Visit the Santa Cruz district, the old town in Seville? All about the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a district of Sevilla. The attractions of this Jewish quarter and the historic center of Seville in Andalusia.
Barrio Santa Cruz: the Jewish quarter of Seville
The Barrio de Santa Cruz is the former Jewish quarter of Seville. Located in this old quarter are some important sights, such as the Alcazar Palace and the nearby Giralda Tower of the Cathedral. The neighbourhood is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, where you can wander around or enjoy one of the many (touristy) restaurants or attractive squares. Nowadays, this district and old town, with its many white houses, is the tourist centre of Seville.
A long time ago, Seville had the largest Jewish community in Spain. When Ferdinand III of Castile conquered the city from the Almohads in 1248, he handed over this district to the Jews. In this district, they could live with relative freedom. Things went sour during the 14th century. There was a period in which the Jewish people were driven out or even killed if they did not convert to Christianity. After all Jews were driven out of the city in 1492, they left this beautiful neighbourhood forlorn.
Would you like to learn more about the Jewish history of the Santa Cruz district? Then take a guided tour through the Jewish Quarter and discover the most beautiful places of Barrio de Santa Cruz.
Places to visit in the old town 'Santa Cruz'
Puerta del León
The Puerta del León, or Lion's Gate, is one of the entrances to the Alcázar of Seville and part of the original wall that surrounded Barrio de Santa Cruz. The Puerta del León serves as the main entrances for visitors of the Real Alcazar. The gate is named after the lion figure sculpted on its keystone. The lion is a symbol often associated with royalty and strength, fitting for an entrance to a palace. Upon passing through the gate, visitors enter into the Patio de León. This courtyard serves as a central hub within the palace complex, connecting various rooms and courtyards.
Real Alcazar - The royal palace of Seville
The royal palace of Seville is the landmark of Seville. The name 'Alcazar' means castle, and the architectural style is a mix between Moorish and Christian cultural influences. More info for visiting the 'Real Alcazar'
Important: The Royal Alcazar of Seville has a maximum capacity of 750 visitors. Waiting times during the high season can be extremely long. Full = full. It's always recommended to book tickets online!
Plaza Patio de Banderas
It's a spacious square or courtyard with a name that translates to 'Flags Courtyard'. The name can be associated with the banners or flags that were once displayed here during royal ceremonies and events. The Patio de Banderas is surrounded by various historic buildings, including the Archbishop's Palace. This square offers stunning views of the Giralda tower. The best way to enter the historic Jewish Quarter is to pass this square and take the small alley towards 'La Juderia'.
Plaza Doña Elvira
Plaza Doña Elvira is the most charming square in the historic Santa Cruz neighborhood of Seville. The square is adorned with orange trees, a fountain and the restaurants and bars a pleasant spot to enjoy a meal or a drink.
Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
The Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes was founded in the 17th century as a residence for elderly and infirm priests. The hospital was commissioned by Justino de Neve and designed by the renowned Baroque architect Leonardo de Figueroa. The hospital complex includes a church, known as the Church of Los Venerables, which features notable Baroque architecture and artwork. The church is particularly famous for its elaborate altarpiece, created by the sculptor Pedro Roldán, and paintings by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (more info and tickets).
More squares and alleys
Santa Cruz is filled with narrow streets, historic squares, and charming corners. Other important squares are Plaza de los Venerables (next to Hospital de los Venerables) and Plaza de Santa Cruz with a memorial cross (see photo). Callejón del Agua, or the Water Alley, is a narrow street known for its quaint charm and also Calle Cruces is an important alley.
Jardines de Murillo
At the edge of the neighborhood is the park 'Jardines de Murillo'. Murillo was a Spanish painter of the 17th century. The gardens are situated next to the walls of the Real Alcázar, the royal palace of Seville, and were created in the early 20th century and were initially designed in a neoclassical style. In the photo you can see the monument in honor of Christoffel Columbus.
Archivo General de Indias
The Archivo General de Indias dates from the end of the 16th century. It first served as a trading house, but in 1785, Charles III decided to establish the Indies archives here. You can view the exhibition on the first floor for free and get an impression of the beautiful building.
Visit a Flamenco show
You can also admire a flamenco show in a 'tablao' at three places in the Jewish quarter. The best place is in Casa de la Guitarra (more info and tickets). In addition to the flamenco show, Casa de la Guitarra also features a large collection of old classical guitars by José Luis Postigo.
Just outside Barrio de Santa Cruz
Cathedral of Seville & La Giralda
The cathedral is located just outside the Jewish quarter. Visit this impressive Cathedral of Seville with the old Giralda Tower, which was originally part of the first mosque. The Seville cathedral has long queues, so it's always recommended to book tickets online.
Plaza de Cabildo
Tucked away near the cathedral is a beautiful semi-circular square. This is a lovely, quiet square, except on Sundays when there is a collectors' market.
Casa de Salinas
The Casa de Salinas is a 16th-century Andalusian private palace. The mansion is characterized by its Mudéjar and Renaissance architectural elements, reflecting the styles prevalent during the period. The Salinas family, who owned the house, played a prominent role in the cultural and economic life of Seville, and the house reflects their social status and taste. Casa de Salinas can only be visited with guided tours (more info and tickets).
Where is the Seville historic district?
More tourist attractions near Seville old town: