Planning Our Visit To The Santa Cruz Neighbourhood in Seville
On the first day of our stay in Seville, we enjoyed wandering around the Maria Luisa Park. For our second day we headed to the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville and saw some of the iconic architectural sights. Stops included the Gold Tower, bull ring, Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcázar Palace complex.
The first task was to research public transit in Seville. Compared to Portugal, we found Seville flatter and the streets were easier for walking. But we had a long day planned and I was not walking back and forth from our hotel.
The San Bernadino subway and tram stops were both close to our hotel. The subway got us to our starting point in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville. We then used the tram to get back. The tram line was a great tourist line that passed through many of the sights in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville.
We Rode The Subway to Puerto de Jerez
We exited the subway at the Puerto de Jerez stop at one end of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville. This was yet another of the green spaces in Seville with statues and fountains. Lots of the paths were covered. This provided some respite from the summer heat!
The sound of Spanish guitar drew us to the square. Under the trees we got our first view of flamenco dancing in the street. We got a much great show one night when we did a walking tour of Seville with a flamenco show.
Torre Del Oro On The Guadalquivir River
Once we got our bearings, we found the walkway along the Guadalquivir River. The first spot marked on our offline map was the Torre del Oro (Gold Tower). At one point it was actually tiled in gold.
Torre del Oro was built by the Moors as a military watchtower to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir River. In the Middle Ages it even served as a prison. It now housed a museum that detailed the maritime history of the city.
We walked around the Torre del Oro on all sides and caught pictures of it with flowers and fountains. On this visit, we stayed outside. But we heard there were great city views from the observation point at the top of the tower.
The Torre del Oro was a great historic sight in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville to visit.
A Stop At The Seville Bull Ring
We headed in the direction of the bull ring. When we came to the first large round building along the river, David got all excited and started snapping pictures. I lost him in the tour group that stopped at this spot. When he finally caught up with me sitting in the shade, I told him that this was the Maestranza Theatre and not the bull ring!
A short walk from the theatre, we found the bull ring (the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla). The statues in front made it evident that we found the right place.
We walked around the open air bull ring. While there were tours offered, we did not go inside. There was a lot on our plan for the day and we really did not need to see inside or hear about the history of bull fights.
It was fun when we visited some of the iconic spots in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville.
First Views Of The Seville Cathedral
The streets in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville were small and lined with shops and bars. We found lots of bars that offered wine but it was hard to find a spot for coffee. While the Starbucks with a view of the Seville Cathedral might have been an option, we finally got drawn in by a churros sign. We did not get coffee but we got chocolate.
Fortified, we began our walk around the Seville Cathedral. The first thing we saw was the Giralda bell tower. It stood a little apart from the main church building. The tower was once the minaret of a mosque on that site before the cathedral was built.
The top of the Giralda Tower was ornate with a baroque lantern, belfry, and bronze weather vane. Inside there was a series of 35 ramps that went up to a viewing platform on top. The ramps were originally used by guards on horseback. We unfortunately missed this panoramic view too as we wandered in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville.
Walk Around The Seville Cathedral
The cathedral occupied a massive central block in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville. It was the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. In 1987 it was established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Real Alcázar Palace complex which we visited later this day.
We started at the Plaza Virgen d los Reyes. From there were got our first view of the stunning architectural detail we found as we visited the cathedral.
The archways at the entry caused us to stop once again as we admired the detail in the design. We looked through the archway to the cathedral.
As we walked around the church, there were several doors into different parts of the church. Each of the portals was uniquely ornate and decorated.
Our view of the outside of the Seville Cathedral left us excited to see more.
Inside The Seville Cathedral
We entered one door and found a mass was in process and there was no general tourist admission at this time. From behind the chain, we peaked at the grandeur that was the inside of the church. We sought out a view of the large stained glass windows that were evident from the outside.
When the church opened later in the afternoon, the lines were much longer than we wanted to stand it. We still had the Alcázar Palace complex to see.
Our visit to the Seville Cathedral was a great teaser for the stunning architecture we found as we continued to tour the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville.
The Real Alcázar Palace Complex
After a stop for tapas and sangria, we felt revived enough to visit the Real Alcázar Palace complex. Our visit to the Alhambra palaces in Granada was the highlight of our last trip to Spain. We looked forward to seeing yet more interesting examples of the Moorish history of Spain.
We entered at the Lion Courtyard. The line was a bit shorter than we saw in the morning. Unfortunately, we also arrived at the same time as two large tour groups. We planned our trip through the palace complex carefully and avoided these groups.
The buildings in the complex were intricate. Stonework looked like lace. We walked out into the inner Courtyard of the Maidens (Patio de las Doncellas). The amazing detail continued everywhere we looked.
We wandered outside in the gardens. The gardens covered 60,000 square metres and provided a cool oasis filled with fountains, statues, greenery and a maze. We stopped at the Mercury fountain and admired the artistic detail in the back wall.
We were intrigued as we wandered through the outdoor spaces of the Real Alcazar de Seville. But we had only scratched the surface of the beauty we found.
Stunning Detail Inside The Real Alcazar de Seville
We moved from room to room inside a series of palaces. Our heads swivelled side to side and up and down. Ceilings provide a colourful array of tile patterns adorned with gold leaf or lace-like stone carvings. Floors were covered with more colourful tiles. We saw two types of tiles used in the palace – majolica and arista tiles.
We looked across the pool at the Maria de Padilla Bathrooms. As we moved from room to room, the archways of the Real Alcazar de Seville reminded us of Alhambra. Intricate stone carvings resembling lace were used on doorways and arches. We found so much colour used in the design. The details were stunning and beautiful.
We finally called it quits as we slowed down to almost a crawl. When we visited the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, we were delighted to visit the Real Alcázar Palace complex. But we were sorry we left it for the last stop on our day. This massive complex deserved a full day to explore.
Iconic Stops In The Santa Cruz Neighbourhood In Seville
It was a great day as we explored the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville. We saw many of the iconic sights along the Guadalquivir River. And were amazed with the beautiful architecture we found when we visited the Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcázar Palace complex. This was just a small preview of the architectural gems we found when we visited Cordoba next!
Have you visited the Santa Cruz neighbourhood in Seville? Did you enjoy the Seville Cathedral or the Alcazar of Seville more?
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