Hi, I’m Rick Steves, back with more of the Best of Europe. This time we’re deep
in the south of Spain, in Andalusia. This is Sevilla. Hold on to your castanets. Thank you. Sevilla does festivals
with gusto. It’s a flamboyant city
of larger-than-life lovers like Carmen and Don Juan, where bullfighting is still
politically correct, and where little
girls still dream of growing up to become
flamenco dancers. Sevilla has soul
and a contagious love of life. Sevilla, or Seville in English, has its share
of impressive sights. And we’ll see
its Grand Cathedral and plush Moorish palace. But the real magic
is the city itself with its labyrinthine
Jewish quarter… Riveting flamenco shows, thriving bars and teeming festivals. From Sevilla we head
into the hills of Andalusia to explore the region’s
finest hill town, Arcos de la Frontera. Located in the southwest corner
of Europe, Spain dominates
the Iberian Peninsula. Its southern province
is Andalusia and the region’s leading city
is Sevilla. From there we travel
to Arcos de la Frontera. Sevilla was Europe’s gateway
to the new world in the 16th century. It flourished during
the age of discovery. The explorers Christopher
Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, and Amerigo Vespucci
all sailed from right here. The Golden Tower was
the starting and ending point for trade with the new world. For centuries, part
of the city’s fortifications, it came with a heavy chain
draped across the river to protect the harbor. In the 16th century, Sevilla’s Golden Age was
powered by new world riches. In the 17th century,
all that money made the city an important center
of arts and culture. In the 18th century,
as its harbor silted up and the Spanish Empire crumbled. Sevilla’s power faded,
and in the 19th century the once powerful,
now quaint, Sevilla became an important stop on the Romantic-era grand tour
of Europe. In the 20th century,
1992 to be exact, Sevilla hosted a World’s Fair
that left the city with today’s striking
21st-century infrastructure, dramatic bridges,
a sleek new train system and even a new airport. Today, with 700,000 people, it’s Spain’s
fourth largest city, an exuberant Andalusian
capital. [ Clapping and yelling ] But the charm of Sevilla is
best enjoyed in its traditions, like flamenco. Spaniards consider Andalusia
the home of flamenco. While impromptu flamenco
still erupts spontaneously in old-world bars, most tourists attend a show like this. The men do most
of the machine-gun footwork. [ Rhythmic tapping ] The women concentrate
on graceful turns and a smooth, dramatic step. [ Guitar strum ] Flamenco guitarists, with their lightning-fast
finger-roll strums are among the best
in the world. [ Fast clicking ] The intricate rhythms are set
by castanets and hand-clapping. [ Singing in Spanish ] In the raspy-voiced wails
of the singers, you’ll hear echoes
of the Muslim call to prayer, an evocative reminder
of centuries of Moorish rule. [ Single clapping ] Yea! [ Applause ] The town square is Plaza Nueva. It honors
King Ferdinand III, fondly remembered for freeing
Sevilla from the Moors in the 13th century. From here, wander
into Sevilla’s pedestrian-zone
shopping center, which Spaniards prefer
to the suburban mall. This is the place for
traditional Spanish fashions. But I couldn’t know my manchego
from my mantilla without a little local help. My friend and local tour guide,
Concepción Delgado, has agreed to be
my personal shopper. So there’s all these
traditional things to buy. Isn’t it just for tourists
that they sell these? No way. These are for locals.
We love our things. We have preserved
our traditions for centuries. So these traditions
are healthy? Completely. This is one
of my favorite shops. Buenos días. Hola. Here, now let
me show you the three most
traditional accessories that women wear
in Spain: Shawls, mantillas
and fans. Starting with the shawls
that you can see here, the display of beautiful
colors and embroideries, which are very
practical for us, too. We would use them
as accessories, but they also have a function, which is warming you
when you’re cold. This is what we
wear on top of the beautiful, nice flamenco dresses to attend to
the April “feria”. On top of
the flamenco dress, you cannot wear a simple coat.
You have to wear something more distinguished,
