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Coat of arms
Motto: NO8DO From Andalusian Spanish: no-madeja-do →
"No me ha dejado" - She (the City) has not left me.
Seville is located in Spain
Coordinates: 37°22′38″N 5°59′13″W / 37.37722°N 5.98694°W / 37.37722; -5.98694
Country  Spain
Autonomous Community Andalusia
Province Seville
Comarca Seville
Founded 8th-10th century BC
 - Type Ayuntamiento
 - Mayor Alfredo Sánchez Monteseirín (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party)
 - City 140 km2 (54.1 sq mi)
Elevation 7 m (23 ft)
Population (2009)INE
 - City 703,206
 Density 5,002.93/km2 (12,957.5/sq mi)
 Metro 1,493,416
Time zone CET (GMT +1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (GMT +2) (UTC)
Postcode 41001-41080
Website http://www.sevilla.org

Seville (Spanish: Sevilla [seˈβiʎa]; see also different names) is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of 7 metres (23 ft) above sea level. The inhabitants of the city are known as Sevillanos (feminine form: Sevillanas) or Hispalenses. The population of the city of Seville was 703,206 as of 2009 (INE), ranking as the fourth largest city of Spain. The population of the metropolitan area (urban area plus satellite towns) was 1,493,416 as of 2009 (INE estimate).



Seville is more than 2,000 years old. The passage of the various civilizations, instrumental in its growth, has left the city a distinct personality, and a large and well-preserved historical centre. Although it has a strong medieval, renaissance and baroque heritage, the city received heavy influences from Arabic culture, which can be seen in the most famous monuments and places.

The city was known from Roman times as Hispalis. The nearby Roman city of Italica, a mainly residential city at the time, is well-preserved and gives an impression of how Hispalis may have looked in the later Roman period. Existing Roman features in Seville include the remnants of an aqueduct.

After successive conquests of the Roman province of Hispania Baetica by the Vandals and the Visigoths during the 5th and 6th centuries, the city was taken by the Moors in 712 and renamed Išbīliya (إشبيلية), derived from Hispalis, from which the present name "Sevilla" is derived. It was an important centre in Muslim Andalusia and it remained under Muslim control, under the authority of the Umayyad caliphate, the Almoravid empire and the Almohad dynasties, until falling to the Christian king Fernando III of Castile in 1248. The city, though, retains many Moorish features, including large sections of the city wall.

Coin of the Almoravids, Sevilla, Spain, 1116. British Museum.
Seville in the 16th century

Following the Reconquest, the city's development continued, mainly due to its economical position, with the construction of public buildings including churches, many of which are in Mudéjar style. A royal residence, the alcazar, was built in a moorish lush style, and the huge gothic cathedral was built during the 15th century. Later, the city experienced another golden age of development brought about by the wealth accumulating from the awarding of a monopoly of trade within the Spanish territories in the New World (See Winds in the Age of Sail). Since only ships departing from Seville could come and go to and from the Spanish Americas, merchants from all over the world went to Seville, as it was the gate to America, and its population grew to nearly a million people, according to some accounts. However, it was forced to share its monopoly with Cádiz in the late 16th century, and its importance had started to decline by the 18th century. After the silting up of the Guadalquivir river, the city went into relative economic decline.

The Great Plague of Seville in 1649 reduced the population by almost half, and it would not recover until the early 1800s.[1]

Seville's development in the 19th and 20th centuries was characterised by population growth and increasing industrialisation.

Seville fell very quickly to General Franco's troops near the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 due to its proximity to the invasion force coming from Morocco. After the initial takeover of the city, resistance continued amongst the working-class areas for some time, until a series of fierce reprisals took place.[2][3]

Main sights


The Cathedral of Seville was built from 1401–1519 after the Reconquista on the former site of the city's mosque. It is amongst the largest of all medieval and Gothic cathedrals, in terms of both area and volume. The interior is the longest nave in Spain, and is lavishly decorated, with a large quantity of gold evident. The Cathedral reused some columns and elements from the mosque, and, most famously, the Giralda, originally a minaret, was converted into a bell tower. It is topped with a statue, known locally as El Giraldillo, representing Faith. The tower's interior was built with ramps rather than stairs, to allow the Muezzin and others to ride on horseback to the top. The Alcázar facing the cathedral has developed from the city's old Moorish Palace; construction was begun in 1181 and continued for over 500 years, mainly in Mudéjar style, but also in Renaissance. Its gardens are a blend of Moorish, Andalusian, and Christian traditions.

The Torre del Oro was built by the Almohad dynasty as watchtower and defensive barrier on the river. A chain was strung through the water from the base of the tower to prevent boats from traveling into the river port.

