Seville is one of many cities in Europe where if you search and dig a little bit, valuable treasures from ancient civilizations will come to light. Some of them have become really famous, such as the Treasure of El Carambolo. Although this jewel from the Tartessian era – manufactured between VII and V a. C. – appeared in the village of Camas, its copy is exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Seville located in the María Luisa Gardens. Because, despite what many people believe, the original one is actually kept in a bank.

The Tartessian, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Visigoth, Almoravid, Almohad and Christian remains are there, beneath our feet. We walk over them every day and we are not aware of it until some excavation is carried out. Seville has one of the largest old towns in Europe, and its passage through history does not leave anyone indifferent, not even the hectic pace of modern life in the 21st century. When you turn off your mobile, you still find time to appreciate and value what is around you.

The city walls, built for the first time by the Carthaginians as a palisade, reached a perimeter of 7.3 kilometers in Christian times. The most important section that can be seen today is in the Macarena neighborhood, opposite the Andalusian Parliament. The distance between the Puerta de la Macarena (Gate of La Macarena) and the Puerta de Córdoba (Gate of Cordoba) is around 1800 feet long and, along with some more dispersed section of the city, and the Postigo del Aceite (Gate of the Oil) the Postigo del Alcázar (Alcazar Gate), is all we can still see on the surface of the capital regarding the ancient borders. Most of it keeps an Almohad appearance. The rest of the walls – around 70%, according to the words of the architect José García-Tapial – are underground. That is, about five kilometers of wall.

Remains in Mateos Gago Street

In 1989, works carried out on the Mateos Gago Street – the former street of the Borceguineria – revealed a part of the wall that separated the Jewish neighborhood from the rest of the city. The area, which today covers a big part of Santa Cruz neighborhood, was imposed on the Sephardim by express order of Ferdinand III after the Reconquest of Seville in 1248. The neighborhood became, at its most splendid moment, the second most populated Jewish quarter in the entire Peninsula, second only to that of Toledo.

The Hebrew people took an important part in the economic, scientific and cultural development of the city, living their golden ages between the 8th and 10th centuries, together with the Arabs. There are hardly any remains of the old Jewish quarter, since the difficulties suffered by the Sephardim, with continuous persecutions and the massacre of 1391, as well as their definitive expulsion in 1492, led to the disappearance of the four synagogues that Seville had, among other places.

The limits of this district extended approximately from the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes to the current Church of San Bartolomé. To enter this isolated area, people had to go either through a small door at Mesón del Moro Street, or through Puerta de la Carne (Meat Gate). Part of the walls of the Alcazar also served as walls that protected this community. That is why in the southern part of the city a network of interior walls of the Royal Alcazar citadel converged with the limit of the Sephardic neighborhood, while in the rest of the city a much more uniform line of defense was standing.

These walls saw numerous battles, suffering the onslaught of the Vikings in the 9th century or the attack of the Christians during the siege of the city in the 13th century; back in the 10th century, they even saw how the whims of the first caliph of Córdoba, Abderramán III (Abd al-Rahman III), ended with its structure, in order to restrain the power of Seville; they witnessed the entry of such important figures as the Catholic Monarchs in their war against the Kingdom of Granada, or the emperor Charles V on his arrival in the city to marry in the Alcazar with his cousin Isabella of Portugal; At the beginning of the 19th century, they were the first to see the Napoleon’s Army, and a bit later, as happened in most of the cities of Spain, they were almost completely knocked down due to the urban reforms undertaken during the reign of Isabella II.

So, although many are hidden and we do not see them, these walls are at your feet and undoubtedly carry an important weight of the History of Seville.

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