which is a shawl. You can leave it like that,
it’s more sexy. Hmm? Here we’ve got
the mantilla. The mantilla
is another accessory, which can be in two colors:
White or black. It’s always combined
with this comb, which is incorporated
in the mantilla like this, and then we wear that
on our heads. Okay. The white one, it’s
only for the “feria”, for the festival
in April, when women wear them
to attend the bullfights. Let’s have a look
at the fans now. As you can see,
very different colors, different materials, but they are
mostly made in wood. Remember that Sevilla gets
very hot during the summer, and women,
all ladies use them, especially when
they attend services. Very old churches,
no air condition, and they are cooling
themselves like this. Sometimes you hardly
hear the priest, just [ Thumping ]. That’s all
around you. In the old days, there was
a language with fans, which is disappearing,
but in the love game, it was very
useful, too. For example, you were
looking at someone that you weren’t
interested at, – ha, ha.
– You can go away because I don’t
like you much. But if you were
really interested, that movement could tell him
something, don’t you think? Anyway, the most common
movement for a fan is… [ Click, thump, thump, thump ] In the year 711 the Muslim Moors
swept in from Africa and conquered
the Iberian Peninsula. They ruled Spain
for five centuries, inspiring a Europe-wide crusade
among Christians to reconquer this land. Muslim rule stretched
as far as France, but bit by bit the Moors
were pushed back, expelled from Sevilla in 1248 and finally pushed entirely out
of Western Europe by 1492. The Moors left a distinct mark
on Andalusian culture. While in Sevilla, they ruled
from here, the Alcazar. More than six centuries later,
this magnificent building still functions
as a Royal Palace. The Alcazar provides
a thought-provoking glimpse of a graceful Moorish world that might have survived
its Christian conquerors but didn’t. What you see today
is a 14th-century rebuild done in mudéjar style. This was a Moorish style done
by Moorish craftsmen but for Christian rulers
after the reconquest. This became the king’s palace. Its centerpiece was
the elegantly proportioned court of the maidens. It was decorated mudéjar below
and Renaissance above. The king hired Muslim workers
to give Moorish elegance to what was a stark fortress. They built what’s considered
the finest mudéjar building in all of Spain. The intimate dolls’ court
was the king’s living quarters. Imagine the royal family
lounging around a reflecting pool
in this courtyard. The stylized Arabic script,
a standard feature of mosques, created a visual chant
of Koranic verses, but the decor
is clearly Christian. You’ll see animals, buildings
and kings that you wouldn’t find in
religious Muslim ornamentation, which forbids images. A century or so later, just after Columbus’
new world discoveries, Queen Isabel built a more
European-style wing to the
palace. Anticipating a big business
in plunder and trade, she built this to administer
Spain’s new world ventures. The chapel is dedicated to Santa Maria
de los Buenos Aires. St. Mary of the Good Winds was the patron saint
of navigators and a favorite of Columbus. This altar painting dates from shortly after Columbus died
and features what’s considered the first and most accurate portrait of the great explorer
on the left. It’s also thought to be the
first painting of Indians done
in Europe. The Virgin’s cape seems
to protect everyone under it, even the Indians. Like the palace, the gardens
reflect a mix of cultures. The intimate
geometric Moorish gardens lead to the later,
much more expansive backyard of Spanish kings. The gardens are full of tropical
flowers, cool fountains and, in the summer,
hot tourists. I’m thankful we’re here
in late April, beating the brutal heat
of the Andalusian summer. The Moors were relatively
tolerant of other religions. During their rule,
Christians, Jews and Muslims shared the city peacefully. After the Christian reconquest, Sevilla’s thriving
Jewish community was concentrated here
in the Barrio de Santa Cruz. Today only a few
peaceful squares surrounded by a tangled web of
alleys survives from the days when this was
Sevilla’s Jewish quarter. Explore, wander among lanes