The Town Hall, built in the 16th century in Plateresque style by Diego de Riaño. The Facade to Plaza Nueva was built in the 19th century in Neoclassical style.

The University of Seville is housed in the original site of the first tobacco factory in Europe, La Antigua Fábrica de Tabacos, a vast 18th century building in Baroque style.

The Plaza de España was built by the architect Aníbal González for the 1929 Exposición Ibero-Americana, and is an outstanding example of Regionalist Architecture, a bizarre and lofty mixture of diverse historic styles and lavishly ornated with typical glazed tiles.


Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Traditional Arts and Customs Museum)

The Museum of Fine Arts of Seville was established in 1835 in the former Convent of la Merced. It holds many masterworks by Murillo, Pacheco, Zurbarán, Valdés Leal, and others masters of the Sevillian School, containing also Flemish paintings of the XV and XVI centuries.

Other museums in Seville are:

  • The María Luisa Park contains two museums: the Archaeological Museum, which contains collections from the Tartessian and Roman periods, and the Museum of Traditional Arts and Customs.
  • The Andalusian Contemporary Art Center
  • The Army Museum
  • The Maritime Museum
  • The Carriages Museum
  • The Flamenco Art Museum
  • The Bullfight Museum.
  • The Palace of the Countess of Lebrija contains many of the mosaic floors discovered in the nearby Roman town of Italica.
  • Other structures that are now museums are the Casa de Pilatos and the "Centro Velázquez" located at the Old Priests Hospital.

Parks and gardens

  • Parque de María Luisa was built for the 1929 World's Fair held in Seville, the Exposición Ibero-Americana, and remains landscaped with attractive monuments and museums.
  • The Alcázar Gardens, arranged to the back of the palace. They were planted and developed alongside the Alcázar throughout the centuries. Sheltered within the walls of the palace, they are laid out in terraces, and present variations of influences, styles and plants in each sector.
  • The Gardens of Murillo and the Gardens of Catalina de Ribera: alongside the wall of the Alcázar and next to the district of Santa Cruz.
  • La Isla Mágica, Cartuja Island, a theme park built on the site of the 1992 Universal Exposition of Seville

Other prominent parks and gardens include:

  • Parque de los Príncipes
  • Parque del Alamillo
  • Parque Amate
  • Parque Metropolitano de la Cartuja
  • Jardines de las Delicias
  • Jardín Americano
  • Jardín Este
  • Jardines de Cristina
  • Jardines Chapina
  • Jardines de la Buhaira
  • Jardines de San Telmo
  • Jardines del Guadalquivir
  • Jardines del Valle


Monastery of San Isidoro del Campo, Seville.

Seville has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Koppen climate classification Csa),[4] with Semi-arid climate (BSh) influences. The annual average temperature is 18.6 °C (65 °F), which makes this city one of the warmest in Europe.

  • Winters are mild: January is the coolest month, with average maximum temperatures of 15.9 °C (61 °F) and minimum of 5.2 °C (41 °F).
  • Summers are very warm: July is the warmest month, with average maximum temperatures of 35.3 °C (96 °F) and minimum temperatures of 19.4 °C (67 °F) and every year the temperature exceeds 40 °C (104 °F) on several occasions. The extremes of temperature registered by the weather station at Seville Airport are −5.5 °C (22 °F) on 12 February 1956, and 46.6 °C (116 °F) on 23 July 1995. There is a non-accredited record by the National Institute of Meteorology which is 47.2 °C (117 °F) on 1 August during the 2003 heat wave, according to a weather station (83910 LEZL) located in the southern part of Seville Airport, near the abandoned military zone. This temperature would be one of the highest ever recorded in Spain and Europe after the 48.0°C recorded in Elefsis, Greece on 10/07/1977.
  • Precipitation varies from 600 to 800 mm (23.5–31.5 in) per year, concentrated in the period October to April. December is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 95 millimetres (4 in). On average there are 52 days of rain, 120.75 days of sun and four days of frost per year.
  • Average number of days above 32°C (90°F) is 88, average number of days below 0°C (32°F) is 6. Average morning relative humidity: 84%, average evening relative humidity: 46%.
Climate data for Seville
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.55
Average low °C (°F) 5.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 65
Avg. precipitation days 8 7 6 8 6 2 0 1 3 7 8 9 65
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[5]


A man playing the accordion in the Old Quarters of Seville.


