Insight News

Feb 12th

Dateline Spain: Places to visit

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w-photo3SEVILLE, SPAIN - Hello Insight Readers! Hope autumn is treating you well, it is still a scorching 90 degrees over here in beautiful Seville. These past few weeks I have been spending part of my time in a classroom (three hours a day, five days a week to be exact) reviewing the ever so important grammar rules of the Spanish language.

Afterwards, I have had the opportunity to visit culturally rich places around the city of Seville. While I would love to give you some grammatical insights, I think it is more important to share a little of Spain's history with you this week.

The first place I would like to feature is the Alcázar Real (Royal Alcázar)

In 913 B.C., the Real Alcázar was constructed. Abd Al Raman III was instrumental in its construction. Alcázar is an Arabic word meaning fortress or royal palace. What makes this structure so beautiful is the mixture of different types of architecture (gothic, Islamic, renaissance, and baroque).Throughout time, many monarchs have lived in this palace and today, the Spanish royal family resides here when visiting Seville.

w-photo1I personally think this is the one of most beautiful and majestic places in Seville. I was captivated by the elegant architecture and gardens within the palace. After the tour, our guide allowed us to walk around and my group decided to go up to the 2nd floor. From the 2nd floor, you can see the beautiful garden, which is located in the center of the Alcázar.

Another gorgeous part of Spain is the Plaza de España, which is one of the most famous places in Seville. George Lucas, writer and director of the Star Wars films, shot scenes for the movie Star Wars: Attack of the Clones there and the movie Lawrence of Arabia also has scenes of the Plaza de España. This plaza is built on an arc to symbolize open arms that are welcoming other countries, specifically the United States. The Plaza de Americana is located directly across from the Plaza de España.

w-photo4Both plazas are located in María Luisa park, the park is named after Princess María Luisa because she donated half of the San Telmo palace gardens to Seville in 1893. The princess became Queen consort of Spain when she married King Charles IV.

It is said that he proposed to Maria Luisa in the park.

My third and final historical site for this week is the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower). The Torre del Oro was built between 1221 and 1222. It was said to be one of the watchtowers for the Alcázar. Some Spaniards say that royalty kept gold inside the tower, others believe the tower had the name because golden-colored tiles were on the outside of it. It currently serves as a navel museum.

w-photo2Inside there are portraits of Spanish captains and sailors along with parts of ships. While inside the museum you also have the opportunity to walk up a spiraling staircase to the top of the tower. If you can get to the top of the tower there is also an amazing view of Seville, especially the cathedral.

Attending classes conducted completely in Spanish are exciting, yet can be a bit challenging. Getting out and exploring the city and learning about its rich heritage is always a welcome break. Next time, I'll share what I've discovered in the beautiful city of Seville.

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