Seville is the capital of Andalusia and has a population of over 700,000. Many very different cultures have figured in the history of Seville. The legacy of these cultures has grown over the centuries into the cultural, monumental and artistic heritage that can be admired in the city's streets and museums today.
The obscure origins of the city prompted legends attributing the foundation of Seville to Hercules. The Phoenicians came from across the Mediterranean, and the native population assimilated the traditions of these eastern peoples, giving rise to the mythical Tartessian culture.
In the Roman era, Julius Caesar granted the still small town of Hispalis the status of colony, naming it Iulia Romula, and conferred full Roman citizenship on the Sevillians of the time. Moslems remained for a long period from 712 to 1248 and gave the city its most universal symbol, a minaret that became known as the Giralda when a weather vane was erected on top of it.
As a Spanish city, it played a crucial role in the discovery and colonisation of America and subsequent trading with the new continent. The relationship between Seville and the New World remains strong to the present day: in the 18th century, the archive containing all the documentation relating to the New World was established in Seville; in 1929 it hosted the Ibero-American Exposition and in 1992 it was the venue for the Expo, held to commemorate the 5th centenary of the discovery of America, which contributed decisively to the extensive modernisation of the city.
The once walled historical part of the city covers an area of215 Haand encompasses various quarters. One of these is the traditional shopping area, which Sevillians simply call the Centre. Also in this quarter are cloistered convents, as well as some famous Palace-Houses, some of which have been converted into museums. Quarters located in the old part of the city include Santa Cruz and San Bartolomé, the old Jewish quarter, which is a veritable labyrinth of charming narrow streets.
On the other side of the river the best-known quarter is Triana, linked to the old part of the city by an iron bridge built in the reign of Isabel II, who gave it its name -although everyone calls it Triana Bridge-. This quarter has always been home to the city's potters, who used to use the clay from the banks of the river for their pottery.
The southern part of the city was shaped by the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. All along the Avenida de la Palmera, you can admire the impressive pavilions of Chile, the Perú, Guatemala, Argentina, etc. Finally, the neighbourhood of Nervión in the eastern part of the city has become a new, modern shopping area.