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Sevilla province

Sevilla province

According to legend, Sevilla was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. Called Hispalis under the Romans and Isbiliya by the Moors, the high point in its history was following the discovery of America in 1492, when wealth flooded in from the "New World". For all its important monuments and fascinating history, Sevilla is universally famous for being a joyous town.

The central section of the immense Sierra Morena is made up of the extensive and sparsely populated Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Park, a landscape of gently rolling hills clad in dense evergreen oaks. It's similar to the adjacent natural parks of the Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche and Hornachuelos, in the provinces of Huelva and Cordoba respectively.

La Marisma is the name of a 'comarca' (region or area) in the south west of the province of Seville. It is made up from 4 municipal districts and other small villages.

La Vega is the name of a 'comarca' (region or area) in the north to north east of the province of Seville. It is made up from 12 municipal districts and even more small villages.

The Metropolitan Area is the name of a 'comarca' (region or area) in the centre of the province of Seville. It is made up from 3 municipal districts and other small villages.

The Tajos de Mogarejo Natural Monument consists of steep cliffs up to 30m high, which used to be a quarry. The materials from this were used in the construction of Seville cathedral. The Tajos are near the village of Montellano, on the A376 near the Cadiz provincial border.

The Chaparro de la Vega is a magnificent 13m-high holm oak, measuring 30m in diameter in its entirety and having an estimated age of 700 years. The tree provides shade during the pilgrimage of Coripe villagers for the fiesta of Coripe's patron saint, the Virgen de Fátima.

Situated in the Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Park near the village of San Nicolás del Puerto is the Cerro del Hierro (Iron Hill). As well as being a former Roman mining site, the Cerro del Hierro is noteworthy for its limestone features, among the most outstanding in Andalucia, which include chasms and gullies. Its unique microclimate means that there are some interesting plants.

Within the Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Park are these impressive waterfalls (cascadas), which are 7m tall at their highest point. The waterfalls are situated close to the source (nacimiento) of the Huesna river, the biggest watercourse in the Sierra Norte park. The banks of the Huesna river are densely populated with elms, willows, poplars and alders, inhabited by many birds, while otters live in the river.

The seasonal saltwater Laguna del Gosque provides an important back-up for birds in the nearby Laguna de Fuente de la Piedra Natural Reserve. Thousands of flamingos breed in the Fuente de Piedra, so they are also a common sight at this reserve.

Utrera Natural Reserve contains three saltwater lakes. Laguna de Zarracatín is around ten times the size of the other two, Laguna Arjona and Laguna Alcaparrosa. The lakes and their protected environs cover 1,161ha. Like the Lebrija-Las Cabezas Natural Reserve, it provides an alternative habitat for birds in the nearby Guadalquivir delta. Birds from the Embalse Torre del Aguila, which is about 3km east, also use the reserve.

A total of six lakes make up this 949ha reserve: Pilón, Taraje, Cigarrera, Peña, Galiana and Charroao, in order of size with Pilón being the largest. The Laguna del Taraje is the only lake with water in all year round. These six lakes are the only ones left of a much bigger series of lakes that used to occupy this area around the Seville/Cadiz provincial border, which have dried up due to increasing irrigation for agricultural activities.

East of Seville is this wetland reserve, comprising two saltwater lakes: Laguna de Calderón and Laguna de la Lantejuela. Until the mid-1960s, this wetland area covered an area of 300km² stretching between Écija and Osuna; today, only a fraction of this remains, including the 956ha of the Lantejuela reserve.

The Brazo del Este is located 20 km south of Seville in the Guadalquivir river estuary, which is an area with one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the Iberian peninsula. This former branch (brazo) of the Guadalquivir is east (este) of the river and is now a reed-fringed lagoon and wetland area surrounded by rice plains and farmland.

Most of the famous beautiful gardens in Seville, such as the Reales Alcazares and Patio de Los Naranjos are found in the city itself.

Part of the Sierra Morena, the extensive Sierra Norte Natural Park is an attractive area of gently rolling hills clad in Mediterranean woodland and dotted with delightful whitewashed towns and villages, linked by some excellent walks.

This 'multi theme park', located 50 km north-west of Seville near the village of El Castillo de las Guardas, combines a safari park, Wild-West section, go-karting and boating. You can also stay here, either in the Wild West hotel, or in cabañas located around the park.

In a frying pan heat the oil and add the chopped ham, onion and garlic. Sauté a few minutes, then add the tomatoes. Continue cooking on a medium heat until tomatoes are very reduced, about 15 minutes. Oil four (or eight) oven-proof ramekins and divide the tomato sauce between them. Break one or two eggs into each ramekin.

La Campiña is the name of a 'comarca' (region or area) in the centre of the province of Seville. It is made up from 23 municipal districts and other small villages.