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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

Cat­e­dral de Sevilla and Gi­ralda Tower

Along with St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in Lon­don, Seville’s gothic cathe­dral com­pletes Europe’s big three of built-to-awe Chris­tian churches. Make it so as­ton­ish­ing that ‘‘ those who come af­ter us will take us for mad­men’’ was the mis­sion state­ment in 1401. So they did. The cathe­dral took 100 years to com­plete on the site of the Al­mo­had mosque, de­mol­ished apart from a minaret (built in 1198) known as La Gi­ralda. Christo­pher Colum­bus’s re­mains and gal­leries of art­works mark its 44 chapels.

Al­cazar

Set amid daz­zling gar­dens and el­e­gant ter­races, the palace has housed city rulers since Ro­man times. It was built by the Moors in the 7th cen­tury and has been evolv­ing since. One ten­ant kept a harem of 800 women and planted flow­ers in the skulls of his en­e­mies. From the Dolls Court through the Maid­ens Court to the or­nately domed Am­bas­sadors Room, the palace con­tains the finest work of Sevil­lean ar­ti­sans.

Torre del Oro

The Tower of Gold over­looks the Guadalquivir river and was part of the orig­i­nal Moor­ish city for­ti­fi­ca­tion, built in the 13th cen­tury. Leg­end says it was once cov­ered with gold tiles im­ported from the Amer­i­cas. Now re­stored, the tower ac­com­mo­dates a mar­itime mu­seum.

Maria Luisa Park

Con­sid­ered among Europe’s loveli­est parks, this port­side haven is an Eden of palms, orange trees, elms and Mediter­ranean pines. De­signed in the 1920s as part of Seville’s world ex­po­si­tion, it’s a mix of art deco and Mude­jar styles, with hid­den bow­ers, ponds and pav­il­ions. Ro­man­tics nav­i­gate it with rented horse and car­riage, but walk­ing of­fers its own de­lights. Fronting the park is the city’s arche­o­log­i­cal mu­seum, nearby is the Royal To­bacco Fac­tory (now part of the univer­sity) where Bizet’s gypsy hero­ine Car­men worked. Murray Wal­dren

In a whirl: Flam­boy­ant fla­menco rules in Seville

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