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The rain in Spain

Weekend in Seville day two


View Weekend in Seville on ToonSarah's travel map.

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Guests at a baptism in Triana

We had breakfast in a nearby coffee shop, Gusto, where I enjoyed a great yoghurt and fruit bowl. We then spent the day dodging showers until they finally caught up with us!

Hop On, Hop Off

We’d decided to make use of the Hop On, Hop Off for the day, to enable us to see some of the parts of the city that we wouldn’t have time on this trip to explore in depth, and to connect several we did want to explore more quickly. So after breakfast we walked to the bus stop near the Torre del Oro, where we’d alighted yesterday from the airport bus.

Plaza de America

We got off at the Plaza de America on the southern edge of the Parque de María Luisa. This is a picturesque square with lots of white pigeons, a lily pond and some interesting statues.

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In the Plaza de America

On three sides are impressive buildings. These look older than they are, having been built as copies of various Renaissance styles in between 1913 and 1916 for the 1929 Ibero-American Expo. The Museum of Popular Arts and Customs is in the Mudejar style; the Royal Pavilion is in a Gothic style and houses Seville City Hall offices; and finally the Archaeological Museum is in a classically Renaissance style.

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The Museum of Popular Arts and Customs

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The Royal Pavilion

Another feature is the Glorieta de Miguel de Cervantes. This is decorated with ceramics celebrating his most famous works, as well as those of Rodríguez Marín.

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The Glorieta de Miguel de Cervantes

Triana

After 30 minutes here we caught the next HOHO bus to Triana on the far side of the Guadalquivir River. This is a district with a very distinct identity. It was very much a working-class area, home to sailors, potters and artisans, to bull-fighters and flamenco dancers. It was also was also home to a large population of Roma people.

Here we enjoyed a walk through various picturesque streets with lots of photo opportunities.

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A typical street in Triana

One of the first places we passed after getting off the bus was an interesting old building which reminded me a little of London mews streets. It had obviously been carefully restored, as a majolica panel near the entrance showed. I learned later that this is a traditional corral or communal home, once very typical of this district. Wikipedia describes it as, ‘a building organised around a patio with a central fountain, the occupants living in individual rooms that open to the communal patio’. These corrales were traditionally the homes of the large Romany population of Triana but only a few now remain. They are strictly protected and, I got the impression, rather gentrified.

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The traditional corral

I had wanted to visit the church of Santa Ana but it was hosting a succession of baptisms so we could only look around a small area near the back of the church. Of course the church has undergone several major rebuilds and restorations since then, most significantly after the Lisbon earthquake of 1st November 1755, when it was given a Baroque makeover.

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Painting near the back of the church

The church is arguably the oldest in Seville, the first Christian church built from scratch in Seville after it was reconquered from the Moors in 1248. It was built on the orders of King Alfonso X the Wise in 1266, and dedicated to the mother of the Virgin Mary in gratitude for her miraculous intercession in curing an eye disease that the king suffered from.

On a small altar tucked away near the entrance I found statues of Santa Rufina and Santa Justa, Christian martyrs who were potters from Triana. These saints are often depicted with the Giralda tower, which they are said to have saved during the earthquake.

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Santa Rufina and Santa Justa

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On the exterior wall of the church

Dodging a shower we had coffee in a bar in the small square opposite the church, busy with locals and families awaiting their turn for a baptism ceremony.

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A local in the bar

Then we carried on walking along Calle Pureza, which runs parallel to the river one block away from its western bank. We spotted a number of commemorative tile panels, paying tribute to famous former residents.

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On Calle Pureza

A little way along we came to the Capilla de los Marineros. As with the church of Santa Ana, a baptism prevented us from going inside. But I did grab one shot from the street. This Chapel of the Sailors houses a statue of the Virgen de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope), the patron saint of Triana’s sailors. With my camera on full zoom I managed to get a photo of her too, through the open door. The statue is traditionally attributed to the 19th century Juan de Astorga.

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The Capilla de los Marineros, and its statue of the Virgen de la Esperanza

This was also a good area for street photography, especially people waiting around for other baptism ceremonies. I haven’t been able to find out why so many ceremonies were happening on this one day. Was it a coincidence? Are there always this many on a Saturday? Or is there something especially propitious or significant about this date (20th November)?

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On Calle Pureza

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Capilla Virgen del Carmen

At the end of the road we came across a small chapel, the Capilla Virgen del Carmen, with a striking architectural style. It stands by the Puente de Triana and was built in the 1920s after an earlier chapel had to be knocked down during improvements to the bridge and road widening outside the nearby market. It is constructed with brick and Triana ceramics and consists of a small domed chapel and taller octagonal bell tower.

