The week before Easter is called Semana Santa (Holy week). The city of Seville has one of the most famous celebrations in the world. Throughout the week, different brotherhoods process from their churches to the main Cathedral of Seville and then back to their own churchs. The people in the procession are called Nazarenos and dressed in robes and hoods. (Apparently the KKK was inspired by them – it was hard not to feel a jolt when seeing the Nazarenos walking along!) Some are barefoot or wearing socks, some are carrying crosses and since a few years ago, some are women. Each procession can take up to twelve hours. Each brotherhood carries at least one giant statue of Jesus or Mary – these are carried by up to 50 men and are very heavy. Each procession is accompanied by music. On our first night in Seville we went into town to see some of these processions. They are absolutely incredible – thousands of people line the streets to watch them and the mood is very somber. Walking through the narrow streets takes a long, long time – even when you move away from the parades there are still blocked off streets, not to mention hundreds of people trying to get through.
As well as experiencing the parades of Semana Santa we also explored Seville. We were able to visit the massive Cathedral – it is one of the biggest in the world – and climb the bell tower, which was formerly the minaret of the mosque that was there.
We visited the beautiful Plaza Espana, which was created for a world fair.
We visited the absolutely beautiful Alcazar, a former palace of the Moorish leaders that was just amazing. We wandered through the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the Jewish quarter of Seville.
We were able to see the Semana Santa parades on two of our days there – the evening we arrived and the next day – but on the third day the parades were cancelled due to rain as the beautiful statues can be easily damaged in the rain.
We also managed to have our most embarrassing Airbnb experience yet – locking our hosts out of their own apartment overnight and sleeping through their phone calls, texts and knocking…apparently we have a special gift/curse for sleeping like the dead! Fortunately our hosts were the forgiving sort! Seville was great – definitely a unique time to visit, although a crazy time too. For a calmer experience you would want to go when it was not Semana Santa!