too narrow for cars, whitewashed houses corralling
peaceful squares and wrought-iron latticework. Regardless of who lived here,
the design of the neighborhood seems to have one goal:
Stay cool. The narrow streets,
some with buildings so close they’re called kissing lanes, were designed
to maximize shade. Concepción: These orange trees
are great for shade. They never lose
their leaves. Rick: And refreshing, too, on a hot day. Well, not to eat. These are sour
orange trees. We just use them
for vitamins, perfume or that kind of marmalade
the british like. Oh, that bitter English
marmalade, yeah. It’s made
with our oranges. The Santa Cruz neighborhood
comes with a timeless beauty. Savor the simple elegance
of Sevilla. The delicate charms
of Santa Cruz are just a few steps from
Sevilla’s immense cathedral. It’s the third largest church
in Europe, after St. Peter’s
in the Vatican and St. Paul’s in London, and the largest
Gothic church anywhere. When they ripped down the
mosque that stood on this site in 1401, the Reconquista
Christians bragged, “we’ll build a cathedral so
huge that anyone who sees it will take us for madmen.” You could fit a soccer field
in here. Everything is super-sized. The towering main altarpiece
is covered in gold leaf. Constructed in the 1480s, it’s composed of hundreds
of figures. It tells the story
of the life of Jesus in 40 scenes from his birth
to his resurrection. The choir, an enclosure
within the cathedral for more intimate services, surrounds
a spinnable music rack. It held giant hymnals, large enough for all
to chant from in an age when there weren’t
enough for everyone. In the transept, four pallbearers carry the tomb
of Christopher Columbus. They represent the four
medieval kingdoms that became Spain: Aragon, Navarre,
Castile and Leon, each identified
by their team shirts. Columbus even traveled a lot
after he died. He was buried first
in Sevilla, then moved to Santo
Domingo, then to Cuba. And after Cuba earned its independence from
Spain around 1900, he sailed all the way back here
to Sevilla. Is he really in there? Sevillanos like to think so. All that survives of Moorish
Sevilla’s main mosque is its courtyard of orange
trees and a towering minaret. The tower offers a brief
recap of the city’s history, sitting on
a Roman foundation, a long Moorish period capped
by the Christian age. The Moors built
its spiraling ramp to accommodate a rider
on horseback. Somebody climbed this tower
five times a day to call Sevilla’s Muslims
to prayer. Today tourists gallop up
for fine city views. And the former minaret functions as the cathedral’s bell tower. It’s topped
with a bronze weathervane, a statue that symbolizes
the triumph of faith. Some of Spain’s
best bullfighting is done right here in Sevilla’s
14,000-seat Plaza de Toros. Bullfights are scheduled
most sundays, Easter through october. While bullfighting
is controversial and many believe that
the patronage of tourists just helps keep
a brutal spectacle alive, others see
bullfighting as a real and vivid part of
Spanish culture. Whether or not you actually attend a bullfight is up to you. To learn about this tradition
without actually supporting it, you can tour Sevilla’s
Plaza de Toros and check out
its Bullfighting Museum. Your visit starts
with a tour through the strangely quiet
and empty arena. In the museum
you’ll learn more. A few special bulls
are honored here, each awarded the bovine
equivalent of an Oscar for putting up the best fight
of the year. This one’s missing an ear. It was awarded to the matador,
who also performed well. Matadors dress to kill,
elegant in their tight-fitting and richly-ornamented
suits of light. The first-aid room is where
injured fighters are rushed. Hoping not to end up there, matadors pray here
in the chapel. The Virgin of Macarena
is a protector of matadors and the favorite
among sevillanos. While her images
are everywhere, you can see the actual darling
of Sevilla nearby at the… Grab a pew and study
the Weeping Virgin. She’s a 17th-century doll, complete with articulated arms
and human hair. She’s even dressed
with underclothes. With crystal teardrops,
her beautiful expression, halfway between ecstasy
and sorrow, touches pilgrims. Sevilla’s Semana Santa,
or holy week, celebrations are the most magnificent
