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Discovering Santa Cruz, Seville

Discovering Santa Cruz, Seville

Santa Cruz, the most famous neighborhood in Seville, Spain, is a place where history, culture, and charm come together. This former Jewish quarter is a labyrinth of narrow streets, hidden plazas, and beautiful architecture. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply someone who loves to wander through picturesque streets, Santa Cruz has something for everyone. Let’s take a journey through this enchanting neighborhood and discover what makes it so special.

The Rich History of Santa Cruz, Seville

Santa Cruz’s history dates back to Roman times when Seville was known as Híspalis. However, the neighborhood truly began to take shape during the Muslim rule of Spain. In 1248, King Ferdinand III of Castile reconquered Seville, and the Jewish community was confined to the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz and San Bartolomé. This area became one of the largest Jewish quarters in Spain until the Jews were expelled in 1492. Over the centuries, Santa Cruz fell into disrepair but was beautifully restored in the 20th century, preserving its historic charm.

Exploring the Streets of Santa Cruz, Seville

Walking through Santa Cruz is like stepping back in time. The narrow, winding streets are lined with whitewashed houses, colorful tiles, and blooming flowers. Here are some of the must-see spots in the neighborhood:


Plaza de Santa Cruz, Seville

The Plaza de Santa Cruz is the heart of the neighborhood. This charming square is surrounded by traditional Sevillian houses and features a beautiful iron cross known as the Cruz de la Cerrajería. The square was once the site of a synagogue, which was later replaced by a church. Today, it’s a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy the atmosphere.


Plaza de Doña Elvira

Another picturesque square, Plaza de Doña Elvira, is filled with orange trees and benches, making it a perfect place to relax. According to legend, this was the home of Doña Elvira, a character from the famous Spanish play “Don Juan Tenorio.” The square’s beauty and tranquility make it a favorite among both locals and tourists.


Calle de las Cruces

Calle de las Cruces is a quiet, hidden gem in Santa Cruz. This small square is known for its three crosses at the center, creating a simple yet charming scene. It’s a great spot to escape the crowds and experience the neighborhood’s serene side.



Historic Landmarks

Santa Cruz is home to some of Seville’s most important historic landmarks. These sites offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past and are a must-visit for anyone exploring the neighborhood.

Seville Cathedral and La Giralda

The Seville Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Built on the site of a former mosque, the cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Its bell tower, La Giralda, was originally a minaret and offers breathtaking views of the city. The cathedral is also the final resting place of Christopher Columbus.


Real Alcázar

The Real Alcázar is a royal palace that showcases a mix of Mudejár, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Originally built as a fortress for the Muslim rulers, the palace was later expanded by Christian kings. The Real Alcázar is still used by the Spanish royal family today and is famous for its beautiful gardens and intricate tilework. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for anyone visiting Santa Cruz.


Archivo de Indias

Located between the Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcázar, the Archivo de Indias houses an invaluable collection of documents related to the Spanish Empire in the Americas. This Renaissance building is a treasure trove for historians and offers a fascinating look at Spain’s colonial history. The archive’s elegant design and historical significance make it a captivating place to visit.

Culinary Delights

Santa Cruz is not just about history and architecture; it’s also a food lover’s paradise. The neighborhood is filled with tapas bars and restaurants where you can savor traditional Andalusian cuisine. Here are some top spots to try:

  • Bodega Santa Cruz (Las Columnas) Bodega Santa Cruz, known locally as Las Columnas, is a traditional tapas bar located near the cathedral. This lively spot is famous for its pringá montadito, a small sandwich with a pulled-pork style filling. The bar’s authentic atmosphere and delicious food make it a must-visit.
  • Taberna Peregil Taberna Peregil is a historic bar known for its orange wine (vino de naranja) and tasty tapas. The homely and welcoming atmosphere makes it a great place to spend an evening. Standout dishes include zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and zucchini ravioli.
  • La Azotea La Azotea is a stylish restaurant that reinvents traditional Andalusian tapas in a modern way. The menu features carefully chosen and beautifully prepared dishes, such as salmon tartare and daily specials of croquettes. It’s a chic spot to enjoy a meal in Santa Cruz.

  • Las Teresas Las Teresas is a classic tapas bar with legs of jamón hanging from the ceiling and walls covered in memorabilia from Seville’s Holy Week and bullfighting traditions. The bar boasts an extensive sherry selection and fantastic tapas, including melt-in-your-mouth ham and espinacas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas).


Hidden Gems of Santa Cruz, Seville

Santa Cruz is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These lesser-known spots offer a unique glimpse into the neighborhood’s charm.


Plaza de los Venerables

Plaza de los Venerables is a small square that can get quite busy during the day. It’s home to the old Hospital de los Venerables and several craft shops. The square’s terraces and small restaurants make it a lovely place to try Sevillian tapas.


Plaza de la Alianza

Located next to the Real Alcázar, Plaza de la Alianza offers stunning views of La Giralda Tower. This square is always full of tourists, but its beauty and proximity to major landmarks make it worth a visit.


Plaza de los Refinadores

Plaza de los Refinadores is a quiet and shady spot with circular benches around palm trees. The square features a statue of Don Juan Tenorio, the legendary womanizer, and is a peaceful place for contemplation.


Santa Cruz is a neighborhood that captures the essence of Seville. Its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture make it a must-visit for anyone exploring the city. Whether you’re wandering through its narrow streets, visiting historic landmarks, or enjoying delicious tapas, Santa Cruz offers an unforgettable experience. So, take your time to discover this enchanting neighborhood and immerse yourself in the heart of Seville.