Barrio de Santa Cruz

I’m determined to get every penny’s worth out of this study abroad program, so I signed up for yet another “free” guided tour. This one was through the neighborhood named Santa Cruz, a downtown area in Sevilla with a LOT of history.

After dinosaurs ruled Sevilla, the ancient Romans took over the city. These pillars belonged to the Roman empire, and are still standing today (with the help of some support cables).  I’m sure they served a purpose at one point, but now they just stand in a nice, muddy puddle between two buildings.

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Sometime after the Romans ruled, Muslims conquered the city. And after them, Christians won the city over again. These two groups of people still both lived in the city and coexisted after this point, but did not intermingle. In fact, this neighborhood used to be an intentionally segregated ghetto.

With every strict division of people into groups comes a forbidden love story. Like a real-life Romeo and Juliet, two Sevillans were in love long ago. But the girl was Muslim, and the boy was Christian. Oh, the scandal.

One night, the Muslims were planning an attack on the Christians, and the poor girl didn’t want her lover to die in the fight. So, like a good girlfriend, she warned him of his impending doom.

But of course, he betrayed her.

He told the rest of his clan that the attack was coming, and they prepared for the fight. Needless to say, the ambush didn’t work very well. They captured (and I’m assuming they killed) some of the girl’s family members.

How tragic.

She went certifiably crazy, and when she died, she demanded that her skull be hung on this street corner. A strange request to say the least.

Don’t worry, it’s not there anymore. That’d be pretty gross. But there’s a picture on this building where her skull used to hang.

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That’s not the only dead person in a strange place though. Santa Cruz has a tomb inside of an underground parking garage!

No joke.

You walk into the parking lot, and behind a glass wall lies a super old stone casket. During construction, workers found a burial ground, so they kept one dead guy down in the parking ramp.

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Like the ones pictured here, there are crosses everywhere throughout this section of the city. When the Christians took over the rule of Sevilla, they tried to convert everyone in the city by putting crosses literally everywhere: in the streets, on buildings, on street corners, etc. I guess that’s one way to make sure your propaganda is reaching everyone.

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The last famous piece of history is the wall that used to surround Sevilla. Fragments can be found in other neighborhoods too, but here’s a section in the Santa Cruz area.

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In addition to being a beautiful neighborhood to walk through, there are many activities to do in Santa Cruz. If you want to see an authentic flamenco show, you can go to la Casa de la Guitarra, which translates to “the house of the guitar;” an accurate name considering the walls are filled with old guitars.

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But if you don’t feel like spending money on a show or one of the many restaurants around, you can entertain yourself with the beautiful sights just walking around for free.

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