Monday, May 10, 2010

History of Seville

Seville is not only the capital of Andalusía, it is also a cultural and financial capital. The city has a long history dating back to ancient times, when it was originally called Hispalis. In 712 AD, the Arabs made of Seville the capital of the province of Ibliya this it is where the name of Seville came from. Few years later, Normans came and destroyed everything the Arabs had built.
The Phoenicians created a city which they named was Tartessus. Some historians believed that this city formed part of what we now know today as Seville.

Roman was general called the new city Iulia Romula Hispalis; Iulia after Julious Caesar, Romula in honour of Rome and Hispalis because many of the buildings had wooden piles driven into the ground as foundations.

After defeating the Alcalá del Río, Scipio Africanus, settled a contingent of veteran soldiers in Itálica outside Seville. Itálica was a very important and powerful city between the second and fourth century A.D. The Amphitheatre is the jewel in Itálica. Itálica has exceptional examples of domestic architecture such as De Exedra, Los Pájaros or Hylas, three houses which boast splendid mosaics. The majority of Italica's most important archaeological treasures are now in the city of Seville, either in the Archaeological Museum in El Parque de María Luisa Park or in La Casa de la Condesa de Lebrija mansion in calle Cuna.

Although Roman Seville was being rebuilt after being pillaged by the Carthaginians at the end of the third century B.C., the name of Hispalis only appeared for the first time in the official Roman history in 49 B.C., before Julius Caesar granted the status of colony and celebrate his victory over Pompey.

Ferdinand III who conquered the city remained in hands of the Christian Spaniards. The 16th and 17th centuries, was the city’s next most important period of growth, it became a focal point for Spain’s art and a very significant maritime port.

The Romans governed for over six centuries and changed the town with aqueducts, buildings and roads. However the Muslim civilization had the most impact on the city. Their reign lasted for nearly 8 centuries from 711 until the catholic monarchs took over in 1492.

Today Seville is a modern city with a modern infrastructure and great conference facilities hosting large events like the Iberamerican Exhibition in 1929, the World Exhibition Expo in 1992 and the Athletics World Championship in 1999.

After the earthqueake of 1356 the Cathedral was almost ruined, was built over the old mosque which was already used as a Christian temple. It is the third biggest cathedral in the world after Saint Peter in Rome and Saint Paul in London. Some of its remains can still be seen at the Oranges Courtyard and the Giralda. It has other additional constructions subsequently added such as vestries, archives, libraries, courtyards. Seville Cathedral has a wide range of valuable historic, artistic and religious pieces.

Giralda, a minaret, which is a architectural features of Islamic mosques was replaced by Seville Cathedral. It was built between 1184 and 1196 and the tower was the culmination of Almohad architecture. It is considered the finest of the three great Almohad minarets: the other two are in the Moroccan cities of Rabat and Marrakesh. At the top the tower there are four copper spheres that could be seen for miles around, the Moorish tower was used both to call the faithful to prayer and as an observatory over the city. Several additions were made to the Giralda in the Renaissance era, after an earthquake in 1356 which destroyed its original copper spheres.

Alcazar, which is a fortified, was ordered by Abd Al Ramn III in the year 913. This palace was the home of several monarchs in the centuries. It is now the residence of His Royal Majesty Juan Carlos when he visits Seville.