Seville, Spain The Heart of Seville City walk by Tara Anbudaiyan

Wander the streets of Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter, where many of Seville's best attractions live. This Compass & Key itinerary will last about 5 to 6 Hours.

Jardines de Murillo

 
Begin this itinerary with a walk among the trees and greenery of the Jardines de Murillo, which used to be part of the grounds of the Real Alcázar. Named for famous 17th century Sevillano painter Bartolomé Murillo, the grounds were donated to the city in 1911. Enjoy the sights and sounds of street artists and musicians as you meander along the promenade. Make sure to stop at the monument honoring Christopher Columbus, with a bronze statue of the ship he commanded to the New World, the Santa Maria.

Jardines de Murillo

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Plaza de Santa Cruz

 
Escape to this small plaza, once the site of the church of Santa Cruz, which gave the name to the area but was demolished in 1811. A masterpiece of Baroque craftsmanship dating to 1692, the Cruz de la Cerrajería, or Locksmith Cross, stands stoically in the center of the plaza.

Plaza de Santa Cruz

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source: Triposo

 
Wander the small streets of Santa Cruz to reach the Plaza Virgin de los Reyes, where the sculpture of the Virgin Mary is paraded each August from the Cathedral Chapel in a celebratory festival. Note the gargoyle faces on the central lamppost and fountain, which are copies of Roman originals that you will view later at the Casa de Pilatos. Following the walls of the Cathedral, just south, is the Plaza del Triunfo, which was built to commemorate the city's miraculous survival after an earthquake in 1755, which devastated Lisbon and surrounding areas.

Plaza del Triunfo

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While the views from the bell tower, La Giralda, are absolutely worthwhile, you can avoid the long queues by booking a rooftop tour instead. Although the tours are in Spanish, the rooftop tour provides the unique opportunity to view architectural features of the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world up close, from the stained glass windows to the Moorish features of La Giralda. Advance reservations essential. Spanish-only tours at 11a, 12:30p, 5p and 6:30p (summer only). 11a and 12:30p tours include same-day reentry into the Cathedral.

Seville Cathedral

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Popular restaurant La Azotea has several locations throughout Seville. Enjoy traditional Spanish dishes like Salmorejo, a tomato soup with Iberian ham. Many of the menu items are available both in tapas sizes and larger portions.

La Azotea

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Walk ten minutes from La Azotea to reach Casa de Pilatos, which was so named in the mid-1700s because of its resemblance to Pontius Pilate's home in Jerusalem. Built in the 15th century by his parents, Fadrique Enríquez de Rivera transformed the style of the palace after a two-year tour of the Holy Land and Italy from 1518-1520. Note the Italian Renaissance features, such as the marble archway entrance and columns, intermixed with Mudéjar tiling (considered some of the finest in Seville) and coffered ceilings. Leave time to stroll the beautiful gardens. The second floor of the house can only be accessed via guided tour, so check tour times upon arrival. During our visit, the English tours were at 2pm.

Casa de Pilatos

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The Shops of Calle Sierpes

 
If you have time before the afternoon siesta, walk ten minutes west of Casa de Pilatos to find one of the main shopping streets in Seville, Calle Sierpes. Check out Sevillarte (marked on the map) for artisan ceramics, or the hand-embroidered shawls and fans at Artesanía Textil. Make sure to leave enough time for our last stop on the itinerary, returning to the grand Seville Cathedral, which closes in the early afternoon Tue-Sun. Most shops are open 9:30a-2p and then again 5-8p, so plan accordingly.

The Shops of Calle Sierpes

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Escape the late afternoon heat and return to continue touring the Seville Cathedral from the ground. The sheer size is jaw-dropping, with the central nave rising 137 feet. It is considered the third-largest church in the world, behind St. Peter's Basilica and Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil. Originally a grand mosque built in the late 12th century, work began on the Christian cathedral in 1401 and lasted for over a century. Highlights include the grand tomb of Christopher Columbus, the 44 gilded relief panels in the high altar, and the Patio de los Naranjos, where visitors would wash their hands and feet before praying in Moorish times.

Seville Cathedral

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