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The bright pearl of the south

Seville, Pearl of the South. Basking in temperate spring sunshine, the ancient walls of the city almost ooze romance.

It was to this place that great treasure ships from the New World sailed after discovery of the Americas by Europeans in 1492. Huge galleons would navigate the length of the Guadalquivir river, their sailors starved of human contact after several weeks at sea, and unload their spoils at one of the most beautiful and fortunate docks in the world.

This was the city prized by the Arabs for its gentleness and beauty. However, this too was the city that after the Reconquest in 1492, expelled all its Jewish residents although many of them had converted to Christianity in order to conform to the ruthlessness of the era.

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A city of contrasts, Seville embraces the modern yet preserves the ancient ways. In the week of Semana Santa, the heady aroma of coffee and orange blossom permeates the streets. Heaving, throbbing masses of laughing, sweltering people pulsate down the narrow streets forming a human river that drags everything in its path. And yet, the night air is heavy with the scent of wild roses, fruiting oranges and expectancy.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see the city as it was in its heyday. It was then and remains today the Pearl of the South.

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