Hello! Today we are in the Plaza Nueva in Seville!
How curious to think that here in the Roman era the water of the Guadalquivir ran, from one of its arms that started from an area near the Barqueta, it crossed the Alameda de Hércules, the Bell, the Sierpes street and it was once again joined to the main channel at the height of the Arenal. Here they were found in the eighteenth century, when the modern buildings we now see were built, remains of Roman ships, anchors and foundations of wharves and piers. Also later for the construction work of the metro a Muslim ship and a Byzantine anchor were found. This area of the city was known as the Laguna de la Pajería and it was the Visigoths who later began to dry the area to expand the city and the Arabs definitely gave it a use, specifically for necropolis in the 11th century, in this time and this arm of the river stopped being navigable. Here the so-called potters’ cemetery was located at that time.
Another great change for the space came with the Christian conquest of the city after which Fernando III donated this land to the Franciscan Order that built its headquarters here, a convent of great dimensions. There were more than three hundred Franciscans and it was the monks who participated in the evangelization of America. Even today we can see remains of it in the chapel of San Onofre located right next to the tram stop and the Renaissance arch (next to City Hall) that gives access to the Plaza de San Francisco. There is a popular saying with this arquillo that says that if you cross it you will never get married. All the New Square was the zone of gardens and orchards of the building. Said convent was working until 1840, date from which it was robbed because of the Napoleonic sackings and the confiscation of Mendizabal.
One interesting thing is that the San Onofre Chapel is the only one in Seville that is open 24 hours a day. You can pray to the Most Holy at any time of the day thanks to the work of 600 volunteers who ensure the permanence and openness of the space. It is a mysterious place full of legends.
After the convent was destroyed, a group of Sevillian intellectuals asked the town hall for the conversion of the plot of the Casa Grande de San Francisco into a new main square for the city, with a monument in the center, as an example of the centralization of urban space very much the fashion in the urbanistic visions of the moment in the great European cities and with this objective it was being configured little by little this central space of encounter of the city. It became the most spacious and central square, the sevillanxs gathered in it to walk and you could even rent sunbeds for sunbathing. There were several flower kiosks, sweets and public urinals and even in the center a music kiosk. Its original name is that of Plaza Nueva but according to the governments and the avatars of political times it took other names such as the Republic, Libertad, Fernando III, Isabel II until it regained its genuine name.
In its current architecture we find the oldest building is the Hotel Inglaterra, built in 1870 as an inn, this is what hotels used to be called, and it lasts in the same place but it is not its original form. In front of the door of this historic accommodation you can find a taxi stand with vehicles available very useful for your trips in and out of the city.
Later, in the 20th century, the big companies of the time wanted to be present in the new fashionable public space of the city and new large and very demonstrative buildings were added such as the Teléfonica headquarters of regionalist style, built by Juan de Talavera, criticized by the Academy of Fine Arts of Seville for the similarity of its tower to the Giralda and the insurer Union and the Fenix in the corner that turns towards the Avenue of the construction.
Finally, useful information about the square today is for example that has a large bike rack to tie your bikes if you decide to walk the city center and you need a safe place to tie it and that every day of the week there are usually shows of street artists of different styles including flamenco singing and dancing. Next to the Plaza Nueva is the Arenal neighborhood with many options for tapas and enjoy the typical atmosphere of the bars of Seville. We leave a video of the street artists of Plaza Nueva to give you an idea. Until our next article! ;)
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