in Spain. During the week leading
up to Easter, the city’s packed with pilgrims
witnessing grand processions, carrying elaborate floats
through the streets. The two most impressive floats
of the festivities are parked behind the altar. The biggest float,
slathered in gold leaf, shows the sentencing of Christ. Pontius Pilate is about
to wash his hands. His wife cries as a man reads
the death sentence. While pious Sevillan women
wail in the streets, relays of 48 men carry
this three-ton float on the backs of their necks. Only their feet show
from under these drapes as they shuffle through
the streets from about midnight until two in the
afternoon each good friday. This float, with the Weeping
Virgin from the church’s altar placed regally in the center,
is the hit of the parade. It’s festooned with wax flowers
and candelabra. It seems fragile,
all silver and candles. Locals explain, it’s strong
enough to support the roof while delicate enough to quiver
in the soft night breeze. Rick: Have you
actually seen this one going through the streets? Concepción: The queen of the
city, you mean? Yes. Of course. She even wears her
crown, and that day she looks
absolutely beautiful. When she goes
through the streets, people get crazy. They can’t explain
all those emotions and they clap
or they cry or they throw petals
from balconies. What’s so special about
this particular Mary? She knows everything
about us because we have
been telling her our problems
for centuries. Her name is hope,
which is what we all need. Sevilla’s passion
for religious art is preserved and displayed in its museum
of fine art: The top Spanish artists
Valesquez, Murillo, Zurbaran all called Sevilla home. Sevilla was Spain’s
commercial and material capital
it’s New York City. While Madrid was a newly built
center of government, like Washington, D.C. In the early 1800s,
Spain’s liberal government disbanded many
of the monasteries and convents and secular fanatics
were looting the churches. Thankfully, the most important
religious art was rescued and hung safely here
in this convent-turned-museum. Spain’s economic Golden Age,
the 1500s, blossomed into the Golden Age
of Spanish painting, the 1600s. Artists such as
Francesco de Zurbaran combined realism
with mysticism. Under a protective Mary,
he painted balding saints and monks with wrinkled faces
and sunburned hands. This inspirational style
fit Spain’s spiritual climate during an age
when the Catholic Church was waging its
Counter-Reformation battle against the Protestant
Rebellion. The “Apotheosis of St. Thomas
Aquinas” is considered Zurbaran’s most beautiful
and important work. It was done at the height
of his career, when stark realism
was all the rage. Zurbaran presents
the miraculous in a believable,
down-to-earth way. Eventually, the
soft and accessible style of Bartolome Murillo became more popular than
Zurbaran’s harsher realism. Murillo became the rage
in Spain and through much
of the Catholic world. This madonna and child
shows how Murillo wraps everything in warm colors
and soft light. Murillo’s favorite subject
is the Virgin Mary, shown young and pure. The painting is called
“The Immaculate Conception,” one of dozens Murillo painted
on this subject. Catholics believe that not only
was Jesus born of a virgin but that Mary herself
was completely pure, conceived immaculately. With all this religiosity,
it’s no surprise that Sevilla is also famous for letting
loose in vibrant festivals, and we’re here for the biggest
of all, the April Fair. For seven days each April,
it seems much of Sevilla is packed
into its vast fairgrounds. The fair feels friendly,
spontaneous, very real. The Andalusian passion
for horses, flamenco… [ Singing in Spanish ] And sherry is clear. Riders are ramrod straight, colorfully-clad senoritas
ride sidesaddle and everyone’s drinking
sherry spritzers. Women sport outlandish dresses that would look clownish
all alone, but somehow brilliant here
en masse. Over a thousand
private party tents, or casetas, line the lanes. Each striped tent
is a private party zone of a family, club
or association. To get in, you need to know
someone in the group, or make friends quickly. Concepción’s well connected
and, as a friend of a friend, we’re in. [ Speaking Spanish ] Rick:
