Monday, 24 July 2023, 13:31
Triana does not have an abundance of hotels, but it is extremely popular with backpackers and those travelling on a budget, because some of the hostels offer bedrooms from as little as 25 euros per night.
One of the main attractions for both locals and visitors, especially during the hot summer months, is its proximity to the river, where a variety of water sports and leisure activities can be enjoyed. These include kayaking and paddle boarding, both unique experiences and an unusual way to admire Seville’s historic skyline. Novices will be taught the basic safety in order to have a pleasant and enjoyable experience, and life jackets are supplied, so falling into the river a few times might not be as bad as it seems during the hot summer months.
Those who need to feel a little more secure on the water can enjoy a river cruise, which are conducted in several languages, including English. These leisurely tours offer privileged views of the Plaza de Toros, the Giralda, the Torre de Oro, the ornate towers of the Plaza de España and, of course, the waterside streets of Triana.
One thing that one cannot fail to appreciate is the fact that Triana has a totally different character from its neighbour on the other side of the river: in general, it offers a more laidback and carefree way of life.
The romantic district of Triana was once home to countless renowned Gypsy bullfighters and flamenco performers, and it is saturated in myths and legends concerning these two arts. The streets that run parallel with the river are where one will begin to understand the ambience of this old district. The houses in these narrow streets are adorned with ceramic plaques remembering illustrious writers and poets, courageous bullfighters and celebrated flamenco singers that were born or lived there during the early 20th century.
Two monuments that highlight Triana’s association with bullfighting and flamenco can be found as one crosses the bridge (Puente de Isabel II) to enter the district: the Monument to Flamenco (located opposite the municipal market), and an unusual bronze sculpture of bullfighter Juan Belmonte (Plaza Altozano).
The market (Mercado de Triana) is one area where the visitor will experience the local atmosphere, for this is where the ‘Trianeras’ congregate to purchase fresh meat, fish, seafood, vegetables and spices, or to simply gather for a morning coffee and a chance to catch up on local gossip. The market boasts several bars and eateries that offer a variety of local specialities, along with shops selling artisan goods and a small theatre.
Triana was once the seat of the infamous Spanish Inquisition. Today, the market stands on the site of the notorious Castillo San Jorge, while the tunnel that led many thousands of people to their fate remains as a reminder of the persecution of heretics. Essentially, the museum consists of the remains of the castle, while the inquisition is brought to life with detailed explanations of what happened where, and to whom.
Opposite the tunnel is a delightful old bar called Casa Cuesta, which Ernest Hemingway favoured when visiting the city - so much so, he immortalised it in A Dangerous Summer.
Triana has long been famed for its unique pottery and ceramics, and the area around Calle Castilla boasts several family-run shops where hand-painted tiles, plaques, vases, jugs and everyday household vessels can be obtained. The area has been famous for its ceramics since Roman times and the tradition has been preserved in a museum situated in the Cerámica Santa Ana tile factory. The museum is divided into three main areas where one can see various examples of ceramics from Moorish times until present day.
Most of the churches, stately homes and palaces in Seville, as well as the splendiferous Plaza de España, will be decorated with ceramics made in Triana.
Calle San Jacinto, the pedestrianised street that cuts the district in half, is lined with trendy eateries, traditional tapas bars and tempting bodegas: one of the most outstanding is Taverna Miami (C/ San Jacinto 21), which offers a bustling ambience that defines Triana.
A pleasant walk along Calle Betis, which runs along the banks of the river, will lead to historic streets that ooze with cultural history. Many of the old bars have been replaced by trendy tapas and cocktail bars that are popular with tourists, but a few of the nostalgic establishments have survived, although not necessarily in their original capacity, as their ceramic plaques will explain.
Heading away from the river into the maze of tiny back streets will lead to the Iglesia de Santa Ana, the first Catholic church constructed in Seville after Muslim rule ended in the city in 1248. Also known as the cathedral of Triana, this colossal church contains within its walls countless works of art of great historical importance.
Behind the church, one will discover Plazuela de Santa Ana, an ideal spot to enjoy some refreshment and savour the tranquillity of the area. A short walk from here, in Calle Pelay Correa, is another distinctive old bodega, Taverna Siglo XVIII. The menu offers some of Triana’s typical dishes, and boasts one of the longest, and most varied, wine lists in Seville. It is also one of the only bars in Seville that still has a public payphone, something, like the Gypsy flamencos and bullfighters that once lived in these streets, is a thing of the past.
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