The province of Seville is located in the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain.
Relatively few tourists venture beyond the capital, but its absolutely worth it if you have the time. Much of the province is cut through by the River Guadalquivir, which sets a striking scene. In fact many of the provinces villages and towns are positioned along the river.
Its capital, Seville is the largest city in Andalusia, it lies on the banks of the Gaudalquivir River and is one of the most historical centres of Europe, its undeniably the main attraction of the province itself and is brimming with historical and cultural citations. The city is the home of tapas, flamenco
and the keeper of the Archive of the Indies (the extremely valuable historical records documenting the history of the Spanish empire).
Seville is a must for travellers who want to completely immerse themselves in Andalusian culture and history. Sevillanos (natives of Seville) also know how to enjoy themselves to the max;
so combine history, culture and frivolity in one and you have Seville.
The beautiful countryside of the Sierra Morena and Sierra Norte Natural Park are fabulous locations for those who love walking, cycling and trekking holidays. Mountain villages and towns
dating back to the Copper ages, quaint inns and taverns, ancient castles and pure Andalusian culture, all make for a truly rural vacation.
The Sierra Norte Natural Park is the central section of the immense Sierra Morena, which is made up of the extensive and sparsely populated Sierra Norte Natural Park, a landscape of gently rolling hills clad in dense evergreen oaks. It’s similar to the adjacent natural parks of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche and Hornachuelos, in the neighbouring provinces of Huelva and Cordoba. Few foreign tourists make it up here, although it’s a popular weekend retreat
for Sevillanos. It is one of Andalusia’s largest protected natural areas, covering 177,484 hectares.
Villages and towns are sparse, but attractive, with a distinctively Moorish feel about their steep, cobbled streets that often lead up to a hilltop castle or Mudejar church.
The village names indicate the regions mining history, like Villanueva del Rio y Las Minas just south of the park.
Seville Province - East
Heading east of the city is a vast, undulating countryside of cereal fields and olive trees interspersed with a series of towns, such as Carmona, Ecija, Estepa and Osuna, which boast some of the province’s finest architecture outside of Seville city: distinguished Baroque townhouses and handsome Mudejar churches sit serenely century after century, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Located on a low hill overlooking a fertile plain, Carmona is a picturesque, small town with a magnificent 15th century tower built in imitation of The Giralda in Seville City. This is the first thing you see and sets an appropriate tone for the place. Not surprisingly, given its proximity, Carmona shares a similar history to Seville, and was an important Roman city, which, under the
Moors was often governed by a brother of Seville’s ruler. Later Pedro the Cruel built a palace within its castle, which he used as his royal residence in the country.
At the entrance to the town is the Puerto de Sevilla; a grand if ruinous fortified gateway, which leads to the historic old part of the city. Within the town’s walls, narrow streets meander past Mudejar churches and Renaissance mansions. Further up is the Plaza San Fernando, which although comparatively small, is dominated by splendid Moorish style buildings. Behind the square is a bustling fruit and vegetable market, typical of the markets in Andalusia, which
appropriately reflects the produce that is in season at any given time.
Close by, to the east, is Santa Maria, a stately Gothic church built over the former main mosque, whose elegant patio has been well preserved. Like many of Carmona’s churches it is topped by an evocative Mudejar tower and part of the original minaret may still be spotted.
Dominating the ridge of the town are the massive ruins of Pedro’s Palace; destroyed by an earthquake in 1504 and now taken over by a gracious if expensive Parador. To the left the town comes to an abrupt halt at the Roman Puerta de Cordoba, from where the original Cordoba road drops down to a vast plain.
The Roman Necropolis is particular noteworthy. It lies on a low hill at the opposite end of Carmona amid cypress trees and contains more than nine hundred family tombs dating from the second century BC to the fourth century AD. Enclosed in subterranean chambers hewn from the rock, the tombs are often frescoed and contain a series of niches in which many of the funeral urns remain intact. Some of the larger tombs have vestibules with stone benches for funeral banquets and several retain carved family emblems. Opposite is a partly excavated amphitheatre.
History buff or not, Carmona is a fascinating town and well worth a visit. From Carmona it’s a 28km long green route to Alcala de Guadaira, the Via Verde of the Hills, which can be reached on foot, bike or horseback.
Estepa is a small town 24 kilometres east of Osuna; it’s famous for two very different reasons. Chiefly it is renowned for the biscuits known as Polvorones and Mantecados, which are typically baked for Christmas and eaten throughout
Its other claim to fame is a grisly mass suicide 2,200 years ago, when in 208 BC Roman invaders found that the entire population of what was then a small but important outpost of Carthage, had torched their homes and killed themselves rather than be overrun by the Romans.
In 1886, queen Maria Cristina honoured the town with the title of City by Royal Disposition, a sign of its status in the region.