This is your caseta? This is
my caseta. Okay. Because of this exclusivity, it has a real
family-affair feeling. Everyone seems to
know everyone in what seems like a thousand
wedding parties being celebrated all
at the same time. It’s time to say adiós
to Concepción. She’s got more
celebrating to do, and we’re heading
an hour south of Sevilla for a dose
of small-town Andalusia. The route of the Pueblos
Blancos, or White Towns, is a charm bracelet
of characteristic towns perched in the hills
and mountains of Andalusia. The Queen
of the White Towns is… Arcos smothers its hilltop,
tumbling down its back like the train
of a wedding dress. The old town center
is a delight to explore. Viewpoint-hop through town. The people of Arcos
boast that only they see the backs of the
birds as they fly. Feel the wind funnel
through the narrow streets as cars inch
around tight corners. Driving is tricky.
It’s a one-way system. If you miss your hotel,
you’ll drive all around again. Under the castle
and facing the church is the town’s main square which
once doubled as a bullring. Towns like Arcos, with de la frontera in their names, were established
on the frontier; that was, on the front lines
during that centuries-long fight to take Spain back
from the Muslims. As the Moors were slowly
pushed back into North Africa, the towns, while no longer
of any strategic importance, kept “on the frontier”
in their names. The main church is a reminder
of that reconquest. After Christian forces
retook Arcos from the Moors in the 13th century,
it was the same old story. The mosque was demolished and a church was built
on its site. There are historical curiosities
everywhere. This stone was scavenged
from an Ancient Roman temple. You can just make out
the Latin inscription and this 2,000-year-old
Tree of Life. But the mysterious highlight is this 15th-century magic circle, 12 red
and 12 white stones, the white ones with various
constellations marked. Back then,
on a child’s day of baptism, the parents would stop here
first for a good exorcism. The exorcist would stand
within this protective circle and cleanse the baby
of any evil spirits. Then they could proceed
into the church. The flying buttresses were
added to shore up the church after it was weakened
by an earthquake in 1696. Arches prop up
earthquake-damaged buildings all over town. Peek politely
into private patios. Cool and inviting
family courtyards are typical of Arcos. While the old wells
now generally hold flowerpots, they’re reminders that
these courtyards oncefunctioned
as water catchment systems. They funneled rainwater
into a drain in the middle, which filled the well. Explore the narrow, whitewashed
and flower-lined lanes of this charming hill town, and while you’re at it,
work up an appetite. We’re eating
at Restaurante El Convento, where senora Maria
Moreno-Moreno and her husband serve the best
of traditional local cuisine. Throughout Europe I find that
mom-and-pop places like this offer the best values,
and to dine well on a budget, I eat better for less
in a small town rather than in a big city. Their refreshing gazpacho,
a chilled tomato garlic soup, is a great starter. Ask about seasonal specialties. The wild asparagus dish
is just right in springtime, as are the artichokes. They’re served with shrimp. Spanish wine has moved up on the respectability ladder lately. Our full-bodied red
is “mucho delicioso”. This is a good opportunity
for game. Well, small game. I’m having pigeon. Whether finding new ways
to stay cool, checking out a new dance, learning how the Moors
made their mark, appreciating a new artist or just joining the party, travel shows me how life
can be enjoyed to its fullest in ways I haven’t
even considered. Enjoying life with abandon comes
easy here in the south of Spain. I hope you’ve enjoyed our taste
of Sevilla and Andalusia. I’m Rick Steves.
Until next time, keep on travelin’. Adiós. As the Muslims were slowly
pushed back into North Africa, the towns really lost any
of their strategic importance and they just decided to
keep ha, ha, ha… Were established…
On the front corner put a veil over your face ‘cuz
if you’re laughin’, i’m this is stupid;
This is sophomoric. I shouldn’t be I should be able
to do this. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Take 25.

