ON THE MUST-SEE LIST
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.
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
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