Triana and La Cartuja in Seville

From the essence of Seville to the footprint of the Expo

Crossing the Guadalquivir is Triana, the district with the purest essence. For the people of Triana, Seville is a district of Triana. In this same bank is the Cartuja and several buildings built on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of 1992.

The Triana district is known for its people and its festival atmosphere throughout the year. Betis Street -on the banks of the Guadalquivir River- and San Jacinto Street are well known for the “grace” of the locals; a few minutes away by car is the interesting La Cartuja Monastery and its Museum of Contemporary Art.

Brief history of Triana and La Cartuja in Seville

Triana has traditionally been a neighbourhood of sailors, workers, potters and industrialists, made famous by its bullfighters, singers and flamenco dancers. For centuries it had an important presence of the gypsy or Romani people.

Triana: founded by a goddess

According to the Triana people, Astarté, goddess of the stars and great mother of nature and fertility, would have founded Triana when she arrived in the area fleeing from Hercules. Remains of the Romans have been found. Its greater population development would have taken place at Muslim time, organizing the quarter around Gabir’s Castle and that kept this point of passage in the way to Huelva and the commercial port.

For this reason, in 1248, when the city was besieged, Ferdinand III of Castile destroyed the castle and the bridge of boats, which was built on powerful chains. After the Castilian conquest, the castle was handed over to the Aragonese Order of St. George’s Cavalry, which gave it its name from then on and kept it until 1280; it was then converted into the first Christian parish and, in 1481, into the seat of the Court of the Inquisition.

The river

The proximity to the river led to numerous floods, especially severe in 1435, 1440, 1545 and 1554. Some tiles indicate the height at which the water reached certain streets.

In the 16th century there was another suburb in the interior of Triana, Portugalete, formed by a colony of Portuguese emigrants attracted by trade with the Americas. For a time it belonged to the Count-Duke of Olivares, in his failed attempt to take over the properties of the Seville town hall.

Triana

View of the San Telmo Bridge and the old Carmelite Convent

Present day

As for the Isla de la Cartuja area, and with the exception of the monastery that occupied it since the 15th century, it was not the object of urban expansion until the last quarter of the 20th century, especially following the construction of the fairground for the 1992 Universal Exhibition. At present, the Cartuja 93 Technology and Science Park, several University of Seville centres and the Isla Mágica Theme Park are located there.

What to see in Triana and La Cartuja in Seville

The oldest bridge in Spain

Our tour visiting the western bank of Seville begins at the Isabel II Bridge, better known as the Triana Bridge, one of the many bridges that join both banks of the city. Originally there was a bridge of boats ordered to be built by the Almohad king Abu Yakub ben Yusuf in 1217. In 1857 the powerful iron structure was built and it is still the oldest iron bridge in Spain. At its head is the Capillita del Carmen (El Mechero), designed by the Sevillian architect Aníbal González.

Triana

Triana Bridge

Plaza del Altozano

As we cross it, we arrive at the Plaza del Altozano, a sensual and bustling entrance to the popular Triana district. Very close by is the Triana Market, set up on the site occupied until 1823 by the old Gabir (and later San Jorge) castle, which was the seat of the Inquisition until 1785. For this reason, its basements house the Museum of the Inquisition, where we can see some of the methods used by those who did not agree to confess. Also in this same square you can see the Santa Ana Pharmacy, founded in 1841, which has preserved its old style.

On the other side of the market is Callao (which houses the Peña Trianera, founded in 1932) and Castilla Street, one of the main streets in the district, begins. On the site of an old mosque is the Church of Nuestra Señora de la O (1697-1702), headquarters of the Hermandad de la O. The temple has a rectangular floor plan, is formed by three naves of equal height and a tripartite head, presbytery and choir at the feet. The image of the Virgen de la O, a 1937 carving by Castillo Lastrucci, is venerated in its dressing room. Other fundamental images are the Nazareno de la O, which the villagers call El Jorobadito, and the group of San Joaquín and Santa Ana with the Virgin, both by Pedro Roldán.

El Cachorro

Calle Castilla also has some of the old corrals that made Triana famous, such as the one at number 16. It also has a good number of taverns where, if the time is right, you can try the new must that comes from the Aljarafe. And at the end of the road rises the Chapel of El Patrocinio, headquarters of the Hermandad del Cachorro, a temple formed by a chapel of the 18th century (with a single nave with presbytery and high choir at the feet covered with a half-barrel vault) and another of the 20th century, also with a nave with presbytery, transept and choir at the feet with a half-barrel vault; The interior houses the famous Christ of the Expiration or El Cachorro (1682), so called because it was inspired by the face of a gypsy from Seville known as “El Cachorro” who died in the arms of the sculptor, serving as a model for the artist to perfectly show the baroque expressiveness and pathos in the figure of the exhaling Christ.

Triana

Capillita del Carmen

Many religious places

From here we can retrace our steps along Alfarería Street, where many of the pottery shops of Triana are located, to reach San Jacinto Street, one of the main arteries of the district. Here we find the Chapel of La Estrella, headquarters of the brotherhood of the same name where Our Father Jesus de las Penas is venerated; its peculiar plant is adapted to the conditions of the land, with a rectangular nave inscribed in a polygonal plant, which takes advantage of the holes to open side chapels. There we also find the Church of San Jacinto (18th century) with a rectangular floor plan with three naves, a transept and a dome on pendentives supported by Solomonic columns.

