Sevilla Province – Andalusia
The Sevilla province, situated in the mid western part of Andalusia, is bordered by sierras and forms a fertile valley surrounding the Banks of the Gudalquivir. The mid average temperatures, moderate rainfall, and long hours of sunshine, make the city and Sevilla province an ideal tourist destination at any time of the year. A modern road network (the A-4, A-92, and A-49) links the province to the rest of Andalusia, and there is also the international San Pablo airport and the revolutionary AVE high speed rail link.
Beautiful landscapes, gastronomy, fiestas, traditions, monuments, and leisure opportunities all combine to make this a truly exceptional destination for the discerning tourist.
Sevilla Province Art and Culture
From the first Palaeolithic settlers who inhabited the Banks of the river to the inahabitants of the 21st century, Seville has always been a great melting pot of cultures. Throughout the Sevilla province there are remains of ancient civilizations, from the prehistoric dolmens of Valencina, to the El Carambolo treasure, and the well-preserved archaeological site of Itálica, the first Roman colony founded in Hispania.
The arrival of the Moors led to a period of urban consolidation which is still evident today in the layout of many of the towns and villages of the Sevilla province. The period saw the building of numerous castles, fortresses, and walls which were combined later, following the Christian reconquest, with the Mudejar style of architecture. Seville lived its period of maximum splendour during the 16th century, when it became the Port of the Indies, and as such, the point of entry into Spain of all the riches of the New World. It was this that led to the particular Sevillian baroque style which has endowed towns such as Carmona, Marchena, Écija, and Osuna, with such a sumptuous heritage of architectural wealth.
The broad craft tradition of the Sevilla province manifests itself in a whole range of activities from traditional ceramics, to leatherwork, furniture making, production of textiles and embroinered materials. Amongst the most distinctive products of craft workshops is religious embroidery and manila shawls which are produced all over the province and are closely associated with the world of the religious brotherhoods and processions.
There is also an important number of workshops which produce glazed ceramic tiles, and a wide range of earthenware objects. Another of the most important artisan trades in the province is the production of horse accessories. The close relationship between the province and the world of equestrianism is well reflected in the production of a whole range of products including saddles, head-pieces, bridles, etc and this craft industry is particularly important in the towns and villages in the Lower Guadalquivir, most notably Lebrija and Las Cabezas de San Juan.
The typical railings of Sevillian balconies and windows with their lamps, whilst the making of products using cane or esparto also continues to play a significant role.
Sevilla Province Festivals and Traditions
If there is one thing which seduces everyone who visits Seville it is the joyous, open nature of its people, something which is clearly embodied by the numerous festivities and ferias which take place in the province. The hustle and bustle of the Carnival is followed by the solemnity of Easter Week, with its powerfully evocative processions. With the onset of spring there is an explosion of festivities: the May Crosses, which are celebrated in a particularly dramatic way in Lebrija, so much so that the festivity has been declared an event of National Tourist Interest; the pilgrimages, some of which are local and others much larger, such as that of El Rocio, which attracts religious brotherhoods from all over Andalusia; the ferias which carry on right through the summer until the onset of autumn.
The solemn processions of Corpus Christi, and the ferias and fiestas to celebrate the day of San Juan mark the onset of summer with all its flamenco and cultural festivals including the Potaje Gitano Flamenco Festival, in Utrera, and the Joaquín el de la Paula Festival in Alcalá de Guadaíra, Castilblanco de los Arroyos hosts one of the province´s most unusual celebrations in July, the Water Festival. Last but not least, there are numerous bullfighting fiestas which take place all over the province.
Sevillian cuisine is essentially based on the Mediterranean diet: excellent olive oils such as those with the Aceite de Estepa Denomination of Origin; traditional musts and wines matured using the traditional crianza method or ageing processes, such as those produced in the Aljarafe area or those known as Vinos de la Tierra which are typical of Los Palacios or the Sierra Norte; a great variety of fruit and fresh vegetables; rice grown in the marshlands; honey; fresh fish from the nearby coast; poultry and game; cured pork products. Another important element on every table is the bread which has traditionally been baked in places like Alcalá de Guadaíra, Las Cabezas de San Juan and El Cuervo for generation after generation.
The list of recipes is long and varied and there is no better way to sample it than to go for tapas, an activity which is extremely popular throughout the province. Mantecados, polvorones, pestiños, gañotes, rosas or roscos are just some of Seville´s delicious confectionery products, and finally, we mustn´t forget the famous anises and liqueurs of the Sierra Norte.
Sevilla Province Nature and Active Tourism
There are a considerable number of interesting protected areas in the Sevilla province, offering marvelous scenery and a whole range of outdoor activities. Of particular note for their flora and fauna are the Sierra Norte and Doñana nature parks, the former the largest protected area in the province with lush wooded hillsides where the wild bulls graze, and the latter, a unique marshland area with numerous bird species which is part of the Doñana National Park, an extremely important nature reserve which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site.
The province contains a large number of other natural areas which are well worth a visit. To mention just a few: the wetlands of Lantejuela, Utrera, Lebrija-Las Cabezas, and El Gosque, in Martín de la Jara; the Cordobilla and Malpasillo reservoirs, in Badolatosa; the Peñón de Zaframagón crag with its colony of Griffon Vultures, in Coripe; the Brazo del Este, Cañada de los Pájaros, and Dehesa de Abajo in Puebla del Río; the Cascadas del Huesna and Cerro del Hierro, in San Nicolás del Puerto; and the Green Corridor of the Guadiamar.
