Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 02:59 pm

(By Natalia Rosa)

Celebrating International Day of the Flamenco in its sizzling Spanish home…

The girl in the lemon-yellow dress was exquisite. Her olive skin and jet-black hair shone under the lights of Seville’s elegant El Palacio Andaluz.

We sat transfixed as she twirled, clapped and stomped her way in the characteristic Sevillana flamenco style, bringing a spark of brilliant colour to the dark stage.

We had entered the tablao flamenco not knowing how the duende (soul of flamenco) would affect us. Glancing at the faces of our fellow travellers, it was clear that this fiery soul-stirring dance had had a similarly spellbinding effect on them.

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Flamenco became popular at the turn of the 19th century in Andalucia – its wailing sounds rising above the crowded barrios inhabited by working-class Sevillaños who would lament about their struggles through song.

Behind the rhythmic palmas and staccato sounds of the zapateado, singers recount poignant stories of anguish and lost love to the characteristic trill of the flamenco guitar, willing the ruffled skirts of the beautiful dancers to flick this way and that, much like the seductive sweep of the tail of a cat on the prowl.

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Today, Seville stands at the vanguard of Spain’s flamenco culture, which UNESCO has recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage; the day of its investiture fittingly declared International Day of the Flamenco (16 November).

Seville was unquestionably one of the most mesmerising highlights along our journey

And it is in the city’s famous tablaos that guests can experience it first hand, delving into the heart of Andalucia with every click of a castanet, colourful swirl of a fringed shawl and exchange of white and red roses symbolising affection and acceptance or unrequired love.

Dinner & dance

The night taken care of with dinner and a dazzling display of passion and dance, rest assured that, although you’re leaving the best for last on your 24-hour encounter with Seville, this is one destination that is magical morning, noon and night.

Seville was unquestionably one of the most mesmerising highlights along our journey with Trafalgar through Spain, Portugal and Morocco, which also included visits to Madrid, Granada, Toledo, Lisbon and Marrakesh.

Authentic experiences in Seville!

Short on time, but keen to see as much as possible – like most South Africans – a guided holiday with Trafalgar took care of all our planning, so we could focus on connecting with the people, places and experiences in an effortless, authentic and fun way.

So, in addition to the poignant encounter with the dancers of El Palacio Andaluz, we were grateful to meet Trafalgar’s Local Specialist and Sevillaño, Sr. Isidro, who provided a brief, but engaging and thorough introduction to this Spanish city renowned for its zesty orange scents, scorching summers and rather unusual Semana Santa celebrations.

Isidro’s top 5 things to see and do in Seville:

1.    Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral

The capital of Andalucia, Seville holds the distinction of being home to the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, a UNESCO-listed 15th-century structure whose central nave rises some 42 metres. Spanning over 11 00 square metres, the cathedral houses 80 side chapels and is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, who sailed from this very river port for the New World so many centuries ago.

 

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Seville is just insanely beautiful from every angle 😍❤️🇪🇸 #sevillecathedral #seville #spain #angeliwanders

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2.    La Giralda

For some of the best views of the city, consider climbing up the Giralda Tower adjacent to the Seville Cathedral. This minaret tower, originally intended as part of the central mosque of Seville, began its construction at the end of the 12th century. Sporting 24 bells and rising up 100 metres above the Sevillaño streets, La Giralda blends different architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance.

 

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El amor existe ❤️ #erasmusclubsevilla #erasmuslife #landscape #sevilla #giralda

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3.    Plaza de España

You would never guess from the unassuming, understated entrance of Plaza de España what lies beyond its walls. Like something out of Renaissance times, although it was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, this semi-circular building honours the history of Spain – its people and kingdoms cover the centuries. Along with this impressive building, the adjacent Parque Maria Luisa is dotted with pavilions purpose-built for Expo 29. Isidro reveals that all the trees in the park hail from other parts of the world.

 

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#sevilla #plazadeespaña #plazadeespañasevilla #spain🇪🇸 #arquitectura

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#pic #plazadeespaña #sevilla #travellaroundspain #bestplace #amazingplace #stunningplace #mytrip #andalucíatour #bestcitiesofeurope

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4.    Alcázar

We have King Pedro the Cruel to thank for gifting Seville with one of the world’s most beautiful Alcázars. This enchanting 14th-century palace complex was the official winter residence of Spain’s royalty and has witnessed key moments in Spanish history. Built on the site of a Muslim fortress, the palace is an exquisite example of Mudéjar architecture and is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. A particular highlight is the room where Christopher Columbus’s journey to the Americas was planned.

 

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Real Alcazar, una meraviglia. #sevilla 🇪🇸 🌍

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5.    Jewish Quarter

Otherwise known as Barrio Santa Cruz, the Jewish Quarter surrounds the Cathedral and its labyrinthine streets are filled with curio stores and restaurants, so it’s the ideal place for some shopping and lunch. Ironically, more often than not you can expect pork dishes to be on the menu in a variety of forms, from Serranito sandwiches to Carillada de Cerdo.

 

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🇧🇷 Eu sempre gostei de conhecer cidades pequenas, quando morava ai no Brasil meu passeios favoritos eram para cidades de interior. E aqui na Espanha não é diferente, amo conhecer cada cidadezinha de por aqui. Parece que tenho uma conexão especial com essas ruas estreitas,essas casas coloridas com plantas na porta, mesas e cadeiras do lado de fora… esse ambiente que me enche de paz e vontade de fotografar tudo!! Talvez pode parecer estranho mas cada vez que vou para alguma dessas cidadezinhas meu sonho é poder morar nelas por pelo menos um mês cada uma e vivenciar o dia a dia do lugar, conhecer os moradores, ir no mercado, tomar café na padaria local e etc… É um sonho que ainda pretendo realizar 🙏 Vocês são mais de cidades de interior ou preferem cidades grandes? . . 🇪🇸 Siempre me ha gustado conocer ciudades pequeñas, cuando vivía en Brasil mis paseos favoritos eran para ciudades de interior. Y aquí en España no es diferente, amo conocer cada pueblo de aquí. Parece que tengo una conexión especial con esas calles estrechas, esas casas coloridas con plantas en la puerta, mesas y sillas en el exterior … ese ambiente que me llena de paz y ganas de fotografiar todo!!

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Barrio de Santa Cruz, Sevilla 🌺💃🏽✨

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Glorious #sunnydays in #alicante #oldtown #barriosantacruz #colourful houses from #medievaltimes #spain

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Helpful tips for your visit to Seville

  • Queues to visit the Alcázar palace can be long. If you’re joining a Trafalgar guided holiday, your visit is included and you get priority access, so no queueing.
  • Visit the Plaza de España early morning when it’s quiet. You’ll likely be the only one around.
  • Time your visit to coincide with Seville’s Feria de Abril – one of the biggest fairs in Spain and an excuse to rub shoulders with the locals in festive surrounds.
  • Take a walk to the unusual Metropol Parasol, or las setas (the mushrooms) as the locals have taken to calling it. The largest wooden structure in the world, this city icon offers some of the city’s best sunset views.
  • For beautiful local crafts, visit El Postigo on Calle Arfe. This is a traditional centre which promotes and develops Sevillaño handcrafts. The quality and diversity of crafts available makes it a great shopping stop if you’re looking for something authentic to take home.