Very close by we find the Convent of Las Mínimas, located in Pagés del Corro Street, whose layout corresponds to the famous Cava, a picturesque Romanesque place mentioned by Romantic travellers who passed through Seville in the mid-19th century.

The Church of Santa Ana, the “Cathedral of Triana”, is the oldest in the neighbourhood, as it was ordered to be built by Alfonso X, the Wise, in 1280. Of Gothic style and Cistercian flavour, it is formed by three naves covered with groin vaults, three chapels with a polygonal base at the head, a choir and side chapels. Its square tower stands out, with a Mudejar first body and two more bodies finished off by a Baroque spire, very decorated and with numerous pinnacles on the balustrades. The doors, especially those of the Gospel nave, are also very decorated. In its interior it treasures a magnificent plateresque altarpiece, which houses the image of Santa Ana and the Virgin and fifteen panels painted by Pedro de Campaña.

Triana

Church of Santa Ana. | Wikimedia

Very close by, in the long, white Calle Pureza, is the Universidad de Mareantes or Casa de las Columnas, one of the neighbourhood’s unique civil buildings. Also the Chapel of Los Marineros, where one of the most loved virgins of Seville is venerated: the Esperanza de Triana. It is a beautiful baroque image by an unknown author. Patron saint of the sailors (originally, when it was founded in 1418, patron saint of potters), its penitence station to the cathedral is one of the most important of the famous Madrugá (night of Thursday to Good Friday).

From Betis Street to the banks of the Guadalquivir you can enjoy optimal views of Seville. At the end is the Plaza de Cuba, which gives natural entrance to the modern neighborhood of Remedios, open on the former garden of a convent of Carmelite of which only the church remains, now used as an interesting and colorful Museum of Carriages. From here we can access the San Telmo Bridge (1925), which we can cross to the right bank of the river. This bridge was a drawbridge until 1963.

Isla de la Cartuja

If we prefer to continue along this bank of the Guadalquivir we will have to move in some means of transport in a northern direction, towards the so-called Isla de la Cartuja, a small river island situated between two arms of the Guadalquivir River (one of which, the east, has been covered and converted into a dock of the Guadalquivir) where several of the buildings of the 1992 Universal Exhibition are preserved, such as the Navigation Pavilion, Spain Pavilion, Pavilion of the Future, Pavilion of the Cross of the Field or the Pavilion of the C. O.I, as well as the hanging structure of the Barqueta Bridge. Here you will find the Isla Mágica Theme Park, dedicated mainly to American Seville, where water plays a fundamental role.

The main historical-artistic attraction of this northern area is the Cartuja de Santa Maria de las Cuevas, founded in 1400 under the auspices of the archbishopric. It sits on land that was used in the Almohad period (12th century) to extract the clays, which would later be used by the potters of Triana, which is why many caves were formed. In one of them, the Virgin of the Caves was discovered after the Christian conquest, which gave rise to a Franciscan hermitage and the name of the Carthusian monastery founded a few centuries later.

Triana

Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas, La Cartuja

Its proximity to the port facilitated the intervention of the Carthusians in the maritime business, making it the richest convent in all of Spain, being linked to the same characters such as Christopher Columbus (who resided and was buried here in the first instance), Santa Teresa de Jesus or the Count-Duke of Olivares, who took ownership of the complex for ten years. After the disentailment of 1836 the religious had to abandon it and it passed into the hands of the potter Charles Pickman, who set up a ceramic factory there, of the famous brand of La Cartuja de Sevilla.

This company operated until the 1980s, when it moved and the area was declared a monumental area. It is currently occupied by the Andalusian Centre for Contemporary Art, which has an important collection of the most important contemporary artists in Andalusia, as well as an important library specialising in museography. You can also visit the different rooms of the old monastery, such as the Mudejar remains of the cloister, the church and the Gothic chapter house and the cell of the prior, a Renaissance one. As for the works that the Cartuja treasured, a large part can be seen today in the Museum of Fine Arts in Seville.

Must see

Triana
Cartuja de Santa María de las Cuevas
Triana Bridge

Useful information

Coordinates

37° 23′ 0″ N, 5° 59′ 0″ W

Distances

Málaga 219 km, Córdoba 139 km, Huelva 93 km, Cádiz 123, Madrid 541 km

Parking

Paid parking in Plaza del Altozano and Plaza de Cuba. Next to the Cartuja: Zona Sur car parks, next to the Av. del Cristo de la Expiación

Elevation

20 m

Inhabitants

702 355 (2012)

Holy Week (of International Tourist Interest), April Fair (of International Tourist Interest), San Fernando (30 May), Corpus Christi, Santiago and Santa Ana Sails (25 and 26 July), Festivity of the Immaculate Conception (8 December)

Feria de Abril (International Tourist Interest), Las Cruces de Mayo (May), Romería del Rocío (Easter); Velá de Santiago and Santa Ana (25 and 26 July), Feria de San Miguel (livestock fair, in September)

Pottery workshops and shops on Antillano Campos, San Jorge and Alfarería streets


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