Apart from their natural characteristics, many of these areas are ideal for practicing a whole range of outdoor pursuits including walking, horse riding, climbing, rowing, fishing, hunting, aerial sports. Another sport which is rapidly growing in importance is golf, and there are a number of modern courses with all the necessary infrastructures and facilities. Despite Seville being an inland province it is also possible to enjoy boating or water sports thanks to marinas like that of Gelves. Theme parks such as Isla Mágica or animal reserves such as that of El Castillo de las Guardas, are just two more of the innumerable leisure opportunities the province has to offer.
Sevilla Province Routes
The Campiña Route
The Campiña, the largest section of the province, is notable for its monumental architecture, a testimony of its rich history. This is combined with attractive open countryside, a host of fiestas and traditions, and a wealth of gastronomic delights, including the famous mantecados from Estepa. The Campiña offers tow tourist routes of special interest: the Artealia Roman Bética routes. Archaeological remains, fortresses, minarets, churches, cathedrals, universities, convents, and baroque facades are all to be found in its towns and villages: Alcalá de Guadaíra, Arahal, Cañada Rosal, Carmona, Écija, El Rubio, El Viso del Alcor, Estepa, Fuentes de Andalucía, La Campana, Lantejuela, La Luisiana, La Puebla de Cazalla, Los Molares, Mairena del Alcor, Marchena, Osuna, Paradas and Utrera.
The Silver Road Route
To the north west of th province is the Vía de la Plata, an area of transition between the valleys of the Guadalquivir and the Guadiamar rivers and the Sierra Morena. An area with deeply rooted mining, farming, and livestock rearing traditions, it is notable for its diversity of landscapes, with open farmland, the meadows where the wild bulls are bred, and the mountains with their rich hunting reserves. Its white villages are: Aznalcóllar, Castilblanco de los Arroyos, El Castillo de las Guardas, El Garrobo, El Madroño, El Ronquillo, Gerena and Guillena.
The Sierra Sur Route
Algámitas, Aguadulce, Badolatosa, Casariche, Coripe, El Coronil, El Saucejo, Gilena, Herrera, La Roda de Andalucía, Lora de Estepa, Los Corrales, Marinaleda, Martín de la Jara, Montellano, Morón de la Frontera, Pedrera, Pruna and Villanueva de San Juan are the attractive White villages which populate the Sierra Sur of Seville. With their roots going back to the Moorish, Roman, and Iberian cultures, they are surrounded by beautiful countryside which gradually changes from the gently undulating campiña to ever more rugged and mountainous landscapes.
There are striking unspoilt natural areas such as the Peñón de Zaframagón, with its colony of griffon vultures, and the saltwater lagoon of El Gosque. The area tempts you to follow the route of the notorious bandolero José María El Tempranillo, or walk along the Vía Verde green route, which will soon be open.
The Sierra Norte Route
Seville´s Sierra Norte reflects a perfect equilibrium between culture and nature, and its numerous attractions include its landscape of mountains and forests, its castles, its shrines, and its charming popular architecture. The central feature is the Nature Park itself which offers a whole range of outdoor activities including walking, horse riding, and climbing. Amongst the landscapes of hillsides and Mediterranean woodland, places of particular beauty include the Huesna Waterfalls, the Huéznar river, and the Cerro del Hierro, home to deer, wild boars, otters, and a whole range of bird species. The towns and villages which go to make up the area include: Alanís de la Sierra, Almadén de la Plata, Cazalla de la Sierra, Constantina, El Pedroso, El Real de la Jara, Guadalcanal, La Puebla de los Infantes, Las Navas de la Concepción and San Nicolás del Puerto.
The Aljarafe Route
Derived from the Arabic Word for “high lands”, the Aljarafe, to the west of the city of Seville, is a landscape of gently sloping hillsides with vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees, which have given it a huge range of gastronomic delights. It is also an area which is rich in culture, tradition, history, and art.
The megalithic burial sites of La Pastora, Matarrubillas and Ontiveros, go back to the Copper Age, whereas the Romans left their ample legacy in Itálica, and the Moorish period is still visible in porticos, windows, plinths, and tiles, and in the shrines and churches which can be seen in most of the villages of the area: Albaida del Aljarafe, Almensilla, Benacazón, Bollullos de la Mitación, Bormujos, Camas, Carrión de los Céspedes, Castilleja de Guzmán, Castilleja de la Cuesta, Castilleja del Campo, Espartinas, Gines, Huévar del Aljarafe, Mairena del Aljarafe, Olivares, Palomares del Río, Salteras, San Juan de Aznalfarache, Sanlúcar la Mayor, Santiponce, Tomares, Umbrete, Valencina de la Concepción and Villanueva del Ariscal.
Other places of great architectural interest include the Palace of Hernán Cortés and the residence of the Count Duke of Olivares.
The Gudalquivir Doñana Route
This area which accompanies the River Guadalquivir as it passes through the Sevilla province can be divided into three sections: the Vega (floodplain), which welcomes the river as it leaves the province of Cordoba; Doñana in the south west; and the Lower Gudalquivir to the south, which bids farewell to the river as it reaches the sea. The tributaries in the Vega are also the site of a number of archaeological remains and they offer a whole range of outdoor activities.
The Doñana area is a strikingly different marshland eco-system and the nature reserve has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. The landscape of the Lower Guadalquivir is notable por its rice fields and there are also a number of haciendas where the famous Andalusian horse is bred. The main villages and towns include Alcalá del Río, Alcolea del Río, Aznalcázar, Brenes, Burguillos, Cantillana, Coria del Río, Dos Hermanas, El Cuervo, Gelves, Isla Mayor, La Algaba, La Rinconada, Las Cabezas de San Juan, Lebrija, Lora del Río, Los Palacios, Peñaflor, Pilas, Puebla del Río, Tocina, Villanueva del Río y Minas, Villaverde del Río and Villamanrique de la Condesa.