Like Granada, Seville and Córdoba’s architecture is heavily influenced by the Islamic rulers from the late 700s and then overlayed with Catholic and Gothic themes from the time of Ferdinand and Isabella.
Córdoba was about 100 degrees for the two days we were there and we didn’t love the city. We saw the Mezquita Cathedral (Mosque Cathedral) and it was quite unique to see the contrasts and incorporations of the two styles. Not just a converted building, the initial mosque was expanded with a standard cathedral added. Charles V was unimpressed with the addition and lamented “You have destroyed something unique to build something commonplace.”
We explored the old town, ate tapas and falafels and had four-hour siestas. We probably could have skipped this city, but it gave us some down time and allowed me to overcome a summer cold before I ran myself ragged with sightseeing.
Our next city was only 75 miles away, but Seville was everything that Córdoba was not. We were feeling social so we stayed in a hostel with free Sangria and a community dinner. These amenities make it easy to meet people. Most people we met were students on two-week holiday dedicated to Southern Spain. Andalucia is a small slice of geography, but there is plenty to do here and it is cheaper than traveling between more distant places.
Seville was only about 85 degrees each day and the city center seemed clean and prosperous. Despite being 100 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, it served as a fortified port city for much of the middle ages. The river was suitable for cargo transport but hindered pirate raids. It retains its prosperity today and is home to the royal family of Spain in the Alcazar.
We toured the Alcazar and spent hours wandering through the palace, forts and royal garden. This palace was initially an Islamic fort and was later expanded into a castle for King Peter of Castile. Aaron liked the Alcazar better than the Alhambra.
Our hostel was right next to the Plaza de España and we had to cross it to get anywhere in the city. It opens out on to a lovely park where we spent an afternoon reading in the shade.
During Santa Barbara Fiestas I have seen a handful of Flamenco performances, so I thought it would be fun to see a show here in the birthplace of Flamenco. It was disappointing. Perhaps this is a different style from what I have watched before, but this dance did not have bright ruffly dresses or energetic moves. It was more like a slow tap dance with clapping inserted.