Semana Santa and the Seville Fair, La Feria de Sevilla (also Feria de Abril, "April Fair") are the two most well-known of Seville's festivals. Seville is internationally renowned for the solemn but beautiful processions during Holy Week and the colourful and lively fair held two weeks after. During Feria, families, businesses and organizations set up casetas, marquees, in which they spend the week dancing, drinking, and socializing. Traditionally, women wear elaborate flamenco dresses and men dress in their best suits. The marquees are set up on a permanent fairground in which each street is named after a famous bullfighter.


Seville is a gastronomic centre, with a cuisine based on the products of the surrounding provinces, including seafood from Cádiz, olive oil from Jaén, and sherry from Jerez de la Frontera.

The tapas scene is one of the main cultural attractions of the city: people go from one bar to another, enjoying small dishes called tapas (literally "lids" or "covers" in Spanish, referring to their probable origin as snacks served in small plates used to cover drinks.)

Local specialities include fried and grilled seafood (including squid, cuttlefish, swordfish and dogfish), grilled meats in sauces, spinach and chickpeas, Andalusian ham (Jamón ibérico), lamb's kidneys in a sherry sauce, snails, and gazpacho.

Typical sweet cakes of this province are polvorones and mantecados from the town of Estepa, a kind of shortcake made with almonds, sugar and lard; Pestiños, a honey-coated sweet fritter; Torrijas, fried slices of bread with honey; Roscos fritos, deep-fried sugar-coated ring doughnuts; magdalenas or fairy cakes; yemas de San Leandro, which provide the city's convents with a source of revenue, and Tortas de aceite, a thin sugar-coated cake made with olive oil.

Except for polvorones and mantecados, which are traditional Christmas products, all of these are consumed throughout the year.

The Seville oranges that dot the city landscape, too bitter for modern tastes, are commonly used to make marmalade and lotions. However, many tourists insist on trying the oranges which taste like sour lemons.

Flamenco and Sevillanas

Flamenco dancers in Seville

The Sevillanas dance, commonly presented as flamenco, is not thought to be of Sevillan origin. But the folksongs called Sevillanas are authentically Sevillan, as is the four-part dance that goes with them.

Seville, and most significantly the traditionally gypsy barrio, Triana, was a major centre in the development of flamenco.


Nightlife in Sevilla, like in all other parts of Spain, is very intense. The Sevillianos enjoy a variety of nightlife activities, including botelloning, drinking and gathering outside at a specific meeting point. Good places to botellon are the River Guadalquivir, and the Plaza San Salvador. From San Salvador, many go on to a street of bars located in Plaza Alfalfa, right next to Plaza San Salvador. Calle Betis, on the other side of the River Guadalquivir, holds a variety of bars and a discotheque.

Normally, Sevillanos do not go out until about 11:30 pm (23:30) or midnight (0:00). At this time, they go to a bar and start the night with a shot, beer, or tinto de verano (red wine and orange or lemon soda). Another popular drink in Seville is the Agua de Sevilla, "a mild and tasty drink"[6]. They then proceed to a discotheque, where they will stay until early in the morning. Some discothèques are open until 10 am.



NO8DO is the official motto and one of the many legends of Seville. The legend has left its very tangible mark throughout the city as NO8DO can be seen on landmarks ranging from the common bike rack, the caps of the municipal sewer and water system, ordinary sidewalks, buses, taxis, monuments, even Christopher Columbus’s tomb. The motto of Seville is a visible presence of which any visitor is sure to take note.

The motto is a rebus, combining the Spanish syllables (NO and DO) and a drawing in between–the figure “8.” The figure represents a skein of yarn, or in Spanish, a “madeja.” When read aloud, “No madeja do” sounds like “No me ha dejado,” which means “It [Seville] has not abandoned me.”

The story as to how NO8DO arrived at being the motto of the city has undoubtedly been embroidered throughout the centuries, but legend has it that after the “Reconquest” of Seville from the Muslims in 1248, King Fernando III, El Santo, King of Castilla and León moved his court to the former Muslim palace, the Alcázar of Seville.

After San Fernando’s death in the Real Alcázar, his son, Alfonso X, “The Wise,” assumed the throne. Alfonso X was a scholar king, hence his title. He was a poet, astronomer, astrologer, musician and linguist. Alfonso’s son, Sancho IV of Castile, tried to usurp the throne from his father, but the people of Seville remained loyal to their scholar king and this is where NO8DO was believed to have originated when, according to legend, Alfonso X rewarded the fidelity of the “Sevillanos” with the words that now appear on the official emblem of the city of Seville.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Seville has three sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:



El puente de Isabel II

The economic activity of Seville cannot be detached from the geographical and urban context of the city; the capital of Andalusia is the centre of a growing metropolitan area. Aside from traditional neighborhoods such as Santa Cruz, Triana and La Macarena, those further away from the centre, such as Nervión, Sevilla Este, and El Porvenir have seen recent economic growth. Over the past twenty years, this urban area has seen significant population growth and the development of new industrial and commercial parks.

