eville was the home base for the roamings throughout southern Spain. It is located in the southwestern part of Spain and is physically defined by the Guadalquivir river that splits the city into two parts. Seville is the third largest city in Spain, and at times in the past was one of the largest and most powerful cities in Europe. It is an interesting city with thousands of years of history behind it. There are modern sections of town as well as ones that go back many centuries, that have narrow winding streets, a legacy of the Moors, who once held sway in southern Spain.

While traveling around the city, on several occasions I happened across rather large excavations where nothing seemed to have been done for a long time. It turns out that, over the centuries, many parts of the city were rebuilt upon the ruins left from previous inhabitants. The area where Seville is located is on rather marshy ground next to the river. How to fill the marshes so as to build there? Well, why not throw in Roman statues and other rubble from buildings that had been torn down during the most recent conquest? Nowadays, when someone wants to put in the foundation for a new structure, the excavation almost invariably runs into items of archaeological importance, stopping the construction project dead in its tracks while people decide what to do next.

Another curiosity that one runs across is the city logo, many centuries old, which is is marked on just about everything that belongs to the municipal government. It is derived from a play on words that, when decoded, means "no me ha dejado" (you didn't leave me), originating from a time when the city remained loyal to the king when there was rebellion elsewhere.

There are many famous landmarks and places of historical interest in Seville. The single most famous one, and the city's signature landmark is the Giralda. This tower, which is now part of the city's central cathedral, was once the minaret for the Moorish mosque that used to occupy the location. It has been changed and added to many times over the years, and has even survived a moderately strong earthquake. When the Moors were driven from the area, the mosque was torn down and one of the world's largest cathedrals (and, in my opinion, one of the ugliest) was built on the spot. The Giralda now serves as the bell tower for the cathedral. It is possible to climb up via sloping ramps that wind around and around the inside of the tower and look out over the city when one gets to the top.

Another famous landmark is the Gold Tower. It was constructed as part of the fortifications for the city. Its purpose was to guard against invaders coming up the Guadalquivir river. At one time there was a very large chain that was stretched across the river from the tower to the opposite side so as to provide a protective barrier to the passage of boats any further upstream. Later, as gold was being brought back from the colonies in the New World, the gold was stored in the tower before being shipped North.

This is the entrance to the Alcazar, the royal palace/fortress built by the Moors. As with many structures in Spain that are centuries old, the original structure has been added to by subsequent occupants.

Some of the newer landmarks in Seville were built as part of the Quincentennial Expo in 1992 that celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America in 1492. As part of the exposition, several new bridges were built across the Guadalquivir, some to connect the expo fairgrounds to the rest of the city. This bridge, the Barqueta, was one of the ones built just before the Expo.

Many of the older streets do not go in a straight line from a to b. This one, named Jesus del Gran Poder (Jesus of the great power) is relatively straight. As you can see, it is cobblestoned, and if you look carefully, you will notice that the sidewalk varies in width as it passes various buildings...... apparently no fixed setback from the street several hundred years ago when many of these buildings were constructed. As the buildings go up three or four stories, and the street is often very narrow (a little more than a car width, with several feet on either side for the sidewalks), the feeling a pedestrian gets is that of walking down a masonry canyon with just a ribbon of blue sky above.