Located in Southern Spain, Seville is the cultural and financial hub of this region. Right from Roman times, its position along the Guadalquivir placed it amidst the international trade traffic. The 19th century brought with it a fresh wave of architecture and culture in the city and it then very appropriately went on to become a key stop on the Romantic Grand Tour of Europe for all of Europe’s
Seville experiences one of the hottest summers in the European continent, this is thus the least popular time to visit. In spring, orange blossoms fill the air with their fragrance and the climate is generally pleasant. Autumn, with its mild temperatures, is also a good time to enjoy all that the city has to offer.
Orange trees dot the promenades and plazas. People and sounds stream out from the many cafes and bars and become one with the Seville air. The city is perpetually enveloped in a celebratory vibe and its hospitable ambience combined with the many historical and cultural sites has made it one of the most visited cities in Spain.
A City Within A City
There is a gate in the centre of Seville. It is not a rabbit hole leading to a fantasy land but one could easily be forgiven to think so. It is the entrance to Hotel Casas de la Juderia, translated as Houses of the Jews. But, ‘Hotel’ is a misnomer here; a small city is more appropriate.
Twenty seven houses of the old Jewish Quarter make up this complex. A maze of walkways wind amongst the houses connecting them, looping around the courtyards and patios, passing under stone arches and ending into the alleys.
One pathway leads to a building with a mosaic wall and steps adorned with seashells; the next to a patio speckled with Roman statues, antique furniture and pedestals and vases, while yet another to a green courtyard landscaped with potted plants and wooden benches.
All the rooms in the Hotel Casas de la Juderia are designed in a classical style. But, each room is stylised differently to provide a unique experience to every guest. Some of the suites open into their own private patio while others have balconies that look over the internal courtyards.
In some rooms the exposed beams in the ceiling are painted in bright colours and in others a delicate border edges the ceiling. The common areas too have been designed with care so that they integrate seamlessly into the existing structures. Centuries old tiles inlaid into the walls, intricate lace draped over armchairs and chaises, oriental-patterned rugs – all come together in this time-trapped space in the heart of Seville.
From Monday to Saturday the Plaza del Museo is a pretty plaza, like many others in the city. But every Sunday morning it comes into its own. The statue of the Spanish artist Murillo too sports a sparkle in his eye as he waits patiently in the centre of the square.
Artists from the nooks and corners of Seville come out and into the Plaza with their artwork in tow. Traditional Spanish art, modern art and even Chinese art, pencil sketches and watercolours, portraits and landscapes vie for space and the attention of gawkers, enthusiasts, connoisseurs, collectors and wannabe collectors.
Draw A Bath
In the 13th century the Catholic re-occupation of Seville began, the Moorish reign came to an end as did its cultural impressions on the city. In the 20th century a company revived one Muslim tradition and the Aire de Seville emerged – a modern hammam in an erstwhile palace.
A variety of treatment options in a luxurious setting have been since accommodated in its menu.
Glossy floors, high ceilings, rust-hued walls and marble pools transport the visitor back in time. Ornate lamps have been strategically placed to cast mystical patterns and enhance the surreal
Royalty In Residence
The Alcazar of Seville is the oldest royal palace still in use but it is impossible to slot it in a precise time. Each space tells the story of a different epoch. Enclosed within a fortress, the Alcazar is a collective of palaces reflecting the historical evolution of the city.
Architectural influences starting from the Muslim reign to the Renaissance, Baroque and up to the 19th century styles are evident. The elaborately embellished walls and ceilings speak of the Moorish influence alongside the 16th century coffered staircase and artwork.
Text By Himali Kothari