There is no doubt that Spain’s treasures are hidden in its Southern region. Despite the beauty and magnificence the rest of the country oozes, Andalusia holds a certain kind of magic. From the sound of the flamenco heels beating against a wooden floor to mouth-watering red wine, Andalusia has an everlasting rhythm, and Seville, the capital of Southern Spain, is one of its many mesmerizing gems.
The reasons to visit Seville are endless and one quick Google Images search will show why you should experience this city of gold. Getting lost in tiny streets in the neighborhood of La Juderia, enjoying a spring walk in Maria Luisa Park, visiting the Arab baths and the famous Alcázar castle, are but a few Sevillian charms.
The city, rich in traditions and celebrations, does nothing quietly, whether that is dressing up in a beautiful polka dot dress, riding carriages and dancing Las Sevillanas in La Feria de Abril (Spring Fair) or following procession after procession of the Virgin during the Holy Week. Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a huge religious period for Spaniards and the activities last all week long. Processions from nearly every church in the city have their own Virgin statue, carried by approximately 40 men. Head towards the center of the old part of town, towards the main Cathedral, where hundreds of people gather to experience the vibrant atmosphere, marching bands and followers dressed in traditional wear, representing the religious journey people used to complete to find God.
The city prepares all year long for this period and even weeks before there is a hype in the atmosphere. Cafes and restaurants clear out their tables from the streets and locals wear their best-kept suits. Many are reduced to tears at the sight of the Virgin passing – needless to say it is an overwhelming experience filled with history, culture and respect.
As important as it is to comprehend Semana Santa’s wonder, and acknowledge its significance through the course of Spain’s history, the average traveller must be aware of the craziness they are committing to. Many complain about difficult access to the town due to the processions, as well as the strange opening hours of shops, restaurants and museums.
Visiting Seville during the Holy Week isn’t easy for tourists who simply seek to explore Seville, as many of its wonders are buried underneath the myriad of well-polished shoes, that cover every corner of the city.
Therefore, travelling to Seville during Easter is not for the faint-hearted – the Sevillian Easter tourist is a special kind of tourist, one who is familiar with the country’s traditions and ready to lose themselves (quite literally) in its glory.
Images courtesy of marcp_dmoz, hayespdx and bigmaxpower via Flickr
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