Il Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Seville, is undoubtedly the most picturesque corner of the city. Formed by an intertwining of narrow streets, overlooked by white houses built in typical Andalusian style, this is where you need to go to discover the true essence of the city.
The artist lived here in the XNUMXth century Bartolomè Esteban Murillo, while his contemporary, Juan de Valdes Leal, decorated theHospital de los Venerables with beautiful Baroque frescoes. To the north of the neighborhood is the rest of the historic center of Seville, with the Cathedral, the Giralda, the Archivio de Indias and the busy shopping area between Calle Sierpes, Plaza Nueva and Calle Tetuan.
The houses or patios of the Barrio de Santa Cruz are often adorned with the famous tiling: vibrant glazed ceramic tiles, a hallmark of Andalusian facades and interiors for centuries. The techniques for their realization were introduced by the Moors: the word azulejo derives from the Arabic az-zulayi, meaning small stone. In Seville this art flourished in the Triana pottery workshops, while a later method developed in Italy allowed the tiles to be painted with new designs and colors, intertwined Mudejar motifs and elegant signs.
Santa Cruz in detail
The maze of narrow streets east of the Cathedral and the Alcazar represents the More romantic Seville. In addition to the classic souvenir shops, cafes with outdoor seating and tapas bars, it is nice to get lost to discover the many picturesque alleys, hidden squares and flower-adorned patios - a delight for photography enthusiasts.
Her restored buildings, with the characteristic grilles on the windows, are a very harmonious mixture of boutique, apartments for tourists and luxury residences. The area is also worth a visit in the evening, thanks to the numerous bars and restaurants.
Mateos Gago Street
One of the largest streets in the Santa Cruz neighborhood: it leads directly onto Virgen de los Reyes Square, which is overlooked by the east side of the Cathedral. It is a street full of souvenir shops and bars. The famous Giralda Bar, whose vaults are the remains of a Moorish bath, is very popular for its tapas.
In 1890 the historian was born at number 21 Santiago Montoto de Sedas, son of the poet and chronicler Luis Montoto: on the facade, a plaque commemorates the happy event.
At the beginning of the XNUMXth century Calle Mateos Gago was a winding and narrow street, to the point of preventing the transit of vehicles and the passage of processions: for this reason, during the modernization works of Seville on the occasion of theIbero-American exhibition of 1929, works were carried out to modernize it, enlarge it and make it passable.
Hospital de los Venerables
Right in the heart of the Barrio de Santa Cruz, theHospital de los Venerables it was born as a retirement home for elderly priests. Its construction began at the end of the 600th century; today it has been restored as a cultural center since FOCUS, the Fundacion Fondo de Cultura de Sevilla.
It is built around a rose-colored patio, and the stairs lead to the upper floors which, like the old infirmary and basement, are used as galleries for exhibitions and displays. There is a guided tour of the Hospital de los Venerables church, decorated in the Baroque style, with frescoes by Juan de Valdes Leal and his son Lucas.
The statues of Saint Peter e San Ferdinando by Pedro Roldan, placed on either side of the east gate, e The apotheosis of San Ferdinando by Lucas Valdes, in the center of the high altar.
Callejon del Agua
A whitewashed lane that runs along the north wall of the Alcazar, the Callejon del Agua offers enchanting views of patios filled with lush plants and azulejos. At number 2 he stayed Washington Irving, American diplomat and writer who gave a romanticized vision of Andalusia.
It is a road about 140 meters long and very narrow, an ancient patrol path, which takes its name from the ancient pipes installed on the wall that carried water to gardens of the Real Alcazar.
Santa Cruz Square
La Santa Cruz Square, which gives its name to the entire neighborhood, is one of the most picturesque squares in the city. Here before the Church of Santa Cruz faced, erected over a pre-existing synagogue in 1391, then moved to Calle Mateos Gago following a plan for the re-urbanization of the city around 1800.
In the square, with a rectangular plan, there are numerous orange trees, and in its center there is a small raised garden, also with a rectangular plan, where the Locksmith Cross, an iron cross symbol of the square, made by Sebastian Condè in 1692. It was placed here in 1918, while it was originally located in Calle Sierpes.
At the southern end of the Barrio de Santa Cruz are the beautiful Murillo Gardens, once used as orchards and vegetable gardens in the Alcazar park. They were donated to the city of Seville in 1911 and named after the most famous painter in the city, who lived in nearby Calle Santa Teresa.
A long walk, the Catalina de Ribera Walk, pays tribute to the founder of the old Hospital de las Cinco Llagas, which today is the seat of the Andalusian Parliament.
Above the palm trees of the Jardines de Murillo there is a monument to Christopher Columbus, which includes a bronze scale reproduction of the Santa Maria, one of the caravels that brought the Genoese navigator to the New World.