We didn’t attempt to go into the chapel but instead visited the Mercato Triana next-door. I love a market wherever we travel as they always provide good photo opps and an insight into local food culture. Here we found stalls arranged according to the produce they sold – fish and seafood in one section, meat in another, vegetables in yet another. Everything looked of the best quality. Each stall was numbered and named on a blue majolica sign at the top.

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In the Mercato Triana

Emerging at the far end of the market we found ourselves in a small square with a monument that pays tribute to the various traditions of Triana: pottery, ceramic work and flamenco. Examples of local pottery in the form of colourful plates hung on the wall above, below another traditional tile panel known as the Christ of the Three Falls, very popular all over Seville - we'd already seen it several times today.

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Monument to the traditions of Triana, and ceramic tile work

Just north of here we picked up the HOHO bus again and rode it to its stop in the Plaza del Duque. This is in the heart of the city's shopping district but is also home to a number of sights. We had a good lunch in El Patio Bodega near the flamenco museum. The bar was busy with lots of locals and felt very genuine and characterful. We shared a cheese plate and potato salad.

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Sign outside El Patio tapas bar, and a nearby building

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A flamenco club opposite the tapas bar

Las Setas

After lunch we retraced our steps to the Metropol Parasol, often referred to by locals as the Mushrooms, Las Setas de la Encarnación. The dramatic forms arch overhead, framing views of the surrounding streets and buildings.

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Las Setas

Formed from wood and supported by concrete columns, the parasols are the creation of Berlin architect Jürgen Mayer. There are five levels in total. At the top is a viewing platform; below that within the parasols are spaces for events and a restaurant. Sheltered by them is an elevated square, the Plaza Mayor, from which all but one of my photos were taken. At ground level there is space for a local market and in the basement the Antiquarium, which displays Roman and Moorish archaeological remains discovered when the work was undertaken.

We decided not to pay the five euros per person needed to access the viewing platform, as the weather wasn’t great and we didn’t feel the views would be worth it. However, having since found a Creative Commons image on Wikipedia I am somewhat regretting that decision, as the structure itself looks fascinating from above.

I was keen to visit the Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija but contrary to the info on its website it was closed until 15.15 so we had a walk around the area while we waited, checking out the mostly very smart clothes shops.

Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija

This palace claims to have ‘the world’s most important collection of mosaics’ which I think is stretching things a bit! But it does have an impressive collection and much more to see besides. It was built as a Sevillian town house in the 16th century. As was traditional in the hot summer climate of this city, the ground floor was airy and intended for summer use, while the upstairs was more enclosed, perfect for winter.

In 1901 it was bought by Doña Regla Manjón Mergelina, the Countess of Lebrija. She restored it to house her collection of Roman mosaics, archaeological treasures and many works of art. The latter are mostly housed in the palace rooms on the first floor. We joined a rather strict if friendly guide and a number of other tourists on a walk through the impressive rooms. The art collection includes original works by Brueghal and Van Dyck, Chinese porcelain and much more. No photos were allowed there; and as I said, the guide was strict, keeping us all together and under her watchful eye. But you can see some on the website which give a good idea of the richness of the decoration and the number of art works on display: https://palaciodelebrija.com/en/first-floor/

Meanwhile here are some shots I was able to take of one of the mosaics and some of the ground floor rooms.

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One of the Roman mosaics; this is in the central courtyard and I photographed it from the ground floor and from an upper gallery

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The central courtyard

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The staircase to the upper floor, and one of the ground floor rooms

Iglesia del Salvador

From the Palacio we walked through to the Iglesia del Salvador. Our ticket from yesterday’s visit to the cathedral included the entrance fee here too. Like the cathedral this Christian place of worship was built on the site of a mosque, but unlike the cathedral it retains no sign of its predecessor. The exterior is relatively plain but once inside my eyes were assaulted by a riot of gold!

One of the highlights is the retablo behind the main altar. Lonely Planet tells me that this is a 21 metre high piece, crafted by the Portuguese artist Cayetano de Acosta between 1770 and 1779. I loved the angels on either side who hold lamps suspended from the red ropes in their hands.

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The retablo

Elsewhere I spotted Santa Rufina and Santa Justa again, with La Giralda between them. There were lots of other beautifully executed statues too.

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Inside the Iglesia del Salvador

When we left the church the skies were very dark and a storm started just as we reached the hotel. In any case we were ready for a rest by then.

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Placentines

It was still raining when we went out to dinner which we had in Placentines, a more modern styled restaurant near where we'd eaten last night. We shared half portions of dried meats, a potato and eggs dish and very good rose veal. I drank Rioja, Chris a beer and later a brandy, and we both had desserts. The total bill was €78, very reasonable we thought.

When we left it had stopped raining. Our fingers were firmly crossed for better weather tomorrow!

Posted by ToonSarah 19:35 Archived in Spain Tagged churches rain architecture history city museum spain street_photography Comments (6)

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