Walls, Gates and Towers

In exploring Seville, you will often come across the terms “The Old Centre” or “Casco Antiguo”, referring to the area inside the city walls, which generally ran just inside what is now the inner ring road.

The first walls were built by the Carthaginians of wood and mud, but it was the Romans under Julius Caesar who built the first stone walls. These were several times destroyed and rebuilt, until work began in 1023 on those we see today. They were finally completed in the early 13th century, including a major westward extension in the 12th century to include the area around the new Grand Mosque (now the Cathedral). The wall was more than 6km long, with 13 gates, 6 postigos (small gates that were not considered as main entrances to the city) and 166 towers. Most of the walls were destroyed in the middle and late 19th century to allow for the expansion of the city.

The two largest remaining sections of the wall that are still standing are those that separated the Alcázar Palace from the city, which you can see in the Plaza del Triunfo and Calle Agua (Water Street, so named for the pipes inside the wall that brought water from the Roman aqueduct into the Alcázar). The Gold and Silver towers, and the Tower of Abd-al-Aziz can also be seen in this southern part of the city.

In the north of the city is the longest surviving piece, between the Macarena Gate (rebuilt in the 18th century), and the Córdoba Gate. This is the best place to see how the walls might have looked to anyone approaching the city.

Also still surviving are the Postigo del Aceite, and the walls around the Jardines del Valle, near the Puerte del Osario, as well as a number of fragments where the walls were incorporated into various buildings around the city. Some of these were only discovered when the buildings were renovated. The names of many of the gates still survive, however, such as the Puerta Arenal, Puerta Carmona and Puerta de la Carne.

Perhaps the most poignant, however, is the short section of wall that you can still see in Calle Fabiola. It’s all that’s left of the internal wall that separated the old Jewish quarter from the rest of the city.