80 thoughts on “Sevilla

  1. Sevilla is a superb city and its people are awesome. I went there once during my college years. Salutations from USA! ps the man at minute 20:27 is sexy/hot- muy guapo! 

  2. I have been to this carnival last year. Tapas people bull ring weather is brill. City is sooo lovely, will go there again.

  3. I was born in Brasil, but raised in Sevilla then later moved to Madrid…..Spain is such a lovely country, Sevilla I love because it's such a calm lifestyle there. Recommend people to visit.

  4. Sevilla is my favorite city in Spain.   And that's saying a lot because I love Barcelona, Madrid, and Malaga!  Rick Steves, thank you sir for your videos!  Unfortunately, I didn't get to visit in April, but December (Christmas time) was wonderful!  And the bells from the church were amazing!

  5. Love your videos Rick, but the Moors did not conquer the entire Iberian Peninsula. In fact several Christian kingdoms remained very much sovereign in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, and eventually prevailed and reclamied the land to the Moors: the Reconquista.

  6. thanks so much for making this video! it really changed how I thought of Seville. I used to think it was a bad city! what was I thinking?????

  7. Considerada como una de las siete mejores ciudades del mundo para vivir,
    para mí es la ciudad más bonita de España. en auge económico, llena de
    cultura y buena gente, además de que ofrece una gran calidad de vida a
    sus habitantes, buenos servicios públicos en general, y excelente
    comunicación de transportes además de un clima envidiable.

  8. Ugh! Poor Rick, He struggles with the ethics of Bull Fighting but not enough to condemn it. His conflict is not much different than that of the Spaniards, who likely would've put an end to this left-over barbarity if NOT for the tourisim. In the end, it's always about money…even for the otherwise compassionate Steves.

    I like the way he offered the seemingly innocent bauble of touring the ring without actually "supporting" the bull fight. That would be like buying the Elephant tusk without actually witnessing the poaching.

  9. It's a good video but you've missed a lot of information which is totally normal as it's imposible to cover everything, but I can't stand the fact that you didn't mention that are many more virgins and that the Macarena is no the queen of the city, that is a personal opinion of your friend/local guide. As we say in Spain, ''cada uno barre para su casa''

  10. Is it a good idea to visit Seville from Grenada and come back by late evening or night
    Can we cover maximum in a day in Seville?

  11. 3:47 "… in the raspy-voiced wails of the singers you'll hear echoes of the muslim call to prayer…" true

  12. Good but …there is no synchronization between audio and subtitle in English … this is 14 seconds later

  13. Rick I love your travelogues but I do wish you could work on your pronunciation of Spanish place names. Your viewers will mispronounce these words ever after.

  14. I have visited Sevilla twice and I loved this city. History, nightlife, lifestyle and for its quiet … Plaza de España, Mosque and Magic Island were some beautiful places I visited. 🙂

  15. i've only been around Madrid and Salamanca so far.. will have to explore Andalucia and Costa Del Sol on my next visit! Thanks for the great video!

  16. So disappointed in the nastiness of Spaniards,they talk nasty thinking you don ot understand,make fun and criticize Sevilla,Madrid,Torremolinos, Marbella,,nasty waiters,store clerks,pedestrians would never spend my money there again.Even the tour guide acknowledged their nastiness and advised us to be nasty back and thy respect you more.

  17. Nice video which shows top tourist attractions of Sevilla. It's worth to visit this beautiful city during Feria de Abril, to feel wonderful atmosphere of this exceptional Spanish festival!

  18. I must say that the information about the audience room that in the video it´s supposed to be a chapel; the painting with the "virgen de los Aires", was placed there in the modern times.
    on the place where the Altar and the painting is, used to be the thrones for the Catholic Monarchs, and Columbus was receive in that room after his second travel !!!
    just point that, please do´nt bother

  19. Ha, ha, ha!, Rick, you are such an international anthropologist and trooper, dancing Flamenco with these Spanish girls.

  20. this is the third Rick Steves Spain show I've watched. the second one where he rehashed stuff from the first episode that I had watched. I advise skip it, you've already seen most of it at least once, or twice, if you've seen other Spain episodes.

  21. Concepcion Delgado is very unique in expressing and illustrating Spanish Women's feelings towards men's that are attracted to their beauties and charms in the way they portrayed their actions and interest and feelings.

  22. Looks like such a beautiful place! I've already been to Edinburgh, and though it tops my list, this is a close second!

  23. So, why are they worshipping or praying to a dead statue? Only our Father and Christ should receive prayers. This is blasphemy.

  24. Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires building named herewith is also the original name of present day Buenos Aires, Argentina, also one terrific city in every sense

  25. At 19:56 I have recognized a friend´s son riding a horse with a lady, now he is a bullfighter!

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