Sevilla brings romantic thoughts to mind through Bizet's Carmen, Rossini's Figaro or Mozart's Don Giovanni. This is just one aspect of a great city crammed with attractions to seduce the most cynically minded. Spain's third largest city lies alongside the River Guadalquivir 80 kilometres from the Atlantic in the south west of Andalucia. Italica on the northern outskirts predated Sevilla, but by 400 AD had declined while its neighbour profited especially after the eviction of the Moors in 1248. It was the focal point of Spain's Empire between 1492 and 1800.
Sevilla is the administrative capital of Andalucia, but despite its size the main attractions are all in the central areas of Santa Cruz, Arenal and Parque Maria Louisa. Arguably most important is the illustrious Alcazar and the Royal Mudejar Palace, while close second comes, 'the unrivalled and sacred wonder' of Sevilla Cathedral with superb vaulting and cool, restful Patio de los Naranjos [oranges]. Columbus is buried here, while the neighbouring La Giralda; a former Mosque Minaret became the Cathedral's tower.
Nearby are the Archives of The Indies, the former Tobacco Factory and 1929 Exhibition Park with the impressive, curved Plaza de España pavilion and resplendent Jacaranda trees that bloom in early June. Expo 92 was also held in Sevilla initiating the building of Spain's high-speed train [the AVE], which being so successful is now being extended all over Spain.
By the river is the Torre de Oro, where the wealth looted from the Americas was stored prior to transit elsewhere, and the classically beautiful Bullring, La Maestranza. The latter prompts thoughts of Fiesta time, whether Seville's Semana Santa [Easter Week], which is an exceptional four days, or the April Fair that follows, a weeklong party of food, drink and dance in one of the hundreds of bars and restaurants. Dance [Sevillana, Flamenco], artists [Velazquez, Murillo, Zubaran], poets, musicians and writers all flourish here. The Teatro de la Maestranza, opened in 1991 is a showpiece for International Opera and Dance.