This previous weekend, after 4 long midterms, my program cohort and I took a 3 day trip to Seville and Merida! It was a great reward to say the least. At 8 am sharp on Friday, we left Granada, and upon arriving in Seville, which required a 3-hour bus ride, we visited the Seville Cathedral. The massiveness of Seville Cathedral amazed me, including its tall ceilings and intricate designs. In fact, it is the fourth largest church in the world and the largest Gothic church in the world. I have to say, though, that my favorite aspect of the cathedral is The Giralda, the bell tower of the cathedral that all visitors can access, as I had a 360, fascinating view of downtown Seville at the top. The history behind The Giralda interested me as well since we discussed it in my Development of Spanish Culture course: it is the former minaret of the mosque that existed during the Muslim rule and was converted into a bell tower after the Reconquista. Additionally, a fun fact: Christopher Columbus and his son, Diego are both buried in the cathedral.
After the cathedral visit and a collective lunch, a guide provided an informative tour along historic places in Seville that were created for the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair in 1929, which forever changed the image of Seville. Places, including the “Plaza de América” and Spain Square. I loved Spain Square and, as a matter of fact, it is my favorite place in Seville! The Spain Square, designed by Anibal Gonzalez, is a landmark example of Regionalism Architecture; the Spain Square complex is a half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge that are accessible over the moat by numerous bridges.
The next day, we travelled to Merida, an unforgettable city that offers impressive ancient ruins. We first drove by the Roman circus of Mérida, a ruined Roman circus that was used for chariot racing. Following, we alighted from the bus and first visited the “Puente Romano,” the longest of all existing Roman bridges over the Guadiana River, which is still used by pedestrians. The tour continued into downtown Mérida where we saw the Temple of Diana and ended at the Roman Theatre of Mérida and Amphitheatre of Mérida, which were both spectacular. The size of these two fascinate me and really makes me wonder how the Romans executed such theatres, considering the technology at hand. I learned that the theatre was located on the edge of the Roman city adjacent to the city walls and that the amphitheatre was inaugurated in the year 8 BC and was used for gladiatorial fights and combats.
Overall, trips like these emphasize how fortunate I am to experience a study abroad experience, which was made possible by those who supported like the one and only, FEA! And for that, I am very grateful.