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Published: December 4th 2015
Sevilla is a busy contrast to the quiet of Córdoba and the beach town of Málaga. I was ever so slightly apprehensive at first when I exited the train station because I was greeted to bustling intersections and overpasses. Nevertheless, I decided to walk to the center of town with my trusty GPS on my Android that sometimes works without internet connection.* After twenty minutes, my apprehension melted away to awe. Sevilla is a city that combines the ancient and the historic to the Empire and conquest, with the modern and post-modern history of Andalucía. The city serves as a timeline, beginning with early Roman civilization, to Arab Spain, to the Reconquista and Spain’s rise to international prominence in establishing colonies in the New World and Latin America, to their downfall, and finally to a civil war from only a few generations ago.
All along this epic historic timeline, Sevilla offers cultural significance in Spanish cuisine, flamenco dancing, and bullfighting (which I still find an extremely odd thing to do…)** You can catch a flamenco show almost every night in the city, you can hear men playing Spanish guitar as you wander throughout the streets, and you can help
yourself to paella for dinner. As a visitor to Andalucía, I would highly recommend staying in Sevilla as your base while you take day trips to other cities throughout the region. And if you get a chance to study there, do it.
When I got nearer to the town center, I got super giddy. Although it was crowded, it wasn’t difficult to see why- the architecture and cathedrals were outstanding. The Palace of Alcázar is absolutely stunning. Like the Mesquita in Córdoba, layers of history from different civilizations and moments in Andalucía’s history give way to a masterpiece. At Alcázar, it wasn’t that the Spanish/Christians tore down the Islamic walls, eradicating any notion that such a civilization existed for so long, but rather they built onto it, complimenting, supplementing, and adding their own chapters of history. The two complimented each other quite well, and it was astonishing to see Quaranic verses in one archway, and Catholic crosses in another room. That
is how history should be preserved and respected.
This intertwining of cultures, languages, and history as evidenced through architecture is precisely what I set out for when I journeyed to Andalucía. It is reflective of
my own life in the intermixing of Hispanic and Arab cultures, and my family is evidence that such intertwining leads to beautiful things.
*Special pitch to the Android phone and to Google for saving me countless times throughout my travels in Scotland and in Europe. I would also like to point out that all of my photos were taken on my Android, and I think they came out beautiful.
**Bullfighting evolved from nobility practice in the 1700s to how we understand it today. Although I personally find it… odd, the sport is entrenched in Spanish tradition and is an important part of Spanish culture.
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