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The construction of Seville Cathedral began in 1402 and was only completed in the 16th century. With its Gothic style and imposing architecture, it has naturally become the little sister of Rome’s Saint Peter’s Basilica and acts as a mother figure for other Spanish cathedrals. Its bell tower was built using a former mosque minaret that bore the name Giralda.
Seville’s Museum of Fine Arts is home to the largest collection in the region and is regularly on the trail of works from the country’s major art galleries, including Madrid’s Prado national museum and art gallery. Zurbarán, Murillo, Velázquez, El Greco and Goya are just some of the prestigious artists whose work is kept in the former Merced Calzada de la Asunción convent.
The Maestranza or Plaza de Toros arena is widely considered as the oldest on the Iberian peninsula and is a perfect symbol of the Andalucian passion and fervour for bullfighting. With a capacity of over 12,000 and its impressive looking arcades, this monument has achieved legendary status amongst the local population.
The Real Alcazar in Seville was once an Almohad palace, which Pedro the Cruel had knocked down in order to build his own residence. The patios dictate the layout of the buildings and the grounds, with the first section given over to a courtyard and a second set aside for private apartments. The palace complex has stood the test of time, conveying an idea of the abundant architectural splendour of Seville’s past. Enriched by the city’s strategic status as the departure point for the Indies, it remains at the confluence of cultures and civilizations.
Since 1987 the Cathedral of Seville, the Alcazar and the Archivo de Indias are all listed as UNESCO world heritage monuments.
Maria Luisa Park is the most famous public garden in Seville. It was the main site of the Latin American Exhibition of 1929. The French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier was responsible for the layout. He introduced the French classic style but chose the gardens of the Generalife, the Alhambra and the Alcazar as his inspiration.
In the park you can admire a great variety of plants and numerous birds such as peacocks, swans and ducks. The fountains also give the park a Moorish feel.