Due to its size and location, Seville is economically the strongest of the Andalusian cities. The infrastructure available in the city contributes to the growth of an economy dominated by the service sector, but in which industry still holds a considerable place.


The 1990s saw massive growth in investment in infrastructure in Seville, largely due to the hosting of the Universal Exposition of Seville in 1992, which saw the economic development of the city and its urban area is supported by good transport links to other Spanish cities, including a high-speed AVE railway link to Madrid, and a new international airport.

Skyline with the harbor in the distance

In addition:

  • Seville has the only river port of the Iberian peninsula, located 80 km (50 mi) from the mouth of the River Guadalquivir. This harbor complex offers access to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and allows trade in goods between the south of Spain (Andalusia, Extremadura) and Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The port has undergone reorganisation. Annual tonnage rose to 5.3 million tonnes of goods in 2006.
  • Seville has conference facilities, including the Congress Palace.
  • The city and its surrounding province have a number of large industrial parks and technology centres: Dos Hermanas accommodates the largest Andalusian industrial park, while Alcalá de Guadaíra has the largest industrial complex by surface area in Andalusia; the Parque Científico Tecnológico Sevilla Tecnopolis, gathers companies, research centres and university departments directed towards the development of new technologies; the Parque Tecnológico y Aeronáutico Aerópolis is focused on the aircraft industry.
  • Outside of Seville are 9 PS20 solar power towers providing most of the city of Seville with clean and renewable energy. These towers use mirrors to focus sunlight on the tower, heating it and creating superheated steam. This steam drives turbines that in turn create electric power and provide electricity during day and night.

Characteristics by sector

The 'Adriática' building (1914-1922) on the Avenida de la Constitución designed by José Espiau y Muñoz

The town of Seville and its agglomeration have, by their situation by the river Guadalquivir, maintained dynamic agricultural activity. Agroalimentary industry may be productive. Nevertheless, for a long time the area has been looking to the future, while investing massively in industrial activities, supported by the existing infrastructures. The service sector and new technologies are increasingly important. Seville concentrated, in 2004, 31% of large Andalusian companies and 128 of the 6,000 largest national companies. In 2005, the metropolitan area counted a working population of 471,947 people, of which 329,471 (69.81%) worked within the city centre.

  • Agriculture represents less than 1.3% of the workers of the city. Cereal, fruit and olive-growing constitute the principal agricultural activities in this area of Andalusia.
  • Industry contributes up to 28% of the economic output of Seville. It employed in 2005 15.2% of workers in the city. It is well established in the metropolitan area, stimulated by the various industrial parks, the presence of good infrastructure and the proximity of the complexes of the Bays of Cádiz, Algeciras, and Huelva.
  • The service sector employs 83.5% of the working population of Seville. It represents a significant share of the local economy and is centred on tourism, trade and financial services.

Research and development

The city of Seville makes a significant contribution to scientific research, as it houses the first and largest DNA bank in Spain, through the local company Neocodex. Neocodex stores 20,000 DNA samples and is recognised internationally. In addition, Seville is also considered an important technological and research centre for renewable energies and the aeronautics industry.

Through its high-tech centres and its fabric of innovating companies, the Andalusian capital has risen to among the most important Spanish cities in term of development and research. Moreover, the scientific and technological activity of the three Seville universities has to be added, whose certain laboratories and research centres work in close connection with the local socio-economic power. Thus, the Parque Científico Tecnológico Cartuja 93 gathers private and public actors in various fields of research.

The principal innovation and research orientations are telecommunications, new technologies, biotechnologies (in relation to local agricultural specificities), environment and renewable energy.


The Santa Justa train station of Seville
San Bernardo Station.

Seville is served by the TUSSAM (Transportes Urbanos de Sevilla) bus network which runs buses throughout the city as well as outlying areas surrounding Seville. El Metrocentro Tranvia is a tram line consisting of four stops, running from el Prado bus station, past the University and the Cathedral, and stopping at Plaza Nueva where the direction of service reverses.

On April 2, 2009, the city opened its first metro line,[8] almost 28 months later than originally planned. The project experienced several delays caused by various reasons, including the relocation of archaeological findings and the need for a deeper tunnel under the Guadalquivir River, to avoid possible water leakages.

The Santa Justa train station is served by the AVE high-speed rail system, and is operated by the Spanish formerly state-owned rail company Renfe.

