Our Quest for Sun in Seville
Previously known as Hisball (Phoenicians), Hispal (Romans), Ishbiliyya (Arabs) and Sibilia (early Spanish), the 2,200+ year-old city of Seville is the fourth-largest city in Spain. And like Córdoba, it’s sunny in February.
Seville straddles the Guadalquivir River about 90 miles downstream of Córdoba. Even though it’s about 75 miles from the coast, Seville was an important port for both the Romans and, after the discovery of the Americas, for Spain. Eventually, the silting of the river and Spanish politics diminished Seville’s importance as a sea port.
The Seville Cathedral
When it was completed in the 16th century, the Seville Cathedral was the largest cathedral in the world. For the prior 1,000 years, that title belonged to the Hagia Sophia and today, according to the internet, that title belongs to Milan’s Cathedral. Of course, the internet’s answer depends on whether you’re searching for cathedrals, churches or basilicas.
Are Christopher Columbus’ remains in Seville?
Christopher Columbus’ remains are interred in a catafalque (a raised box or similar platform that is used to support the casket, coffin, or body of the deceased) in the cathedral. At least we think it’s Columbus’ remains. Although Columbus died in Spain in 1506, he wished to be buried in the New World, so in 1542 his remains were sent to Santo Domingo. Skip forward to 1898 and his remains were in Havana. When Cuba gained independence as a result of the Spanish-American War, his remains were moved to the Cathedral of Seville.
Or were they?
In 1877, a lead box bearing the inscription “Don Christopher Columbus” and containing bone fragments was discovered in the Santo Domingo cathedral. The Dominican Republic believes these are Columbus’ remains.
The Dominican Republic believes they have Columbus’s remains, just as Spain believes they do. Who is correct?
In 2003, the remains in Spain underwent a DNA test. The test results supported the claim that the remains are Columbus’. However, the Dominican Republic dismisses the results of the test, refuses to allow their remains to be tested and maintains that the remains in the Dominican Republic are the real Christopher Columbus. So we may never know.
But we do know that Ferdinand Columbus, Christopher’s second son, is buried in the cathedral.
The Plaza de España
The Plaza de España was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The exposition was a world’s fair designed to promote Spain’s culture and economic progress. Other countries built other pavilions for the expo, but Spain’s Plaza de España is the most impressive.
Eating well in Seville
We continued the culinary part of our trip with two separate food tours: a tapas tour one evening and a tour of food markets one day. As we discovered in Córdoba, it’s very easy to eat very well in Spain.
Our quest was a success: we did indeed find sun. Plus, we also found good food. We were sorry to leave but we plan to come back someday to learn more about sherry (Seville is very close to the Sherry Triangle).
Before I end this post, I’d like to share a few more shots of our time in Seville. It’s a great city; I hope you get a chance to visit someday.
(1) Vista de la catedral de Sevilla y la Giralda. 1927, Anonymous
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DOsaYphXUAIjSGu.jpg_large.jpg This work is in the public domain in the country of origin and the United States.
(2) Plaza de España in Sevilla, 1932 by Walter Mittelholzer. Source: ETH-Bibliothek, http://ba.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?records=:457530&r=1587643701779#1587643712446_1. Image is in the public domain.