sevilla

sevilla: almohad baths, rediscovered

España, Andalucía, Sevilla, Bar Giralda, Almohad, baths, baños árabes

I’ll wager that almost everyone who visits Sevilla has walked past the Cervecería Bar Giralda on Mateos Gago. Beginning as a kiosk in 1923 on nearby Plaza Virgen de los Reyes, owners moved to this more permanent spot when architect Vicente Traver renovated a pre-existing structure. Regionalist style was all the rage in 1920s Sevilla, so Traver incorporated what he found into his design then left no written record of his work. Archaeologists would uncover this gem one hundred years later…

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spain: nativity scenes

Since early days of Christianity, representations of the birth of Jesus appeared all around the Mediterranean. But on Christmas Eve of 1223 a new trend began which has endured to the present: St. Francis of Assisi placed an empty manger with a donkey & an ox —combining imagery from the Gospel of Luke & the Book of Isaiah— inside a cave in central Italy. After Mass, St. Francis told of the coming of Christ to an awestruck crowd. They could finally see & experience what had only been words before! Soon people began to portray Biblical figures as actors, & a more practical version with figurines carved of wood or sculpted from terracotta developed in time. From these medieval Italian origins, the Nativity scene would become popular centuries later in Spain…

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personal: places lived 12

places lived, Spain, Sevilla, 2016 to present

As I wondered if Seattle would be financially feasible in the long run, I met Rafael between work assignments in Spain. We shared similar interests & even the same profession… not to mention Rafa is one of the kindest people I know. Visiting me in Seattle in 2016, Rafa learned that his father wanted to sell the family apartment in Sevilla. Suddenly he was looking for a place to live & so was I. Although I’d never considered living in Sevilla before meeting Rafa, the universe steered me to Andalucía once again.

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sevilla: semana santa, favorite moments

Andalucía, Sevilla, Semana Santa, Holy Week

With Holy Week on hold due to coronavirus, there’s no better time to relive some of my favorite moments from previous years. Sure, the Vatican may allow a grand procession after quarantine is over & there’s even talk of celebrating Semana Santa in September. Whatever. Festivities should have begun today. It’s a moment many sevillanos look forward to all year long, including me. Although I’m not Catholic & was raised in an agnostic home, Semana Santa transcends religion. This week also celebrates a sense of community, an end of the winter blues & of course, rebirth. We can all relate to that. A couple years ago after the Christmas season ended on Epiphany, I told my husband, “We’ve got to start getting ready for Holy Week!” He laughed & joked, “That’s the most sevillano thing you’ve ever said.” Tag along with us during a normal year…

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sevilla: monumento al sagrado corazón de jesús

España, Spain, Andalucía, Sevilla, San Juan de Aznalfarache, Sagrado Corazón, monumento

Perched on a hilltop with commanding views over the Guadalquivir Valley, the Monumento al Sagrado Corazón de Jesús reigns over Sevilla’s suburbs. Its tall tower in San Juan de Aznalfarache forms part of a larger complex & is often visible on the way to either IKEA, El Corte Inglés or Leroy Merlin… all those special trips. Obviously from the Franco era due to its scale & size, the monument followed part of a worldwide Catholic trend of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus & was sponsored by the cardinal-archbishop of Sevilla, Pedro Segura y Sáez.

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sevilla: spring blossoms

España, Sevilla, Andalucía, primavera, spring, flowers, blossoms, flores

Spring has sprung! With a mild climate for most of the year, plants love Sevilla… if they can survive the intense heat of summer. The city is filled with a huge variety of flowering plants & trees, so the winter blues disappear quickly. While this post isn’t a compendium of all we’ve got blooming now, let it inspire you to stroll the city & enjoy one of nature’s great displays.

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sevilla: heliópolis

España, Spain, Andalucía, Sevilla, Heliópolis

The 1929 Iberoamerican Exposition radically transformed the city of Sevilla, with major projects such a large public park (Parque María Luisa) & the creation of cortas (artificial canals) in the Guadalquivir River. Cortas served several important purposes: shortening the river’s course, providing a means for more rapid water flow & thereby reducing sediment deposit, allowing for better flood control, creating new port facilities & opening new land for development. Although plagued with constant delays, this new infrastructure turned Sevilla into a modern city.

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spain: sevilla day trips

España, Spain, Sevilla, day trips

When I moved back to Spain in 2016, I resolved to visit all places near home in Sevilla —big or small— that I’d never had time to see during a work trip. Part of this ambitious plan also included re-visiting places I knew well but felt I needed to explore more… and write trip reports for this blog. Well, that was the plan. Life has a way of making plans go astray so… no time like the present to start.

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discovery: 1929 expo tiles

Spain, Portugal, Espanha espera a nossa visita

Many tourists are told an old, tired tale that Spain & Portugal merely tolerate each other… as if turning their backs to one another at the border. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since early medieval times, intermarriage between the Portuguese & Castilian courts formed the cornerstone of foreign policy for both kingdoms. The 1385 battle at Batalha established a fairly permanent border between them, but soon afterwards the Discoveries era brought them into frequent contact again. Portuguese captains worked for Spain with ship crews almost always a mix from both. To the chagrin of other European countries, Spain & Portugal divided the world. Even in the 20th century, both had decades-long dictatorships. Spain & Portugal have much more in common than most people realize.

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sevilla: exhibición de enganches

España, Spain, Andalucía, Sevilla, horse, caballo, Exhibición de Enganches

While Feria may not be my thing, an event coinciding with the April fair gets me excited every year: a horse carriage display & competition. The first one took place in 1984 & later, with the King of Spain accepting the title of honorary President, the Club de Enganches de Andalucía added Real (“royal”) to their title. Horses & Andalucía have gone together forever, & many families choose to arrive to their caseta during feria either on horseback or by carriage… one more way to promote local culture as well as add a touch of glamour.

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