The Sevici community bicycle program has integrated bicycles into the public transport network. Across the city, bicycles are available for hire at low cost and green bicycle lanes can be seen on most major streets. This network of lanes (carriles) is also currently being expanded.


Famous natives

Famous residents

  • Ibn Arabi (known in the West as Doctor Maximus), 1165-1240 C.E - Muslim mystic known as "The Greatest Master" - his family moved to Seville from Murcia when he was 8.


Estadio Olímpico
  • Seville is the hometown of two rival football (soccer) teams: Sevilla Fútbol Club and Real Betis Balompié. However, while Sevilla FC resides in first division, Real Betis resides in second division.
  • Seville also unsuccessfully bid for the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, which it lost to Athens and Beijing, respectively. For political reasons, it was unable to bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics as Madrid was also interested in submitting its own bid. Seville had already shown its ability to cope with other international sport events such as the Tennis Davis Cup in 2004 and the 7th Athletics World Championships in 1999. If Madrid's 2016 Olympic bid proves unsuccessful, Seville will submit a new one again in 2020.
  • Sevilla FC stadium Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán hosted the 1982 World Cup Semi-Finals in which Germany beat France in the penalty shoot-outs after a 3-3 tie.
  • Seville FC stadium Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán hosted the 1986 European Cup Final, in which Steaua Bucharest (Romania) unexpectedly defeated FC Barcelona (Spain).
  • Seville also hosted in 2003 the UEFA Cup Final in the new Olympic stadium. The final was between Celtic F.C. (Scotland) and Futebol Clube do Porto (Portugal). The match finished in extra time 3–2 to Porto after a 2-2 draw at 90 minutes.
  • Sevilla FC won the 2006 UEFA Cup, their first European trophy, with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Middlesbrough FC of England in the final, played at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven on May 10, 2006. Sevilla retained the UEFA Cup in 2007 against fellow Spaniards Espanyol in 3-1 on penalties, after a 2-2 draw at Hampden Park, Glasgow. They are also won the European Supercup with a 0-3 defeat of F.C. Barcelona (Spain) in Stade Louis II in Monaco on August 26, 2006. On June 23, 2007 Sevilla FC won the King's Cup (Copa del Rey) beating Getafe 1-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Although Real Betis was the first team from Andalusia to compete in the UEFA Champion's League competition in 2005-2006, Sevilla FC was the first team from Andalusia to advance out of the group stages in the UEFA Champion's League competition.


Literature and television

  • The picaresque novel Rinconete y Cortadillo by Miguel de Cervantes takes place in the city of Seville.
  • The novel La femme et le pantin, ("Woman and puppet") (1898) by Pierre Louÿs, adapted for film several times, is set mainly in Seville.
  • Seville is the setting for the legend of Don Juan (inspired by the real aristocrat Don Miguel de Mañara) on the Paseo Alcalde Marqués de Contadero
  • Seville is the primary setting of many operas, the best known of which are Bizet's Carmen (based on Mérimée's novella), Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Verdi's La Forza del Destino, Beethoven's Fidelio, Mozart's Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, and Prokofiev's Betrothal in a Monastery.
  • The episode "The Grand Inquisitor" in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov is set with Christ's return to Seville.
  • Seville is the last city the narrator and Simone visit in Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye (1928).
  • Seville is the setting of the novel "The Seville Communion" by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
  • Seville appears in the first chapter of science fiction novel Ringworld by Larry Niven.
  • Seville is both the location and setting for much of the 1985 Doctor Who television serial The Two Doctors.
  • Seville is also used as one of the locations in Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress". According to the author he started to think about writing his The Da Vinci Code when he was doing a course on Art History at the University of Seville. The description of Seville in the book is in question and according to an article by Alvaro Sanchez Leon in the January/February 2006 issue of the Spanish-language magazine Epoca, "Ese señor nunca ha estado matriculado en esta universidad, a no ser que se apuntara a un curso de otoño de los que se dan en la "Facultad de Geografía e Historia" para alumnos extranjeros." (trans: That gentleman has never enrolled in this university, unless he attended one of the short Autumn courses for foreign students at the Faculty of Geography and History.")
  • Arthur Koestler's book Spanish Testament is based on the writer's experiences while held in the Seville prison, under a sentence of death, during the Spanish Civil War.
  • Robert Wilson's police novel The Hidden Assassins (2006) concerns a terrorist incident in Seville and the political context thereof, with much local color. Note also his title The Blind Man of Seville (2004).
  • The setting of the book "the Lost Diary of Don Juan" by Douglas Carlton Abrams

In movies

See also



External links

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