Seville

     

 

 

Plaza de Espana

 

 

 

 

 

Torre del Oro

 

Seville Cathedral

 

The Alamillo Bridge

 

 

 

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Lying on the River Guadalquivir, the capital city of Andalusia, Seville (Hispalis,) has little to show of its ancient Roman beginnings due to its rapid growth over the centuries. Whereas the Roman city of Italica, which lies to the north west of Seville, can thank the growth of Seville and the decline of Italica for the many Roman monuments still remaining.

 

Two major events have left a far bigger mark on the city, firstly the Iberian-American Expo of 1929 which played host to the Spanish and Portuguese and all their south American ex colonies. This was repeated sixty three years later when it played host to Expo 92.

 

The most outstanding pavilion remaining from the 1929 event is the Plaza de Espana, used to display Spainís industrial exhibits, and now housing government departments. It is accessed across bridges spanning a canal which encircles the D shaped plaza in front of the enormous and colorful crescent shaped building. Heavily decorated in brick, tiles and mosaic in styles reminiscent of the Umayyad Iberian period, the building is truly exotic.

 

A fine, and useful, example of the 1992 exhibitionís infrastructure, is the Alamillo Bridge whose 600 foot span is supported by a single cantilever and cables, and connects the isle of La Cartuja, where the event was located, with the city.

 

Alongside the River Guadalquivir lies the remaining one of a pair of dodecagonal towers, known as the Golden Tower (Torre del Oro) built to support a defensive chain barrier across the river, similar to the ones at the mouth of the River Dart. Built by the Berbers during the Islamic period, but subsequently used during the Middle Ages, both as a prison and as a treasury. Its sister tower is believed to have been destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, and just afterwards in 1760 the third floor of the tower was added but having a circular profile.

 

During the Mediaeval period one of the largest Gothic cathedrals was built in Seville, on the site of a mosque and using much of its masonry and using its minaret as a bell tower, it serves to display the wealth of the church at that period, and the present.

 

Like the rest of Iberia, Seville has had a chequered history, first with the fall of its Roman builders, and then the rule of the Visigoths, but todays architecture owes much to the years of Arab colonization, which has survived the subsequent Christian invasion, and indeed has influenced building through to modern times.