|I visited Sevilla on the eve of Semana Santa,|
the subject of this tile display at the Plaza de España
I first got interested in tile art because Valencia has a tradition of it. But, in truth, many places in Europe have this tradition. Sevilla, however, is interesting and distinctive because it has really embraced it. Tiles are everywhere! As you wander through the city and its famous tourist sights, it seems like every feature of life and culture there has, at some point, in some way, been refracted through a depiction that was burnt or painted onto a tile. Much like my obsession with pomegranate iconography in Granada, I pretty quickly caught a bad case of azulejomanía.
Here, in honor of Sevilla's "Feria de Abril" which commences tonight, I share with you some images of the city, as seen through its tiles...
• Real Alcázar:
The presence and importance of the Real Alcázar, a magnificent fort built during the Moorish occupation of the city (712-1248), is clearly what inspires the long, sustained local tradition and interest in tile art. So it's a good starting point for our tile tour.
|Much like the Alhambra in Granada or the Mezquita in Córdoba, a defining|
feature of the Real Alcázar was its distinctive Moorish, in this case Mudéjar style.
|These green tiles were clearly the signature pattern for the Alcázar.|
|Okay, it's not tiles, but the ceiling of the Hall of Ambassadors is beautiful!|
|I particularly liked this blue tiled staircase!|
|The gardens were pretty magnificent...|
|... and had more tiles!|
|"Plus Ultra", Latin for "further beyond", motto of Rey Carlos V and of Spain today.|
Digression, a fun game: One of the photos above isn't actually from Sevilla, but was instead taken during my recent visit to Istanbul. Can you guess which one? It was really interesting to compare the fusion of East meets West in Sevilla (and Córdoba) with that of Istanbul
• Virgin Tile Iconography:So did you know that Spain is a Catholic country? No? Well, let me tell you… Okay, I'm clearly being facetious here, but it was pretty
• La Cartuja & Plaza de España:
Two other important stops on our tile tour are La Cartuja, which was at one point in time actually a ceramics factory, though today acts as a contemporary art exhibit space, and the renowned Plaza de España, a faux, decorative square built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.
|The only tiles you'll see at La Cartuja are in this unused entryway, |
a beautiful vestige of the factory's earlier days.
|These oven towers were mammoth and impressive,|
and a nice industrial backdrop for a contemporary art museum.
|Panoramic of the Plaza de España, which is much larger |
than I had remembered it from my previous visit
|Nice bridges with ceramic adornments!|
|Scattered throughout the regional displays were special displays|
on the cultural highlights of Sevilla.
|Even tile maps of (1928) Sevilla's landmarks and neighborhoods.|
|But the true touristy brilliance of Plaza de España are the opportunities it|
provides visitors to snap a photo with the display for their home city...
like the one for my beloved Valencia!!!
• Casa de Pilatos:
This beautiful 15th-16th century palace is like a temple to the tile gods. By this point in the journey I was completely taken by azulejomanía, and took hundreds of photos of the tiles. I'll spare you that longer photo journey and only post a select six here. Let's just say it's worth a visit!
• "Azahar" and the "other" orange city:
When I was considering possible quirky touristy photo games for Sevilla, one idea was to look for references to "azahar" that are all over the city. Azahar is the Spanish name for orange blossoms, and I quickly realized that Sevilla is as much an orange city as Valencia. There were orange trees everywhere, and the azahar was just starting to bloom. In the end I decided it didn't quite have the same catch as Granada's pomegranate iconography, but it was interesting how Sevilla really seemed to sell the azahar, whereas Valencia sells the orange fruit imagery.
|Budding orange blossoms.|
• Tiled oddities, to categorize under "Miscellaneous":
And then there were all the other tile discoveries I found, some odd, some interesting, all dutifully documented by this
clearly obsessive compulsive photographer.
|This joint had some cool tile decoration, but I was really drooling |
over its incredible collection of coffee pots!
|This tile display clearly belonged to a church whose patron saint was Grouch Marx...|
|Being the food market junky, I couldn't pass on a visit to the Mercado de Triana.|
|Nice tiled dome at the Castillo de San Jorge!|
|I stumbled upon this bizarre, awesome tile ad throwback, which, |
thanks to Delikat Essences, I now know has an interesting back history.
|"Aquí vive gente de Triana", I can just hear this said with a proud |
Sevillano accent by some Flamenco dancer!
|I especially liked the wild tiles at El Rinconcillo, the oldest restaurant in Sevilla.|
• Street art, pre-Semana Santa "pasos", and, okay, other art not really at all about tiles:
Okay, so I wasn't only looking at tiles. There were plenty of other interesting eye candy and artistic mediums of expression throughout Sevilla. Here are some other things that caught my eye...
|Speaking of eye candy, how adorable are these Semana Santa candy figurines!?!|
|This very cool shadow-like mural is apparently for a bar, Bar Antojo.|
Thanks loubylou79 for letting me know!
|I don't know if this was street art or an ad, but I loved it!|
What a great play on the Giralda and Bull!
|One of the coolest street art discoveries was learning that the Sevilla trash company|
sponsors a contest for decorating the recycling containers.
The "TODOTUYO" project by cleaning company LIPASAM... Brilliant!
Again, thank you Delikat Essences for tipping me off about it.
As I said, I arrived to Sevilla on Semana Santa Eve, and much like how the weeks leading up to Fallas one can get a sneak preview of the falla displays, this meant that I could catch a preview of the amazing religious alters that would be paraded around during the religious Easter festivities the following week.
|Mounting and polishing these altars was no small achievement.|
So I'll add my voice to the chorus of calls hailing Sevilla as a beautiful destination to visit. We had an amazing time there and I definitely recommend it, not only for the tiles!
|¡Feliz Feria de Abril!|