So the last few weeks, I told you about our trip to Madrid, but did I tell you that we went to Seville too?!
Let me just say that our visit to Seville was the first of its kind!
We were lucky then that one of our blogger friends KemKem and her Italian husband from – Next Bite of Life – very kindly offered to host us while we there.
Thank you so much guys!
When travelling to destinations, I don’t make it a part of my trip to particularly follow a festival, on the other hand, I have followed a piece of Art around the world, but that’s another story..!
In this case, not only was it during the birthday of “The Tall Young Gentleman” who happened to be 14 years old (proud mum here!), but it also happened to be the Easter holidays too.
Now I’m not particularly religious, but the people of Spain are, and we happened to be in Seville right slap in the middle of a most important festival.
That festival called Semana Santa, otherwise known as Holy Week or Easter!
But firstly, let’s talk a little about Seville!
SEVILLE IN GLORIOUS ANDALUSIA!
Seville is the capital city of Andalusia and was previously known as the Roman city of Hispalis although, according to legend, Seville was founded by Hercules!
Seville has a population of about 703,000 people and is the fourth (4th) largest city in Spain! It’s Old Town is marvellous and is an area of only 4 square kilometres but has three (3) UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.
Seville is a river destination leading to the Atlantic Ocean and in fact, is the only river port in Spain! It’s a beautiful city deriving its exotic nature from its Moorish roots and the trans-atlantic trade after the discovery of the Americas, art, literature, and architecture, and the Spanish Golden Age.
I’d always known that Seville was a place of history, but I had no idea how much interest and importance Seville had, and this was revealed by our friends.
I had absolutely no idea that hidden in Seville was the first permanent Roman settlement in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, and the cradle of the emperor Trajan, who was born there in the year 53 AD, and his successor, Hadrian!
If I’d known that a Roman settlement was in Spain, I’d had gone to Seville much sooner!
I mean, my interest was piqued as I’m from Manchester – a Roman civilian settlement called Mancunium in 79 AD. I went to the University of Chester – a Roman fort called Deva Victrix in AD 79. And even my husband from Osnabrück, was born in a city which successfully won the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest against the mighty Roman army, in 9 AD!
It was surely meant to be!
The Roman city of Italica was established in 206 BC for the soldiers injured in the Battle of Ilipa, and soon became a city of capital importance between 206 BC and 138 AD, after the reign of that most significant Roman emperor – Hadrian – of Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England!
The Italica represented the majesty of the Roman city, clearly visible in the layout of its’ streets, and its’ public and private buildings, which were integrated into an exceptional landscape that was Roman town planning.
Even as a little girl, I had always been impressed by the ingenious of the Romans, and the Italica was no exception!
I mean, there was a Roman amphitheatre, the fully existing tiles of quite a few Roman baths, Roman streets, Roman courtyards, even a House of Birds and a Planetarium.
WHAT SHALL I DO IN THE “OLD TOWN” OF SEVILLE?
Sadly, we only had three (3) days in Seville and so on our last day, we spent all day and pretty much most of the evening, in the Old Town of Seville. And this is what we did:
Use public transport: Our friends lived in the suburbs of Seville, so we took the underground metro into “town.” It was pretty easy to use so we bought one way tickets costing just €1.60 each.
Join a free walking tour: I’m a sucker for free walking tours as well as paid tours…! so we contacted a company in Seville called Pancho Tours. Our guide was called Rafael and he was great and rather funny! When it comes to free walking tours, I have my favourites, but it’s always good to mix and match so that everyone gets a free chance, and as many local people as possible, get our custom!
Learn about the history of Spain.
Go gaga at the fact that Seville has not one (1) but three (3), UNESCO World Heritage buildings!
Visit the official tomb of Christopher Columbus, or so they say….!
Drink! Seville is a hot place!
For goodness sake, wear a hat and cover yourself with suncream! I’m dark-skinned, but even I wouldn’t mess about with the sunshine!
Go all romantic and hire a horse and carriage. Oh go on! You know you want to!
If you’ve never seen a group of people, in hoods, and walking all over town, you’re in for a shock!
I observed this personally, when I first visited Spain, many, many years ago.
I’m not American. I’m British, but I’ve seen the films and read the history of the atrocities of slavery. And believe me, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw all those hooded parades, and people were smiling and playing instruments!
I was shocked!
So this time around, I wasn’t in the least surprised, still slightly uncomfortable mind, when I observed a whole array of hooded people in Seville. In a variety of colours. Some of them children. And many of them members of the Spanish priesthood! I even saw a few of them queuing up to take a bus!
