the finest trip – Seville
Largest city in Andalusia
With around 700,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in Andalusia and has the largest historical city centre in all of Spain: Seville. According to legend, founded by the Greek hero Heracles (which is a bit of a fib, but allows some great marketing), the capital of Andalusia is an increasingly popular destination for tourists from all over the world. This is sufficient reason to take a closer look at this major city in the south-west of Spain.
Its most famous building without a doubt is the Cathedral Maria de la Sede. This was built in the 15th century on the ruins of a Moorish mosque that existed on the same spot. Thanks to its side chapels decorated with works of art, its organ of truly monumental dimensions and the tombs of numerous famous persons (Who has the sarcophagus of Christopher Columbus just lying around?), it has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987.
One of the most beautiful squares in Seville is the Plaza de España. The square was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition in the year 1929 and is not only a popular photo scene but also a setting for the Star Wars saga (to shoot the film, the semi-circular plaza was made completely circular without further ado – no problem in view of the total of 7,000 people involved in the shooting). At any rate, the four bridges that make the square so unmistakeable symbolise the four kings of Spain. There are also a large number of tile ornaments intended to represent the 48 provinces in Spain.
Seville, however, alongside all the picture-postcard attractions, is not only the birthplace of Flamenco (also part of world heritage) but also the place where tapas originated.
Feria de Abril
Here, they say, they started half a millennium ago to cover beverages initially with small plates, later on with a slice of ham, to protect them from irksome flies – which meant that the small snacks accompanying alcohol worked their way up to become a fixed part of Spanish cuisine. In Seville itself, the pringá are among the most famous tapas. Their origin lies in the traditional fare which, strictly speaking is a hearty meat stew. According to tradition, a soup with chickpeas and vegetables is served first, then the meat, which is eaten with bread (with your fingers, not with cutlery, go ahead).
A good opportunity not to miss out on this delicacy is without a doubt the Feria de Abril (make a note!). The Feria is essentially a single gigantic family feast that developed originally from the horse trading scene. The festival enclosure of approximately 500,000 m² in the Los Remedios quarter accommodates around 1,000 festival marquees, all equipped with dancefloors. Coaches and riders in historical costumes and classical Flamenco dress, “Flamencas”, roll and stroll through the alleys. Anyone who loves original Andalusia must not miss the Feria de Abril.
To conclude, a little anecdote that fits in so well with the eighth issue of our anecdote-loaded magazine: the city flag of Seville bears the letting NO 8 DO, whereby the number ‘8’ symbolises a ball of wool (madeja). The text is to be read as No-Medeja-Do (‘No me ha dejado’), which means approximately ‘she has not left me’ – a play on words that goes back to Alfons X who, following his dethronement, lived in exile in Seville until his death. This was his way of thanking the city for its loyalty.