Friday, 15 November 2013

Sevilla, Andalucia, Espana, part 1.

Seville, Capital of Andalucia, Spain.

Two Roman Emperors come from Andalucia, Trajan and Hadrian. They were born in colonies established as Roman garrisons in Iberia. We arrived in Seville during the night around 3 am.
We had been going up the Guadalqivir river and the Captain had told us that before arriving at Port he would have to do a 180 degree turn and back-up into port. The river at this point is very narrow, so we got up and went to the top deck to see this manouver. At one point before the lift bridge, the ship slowly entered a small basin and started to make this complete turn, it took about 10 minutes as Captain Carl Smith slowly turned the ship. It was fascinating to watch this 30,000 ton ship make such a dramatic 180 degree turn.

The bridge on the Guadalqivir river our cruise ship had to pass backing up into port.

View from our cabin at the back of the ship (stern) you can see the lifted part of the bridge as we are backing up into Port at Seville. Only about 1 meter separates the ship's side from the bridge. 

Then he started to back up towards the Port of Seville about 3 Km away. The first lift bridge is narrow and we had a foot at most on either side, the Captain smoothly cross that obstacle. We then proceeded to dock at the site of the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibit in central Seville, near the Plaza de Espana.

People who lived and worked in Seville, painter Diego Velasquez and writer Miguel de Cervantes, Christopher Columbus was buried here for many decades in the Monastery of the Cartusians until his body was transferred to the Dominican Republic. But in 1892 he was brought back to Seville and now rests in a magnificient mausoleum in the great Cathedral of our Lady of the Holy See (Vatican) in Seville. His son Hermano also has is mausoleum in the same church. It is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, we spent over 2 hours visiting it today and did not complete our tour, never seen such an over the top church. All of it is dedicated to the greater glory of Imperial Spain, the unapologetic conquest of the New World and Catholicism. It is impressive and overwhelming, built in the ruins of the great Mosque. King Ferdinand III conquered the city in 1248 and it was decided to built a cathedral so big and impressive that visitors would have no choice but to think that the architects were crazy.
The Cathedral of Seville, partial view. 
The statue at the summit of the tower is Faith as a weather wave.

Seville was the great Port of Spain for all the products of the New World, like corn, tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes silver and gold. The City at the time was immensely rich and prosperous. Columbus and Magellan travelled from here in their expeditions. Magellan left Seville on the first around the world trip with his little fleet of boats. He died on one of those trips and a chapel in the great Cathedral is devoted to him.

The great tower of the Port of Sevilla on the Guadalquivir river.

We are off the ship now, the cruise ended in Seville, we are staying 2 more days here. We found a beautiful little apartment hotel by the wall of the Alcazar Royal Palace and the Cathedral on Plaza de la Alianza in the old city centre neighbourhood of Santa Cruz. The Plaza is an Orange tree orchard, with big oranges hanging from the trees. Very quiet and peaceful, we here the bells of the Cathedral next door ringing the hour, half hour, and quarter hour and services 24-7.

Plaza de Toros (1761) Sevilla

I will definitely have to write a separate entry on the Plaza de Toros, all about bull fighting and its history, fascinating. We all remember that the Opera Carmen takes place here. This is were she gets stabbed in the final scene. I will also have to write a separate entry on the Alcazar Palace and gardens.

The honour courtyard of the Alcazar Palace with its Official entrance and Royal apartments above. Partial view.

Seville is beautiful, elegant and steeped in Spanish history and there is so much to see and say about it. 

1 comment:

  1. I really must take a history of Spain. Being a history buff, the rise and fall of the Spanish empire must be a fascinating tale indeed.
    Poor Mr. Hadrian. All people can recall about him is he made a dismal working wall and he was foolish over some Roman chew toy.