Sevilla: What to see in El Arenal

Bullring In El Arenal(1) Min

EL Arenal sits on the banks of the Guadalquivir river and while not so big, features some of the city’s most important sites.

Most notable are the iconic bullring and the medieval Torre del Oro – or Tower of Gold in English.

Below are the best sites the neighbourhood has to offer.

Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria

Despite its controversial reputation, bullfighting is still a big business in Sevilla.

This bullring, which seats 12,000 people, sees daily bullfights during the annual Feria de Abril and its crowd is known as being one of the most unforgiving in the world of the bloodsport.

Construction on the site began in 1749 to replace a previous rectangle ring and it is now part of a noble guild which trains horses (Real Maestranza de Caballeria).

It becomes packed during bullfighting season, from March to April.

You can book to have a tour or show up on the day but the doors are usually opened to visitors every 30 minutes, so check online before visiting.

The tour includes a fascinating museum and good souvenir shop.

Torre del Oro

This ancient military watchtower has been standing on the banks of the Guadalquivir River since 1220.

Built by Almohad, the Moorish governor of Sevilla in the 13th century, its second level was constructed by Peter of Castile in the 14th century.

Its third level had to be reconstructed following the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

You can still see it standing proudly from across the river in the Triana neighbourhood.

It was first used as an anchor point for a large chain which would have blocked the river – with the other anchor point having been destroyed in the earthquake.

It initially held off the Spanish troops in the Reconquista in 1248 before Ramon de Bonifaz broke through and was able cut off Triana from Seville proper.

The tower was restored in 2005 and contains a history and navigational museum.

Maestranza theatre 

Fans of opera or those looking for some high culture should head to this opera house.

First built in 1991 for the Expo 92, the Teatro de la Maestranza is mostly devoted to opera although there are often Zarzuelas, a Spanish style of operetta and other performances, including from the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra.

Reales Atarazanas

History buffs must head to the medieval shipyard, built between the 13th and 15th centuries – although it may have existed in different forms since the days of Julius Caesar.

Boasting a gothic style, the galleys they built played an important role in the battle for the Strait of Gibraltar and the Hundred Years’ War.

They also played an important role in the fictional world of Game of Thrones, posing as the crypts of the Red Fortress.

Filming in the 17 naves took place in 2016 and saw the iconic site featured in the fantasy series’ seventh season.

Hospital de la Caridad 

While not the biggest of barrios, El Arenal boasts some of the best examples of Baroque architecture.

Nowhere is this more true than the Hospital de la Caridad.

Located near the bullring, the charity hospital was founded in 1674 and its chapel is open to the public.

The chapel is very picturesque and features some of the best Baroque sculpturing around.


Staff Reporter

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