tower has stood on the banks of the Guadaliquivir River since the 13th century and is now a maritime museum. First built as a defensive watchtower during the reign of Sevilla’s Almohad governor Abù l-Ulà, it was added to in the 14th century and again in the 18th century following damage caused by the Great Lisbon Earthquake. Contrary to myths that have surrounded the tower for centuries, it takes its name from the shimmer created by the lime and straw mortar.
To meet Jaime and to discover more of Sevilla, contact the Madrid & Beyond team today. Other exclusive experiences we can offer as part of your vacation include afternoon tea with one of Sevilla’s oldest families in their incredible palace or access to young, aspiring bullfighters as they learn the art of one of Spain’s oldest and most controversial traditions.