The amount of sensations that the Andalusian capital rouses in the traveller is a privilege of only a few cities in the world. Few are, like were yesterday, those that do not succumb to its charms, to its hospitable southern atmosphere, the refinement of its art, architecture and urbanisme, to the depth of its history and its slight romantic air, tinged with sensual exotism. Good porch for a route dediacted to Washington Irving, who lived in the city and saw in it remnants from “A thousand and one nights”.
Seville’s roots sink into a mythical nebula three thousand years back when, according to the legend, “Hercules founded it”. Occupying a strategic situation just where the Guadalquivir opens to the ocean’s influence, in an excellent position for both overland and overseas commerce, it germinated in the first centuries of the first millenium before Christ, being part of the kingdom of Tartesos and the orbit of the phoenician colonies. Later, the carthaginian presence yielded the way to Rome. Hispalis, the old Seville, became one of the capitalsof the prosperous province of Bética, confronted to its neighbour and aristocratic rival, Italica, cradle of Trajan and Hadrian. In visighotic times it maintained its preeminence, standing out in the VIth century like one of the most active centers of european knowledge. Incorporated to the muslim dominion in the year 712, it was the ephimeral capital of the dawning state of Al-Andalus, until its transfer to Córdova. Ishbiliya, the andalusí Seville would compete with this other great city of the Guadalquivir, often revolting against its governors. Finally, the dismemberment of the Caliphate in the 11th century resulted in the splendor of Ishbiliya, under the aegis of the arab dynasty of the Abbadies who turn it into the most powerful kingdom of the andalusi Taifas. Al-Mutatid and his son Al-Mutamid, governed its apogee, fomenting an extraordinarycultural and artistic blossoming. It was already the court to which everything came, a cosmopolitan emporium right at the crossroads of seas and continents.
The Maghrebi Empires of Almoravids and Almohadslater catapulted the importance of Ishbiliya and gave it its definitive urban configuration. While the Almoravids drew up the wide perimeter of walls that would demilit, until today, its extensive historical central area, the Almohads turn it into the see of their empire in Al-Andalus. From the 12th century, seville ranked among the first cities in Europe.
The decline of the shiny muslim stage of Ishbiliya took place in 1248 when they surrendered to Fernando III. Along with Seville the lower Guadalquivir also fell. It is used then again as a princely seat, being its history and its legend specially marked by the figure of of Peter the 1st, who minted in his sevillian court a happy synthesis with the assimilation of the currents of the Hispanic Islam. Apart from advance party opposed to Granada, last muslim redoubt, Seville is also bridgehead of a route of commercial exchange with the Nazaries, the same route precisely that these pages overrun. With the discovery of America, the city approaches its zenith, the new babel where people come from all over. Golden decades that, in their decline, will lead to the romantic century and to the traditional city that delights its visitors with its customs and friendly appearance.
Writers, painters and other artists, mere travellers, were seduced en masse from begining of the XIXth century, captivated by its dream -like myths- Don Juan, Figaro, Carmen, by its people and by the spell of the streets.