Seville’s history stems back to the Ancient Era, when the local peoples called it Ispal.
In it, Turdetanian, Phoenician and Tartessian influences melded, with the treasure of El Carambolo dating from this era.
In 206 BC Scipio the Great founded Italica in what is today Santiponce, where important Roman emperors such as Trajan and Hadrian were born.
It was Julio Cesar himself who founded “Colonia Julia Romula Hispalis”, Latinizing the indigenous name of “Ispal”.
Its river, which had been called “Tharsis” by the Tartessian people, and “Betsi” by the Phoenicians, became known as the Betis River during Roman times.
Christianity soon reached the city and, in the third century, the holy sisters Justa and Rufina, patronesses of the city, were martyred.
But during the 5th century the city was successively conquered by the Vandals, the Suevi, and, finally, the Visigoths, who would control it until 711, when it came under Muslim rule.
The name of the city was Arabized as “Isbiliya”, and the river Betis was renamed the Guadalquivir, which means “big river”, a designation still used today.
Isbiliya, which became the capital of one of the Peninsula’s Arab domains known as taifas, was absorbed in 1151 by the Almohad Empire.
During this era the Giralda and the Alcázar were built.
In 1220 work began on the Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) on the east bank of the Guadalquivir River.
In 1248 the Christian troops of King Fernando III “The Saint” entered the city
incorporating Seville under the Crown of Castile.
The discovery of the New World made Seville the European port of departure for the mericas, transforming it into a cosmopolitan and worldly city.
The 16th century was a time of great splendour: the Cathedral was completed, and the Ayuntamiento, or city hall; the Iglesia del Salvador, the Casa Pilatos palace and also that of Las Dueñas.
Seville’s “Golden Century” was characterised by the presence of literary giants, such as Miguel de Cervantes and Lope de Vega.
In 1649 the Plague devastated the city, and it fell into decline, though its Baroque paintings stand out, thanks to Murillo, Zurbarán and Valdés Leal.
Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was born in Seville during the Romantic era, which was followed by a revitalisation of the city, culminating in the 20th century.
Two great events, the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929, (whose most important building was the Plaza de España) and the Universal Exposition in 1992, gave the city a new urban layout, and improved infrastructures, including AVE high-speed rail access at the Santa Justa Station establishing Seville as the modern city that it is today.
But Seville is also famous for the passion of its Holy Week, the tradition and merriment of its April Fair, its tapas and fried fish and its people’s panache