All of this, was a result of Holy Week.
GOLLY! WHAT’S HOLY WEEK ALL ABOUT THEN?
Well, Holy Week or Semana Santa in Spain, is the annual commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ, celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions on the streets of almost every Spanish city and town, during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter.
The celebration of Holy Week regarding popular piety, relies almost exclusively on the processions of the brotherhoods or fraternities, stemming from the late Middle Ages (1350), to date. Think the Illuminati, Free Masons, etc. Membership is open to any Catholic person, and family tradition is an important element to become a member or “brother.”
Holy Week in Seville is known as Semana Santa de Sevilla and is one of the city’s two biggest annual festivals, the other being the Feria de Abril (April Fair), which follows two weeks later.
Semana Santa de Sevilla features the procession of pasos, floats of life-like wooden sculptures, scenes of the events of the Passion, and images of the grieving Virgin Mary. Some of the sculptures are of great antiquity and are considered artistic masterpieces, as well as being culturally and spiritually important to the local Catholic population.
Members of the brotherhood can be recognised by the distinctive cloaks and hoods of each procession. The ones we saw had tunics and hoods with conical tips, that were used to conceal the face of the wearer, and sometimes a cloak. Most of the robes tended to be purple, black and alarmingly, white!
Historically, the robes were widely used in the medieval period for penitents, who could demonstrate their penance while still masking their identity.
After exploring Seville, we noticed a high number of Spanish people smartly dressed and full of excitement.
The women were wearing black dresses with a mantilla which is a black lace, silk veil or shawl, that is worn over the head and shoulders, in a high comb called a peineta, and black shoes. All the men wore suits and even the children were smartly dressed, with practically every girl wearing a Sunday Best dress, tights and shiny patent shoes, and almost every boy wearing a suit, a tie and suede shoes. Honestly, it reminded me of my old independent private school uniform!
We decided to follow them.
They led us back into the centre of Seville where practically every road and side-street was closed to traffic. Chairs were lined across the roads, screens were put up, and TV cameras and stages were set.
We wanted to climb to the top of the Tower for the sunset view, but due to security, everything had been closed down, police officers were everywhere, and if you hadn’t got a ticket, you wouldn’t be allowed into the cathedral.
However, I managed to sneak in with the flow of the congregation, and observe a little bit of the ceremony and service, before it got too crowded!
The atmosphere was electric, and the streets were buzzing.
At one point, we were on the front row of the procession and watched the brotherhood as they held candles and went barefooted, on the warm streets of Seville!
In centuries past, these people would also carry shackles and chains on their feet as self-punishment and penance!
It was all rather interesting but as it began to get dark, we decided to leave the locals to it.
IS IT WORTH GOING TO SEVILLE?
The city of Seville has beauty, Arabic architecture and both Jewish and Moorish influences. It has brilliant weather and fabulous food. It also has a river to recommend it. And bells!
Seville is pretty awesome.
And you heard it here first!
This article isn’t sponsored and the fruity time that I had in Seville, is my very own!
In the summer I’ll be going to Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and possibly Russia!
In the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on Britain!
Sometime between now and May 1st, I’ll be visiting the interactive exhibition Discover Mexico or Entdecke Mexiko taking place on Washingtonplatz. It’s free to the public. Go see!
On April 18th, I’m going to be interviewed by a German TV station, about the 5th wedding anniversary of our very own William & Kate!
On April 21st, Queen Elizabeth II will be 90 years old. Hurrah! Ra! Ra!
To celebrate this most prestigious event, I’ll be attending a Gala Show Celebrating Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday. A Dinner for the Queen performance at the Wintergarten Varieté in Berlin with the talented Jack Woodhead and “a hint of gin and tonic!”
It’s going to be ridiculously exciting, so you’d better hurry up and get your own ticket!
Berlin is going to be so much fun, so if you’re in town, come and join us!
I’ll be there. Will you?
As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!
If you’re not in Berlin in April, you must be bonkers!
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to Seville? Would you choose an orange or a lemon?
See you in Berlin.
If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a British girl from Manchester living in Berlin with my German husband and my half British – half German son.
My blog is a lifestyle expat travel blog and puts a focus on my promotion of culture, history, travels around the world, Europe, Brexit, the Royal Family, British-German life and being British in Berlin - I am The British Berliner!
Seville looks amazing, and it looks like you visited at a really interesting time. I love that you sneaked into the congregation!
