La Macarena is a popular neighborhood of Seville. The neighborhood is best known as being home to the Virgen de la Macarena whose wooden statue dates from the 16th century and can be found in the Basilica. We stayed in this area at the Hotel Melia Macarena.
Besides the Basilica de la Macarena, there are a number of other points of interest in this traditional neighborhood. The largest surviving portion of the medieval city walls, built largely by the ruling Arabs prior to the city's reconquest in the 13th century, spans from the Basilica (Puerta de la Macarena) to the Puerta de Cordob.
This impressive, well-preserved 400-metre section in Macarena, is near the Andalucian parliament building. These are the remains of the city walls, or murallas, dating from the 12th century. It is said that Seville was once the most strongly fortified city in Europe.
It was the Romans, probably under Julius Caesar, who constructed the first city defences. But the Almoravids, Moors who ruled Andalucia in the 11th and 12th centuries, were responsible for the simple but effective 6km-long walls. They were designed to defend the city against both enemy attacks and frequent floods from the river Guadalquivir.
The murallas had numerous watchtowers and various gates, with a sentry path along the middle. In the 1860s however, the great walls were razed to allow municipal growth and development. Today only three gates remain: Puerta de Córdoba, Puerta Macarena and Postigo del Aceite, while towers you can see include the Torre de Oro (Golden Tower), by the river. The Macarena Gate and church are shown in one of the photographs.
Puerta de Córdoba is a typical Moorish horseshoe arch. St Hermenegildo was martyred there in 578 and his church is behind the gate. Puerta Macarena, in front of the church of La Macarena, dates from the 2nd century AD. It was rebuilt after the Lisbon earthquake in the 18th century. Postigo del Aceite was where oil and fat entered the city. It was built in 1107 and reformed in 1573.
The Parliament of Andalusia is found in the modern part of the Macarena, although like a number of structures it predates the 20th Century by many centuries. The pathway leading to the building is lined with palm trees and has a real tropical feel. The actual Parliament building was built in 1546 and up until 1972 it was a grand hospital (El Hospital de las Cinco Llagas). The Andalusian parliament (one of four regional legislatures in Spain) first met here in 1992. Further down the Ronda Historica, which is the broad thoroughfare that circles the enormous historic center of Seville is the Convento de los Capuchinos.