One of my absolute favorite cities in the world is Seville so when a friend and I traveled to Spain we spent several days there. Our hotel was located marvelously in the old city with a rooftop bar overlooking the square and cathedral. During our stay in Seville, we had a particularly wonderful meal al fresco at a restaurant on the cathedral square, wandered the very narrow winding streets, visited the bull ring, and attended a flamenco show. In between, we shopped, feasted on a variety of tapas and simply explored, occasionally getting lost in the maze that is the Barrio de Santa Cruz. This neighborhood of the old medieval city was formerly the Jewish quarter. It’s bordered by Calles Mateas Gago, Santa Maria La Blanca/San Jose, the Jardines de Murillo and the Alcazar. Wandering round the small squares lined with orange trees through the improbably narrow alleys where the houses lean towards each other and admiring the leafy patios of private mansions through their iron gates, we thoroughly enjoyed Seville.
Built on the site of a former Almohad Mosque, Seville’s cathedral was constructed to demonstrate the city’s power and wealth after the Reconquista. The Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. It also boasts the largest altarpiece in the world and the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The cathedral was completed in just over a century (1402-1506), quite an achievement given its size and Gothic details. The huge interior of the cathedral, with a central nave and four side aisles, is lavishly decorated. The wonderful Moorish minaret, La Giralda, is the only remnant of the original mosque and now functions as the cathedral’s bell tower. It is well worth climbing to the top. There are no steps but instead a seemingly endless ramp, and at the top a dazzling view of Seville.