Can you believe, I’ve never been to Spain! Funnily enough, I’ve been reading a bit about Seville over the last week, and about its trade with Dundee in 1700s – and the birth of marmalade! So, I’d take oranges 😉
Thanks so much Vagabond Baker! Seville was amazing and how you come, you’ve never been?! It’s time to do so pronto! After you come back from Denmark & Norway of course lol! 🙂
p.s. Oranges & marmelade. Good choice!
I think we’ll be fund-less after Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark! But, hopefully one day we shall drive south, chasing the sun!
LOL! Here’s to the sunny sunshine in Seville. Cheeeeeers! 🙂
Oh girl, I am so jealous of your experience visiting Seville. It’s been on my bucket list for some time but I actually never had a chance to go there. The weather was absolutely marvellous and this wine ….!!!! <3
Thanks so much Agness!
Seville is pretty awesome and it was a first visit for me too. But hopefully, not the last one!
Good weather, good wine. I know exactly what you mean…! 🙂 🙂
I just read your blog and as usual I am in awe of the experiences that you have while traveling. Spain sounds very intriguing. I have a question. You said you’re going to Germany this summer, don’t you live in Germany?
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks so much for reading Harrabarra!
Yes, I live in Germany but Germany is a large country and Berlin, although the trendy but important capital, is a small part of it. As I explained, at the beginning of the year, I’m aiming to visit more of Germany too! 🙂
Looks like you had a great time in Seville, Victoria! I’ve always wanted to visit Andalusia, but somehow I’ve only yet to make it to Madrid, Barcelona, and Mallorca. The next time I’m in Spain, though, the towns in the south will be at the top of my list.
By the way, great pictures!
Thanks so much Danny!
I’ve been to Spain many times but this was my first visit to Andalusia and I was most impressed! p.s. love reading your blog. 🙂
I’ve never been to Seville, but I took flamenco lessons once, and there was a special kind of flamenco called The Sevillana:) Orange or lemon? Must be lemon. Unless the orange is one of those tasty Sicilian blood oranges:)
Thanks so much Mitzie Mee! Seville was really nice! I’m not surprised that there’s a flamenco called The Sevillana! Lemons are an excellent choice, as is a juicy, tasty, slice of a Sicilian blood orange! 🙂 🙂
It was fun having you guys in Seville! I would take oranges as l can just get it from the backyard 🙂 ! The semana santa is something isn’t it? Great that you got to experience it. We loved it last year, but l can understand why Sevillanos flee the city when it comes around as it gets so crowded 🙂 . You were right in the thick of it. Let me know when you have a spare hour for the podcast. I knew it was going to not happen while you were in Seville as soon as the wine started flowing 😉 !!!
The pleasure was all ours KemKem, and many, many thanks again! xx 🙂 🙂
Yep! Oranges from your own garden are a very good choice indeed. So sweet and tender and just there. Ripe for the picking!
The Semana Santa was interesting to see and I’m glad that we did although “The Tall Young Gentleman” had his mouth agape, and kept sending videos to his friends urging them to guess where he was!
p.s. I knew we wouldn’t be able to do the podcast recording while we were actually in Seville, under your roof, and surrounded by glorious Spanish wine lol! April is pretty packed what with Royal Duties n’ all, but should be a little more relaxing in May!! xx
I was in total awe when I first saw ORANGES ON TREES!!!!!! in Seville. And I love… I think it’s the old Jewish quarter? Lots of winding streets, white buildings and bright flower boxes…
Thanks so much Anna! I know! REAL oranges on REAL living breathing non-plastic or in a green-house TREES! Yep! It’s the old Jewish quarter. ‘Pity that most desirable, pretty-looking residential prime estate, used to be Jewish…!
Anyhoo! How is London finding you my lovely? 🙂
Just a short 4-day trip unfortunately… but still totally lovely and I hope to be back again soon!
Righty Ho! Any amount of time in London is a good time! ‘Wish I was there with you, what with the Queen’s birthday and Shakespeare’s celebrations n’ all! 🙂 🙂
Your photos are beautiful, and they make me want to add Seville to our summer plans! I love seeing those layers of history in so many cities.
Thanks so much Rachel! Me too! I was most impressed by Seville and would recommend it highly. Go for it! 🙂
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And what about flamenco?
Haven’t you seen nothing of flamenco in Seville?
Sadly, there just wasn’t time. We were in Seville during Holy Week, and there was plenty to see because of it! 😉
Seville is one of the most beautiful places in Spain!!!
Thanks very much. I totally agree! 😀