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Carmona is one of the oldest towns in mainland Europe. Its pretty centre includes Moorish buildings as well as many fine buildings from across the ages. At just 30km from Seville it makes for a pleasant day trip.
* Alcazar de la Puerta de Seville
* Market Place - Plaza del Mercado de Abastos
* San Fernando Square - Plaza de San Fernando
There is a suprising amount to see in Carmona for a small town and for a small charge you can buy a booklet with 4 recommended walks. One covers the main part of town and key highlights. One is the San Felipe area, one the Jewish area and one further out of town with the Roman Necropolis and Ampitheatre.
Central area of Carmona
You will probably arrive at Carmona by the large defensive gate and Moorish fortress known as the Alcazar de la Puerta de Seville. The fortress is Moorish and the gate Roman and major alterations were carried out in the 14th and 15th centuries. Tickets to enter the Alcazar can be bought at the Tourist Office at the entrance to the fortress.
There is not a huge amount to see inside but from the Tower of Gold you get some great views over the town and in any case a visit is just 3 euros.
Through the gate you will first arrive at the church of San Bartolome built in the 15th century. Inside there are some important paintings in the church and sacristy.
One of our favourite parts of Carmona is the large market place which was a former Doninican monastery and redesigned by Ramon del Taro in a traditional Castilian designe with arcades and galleries all around the edge. It was built in the 19th century.
Parallel with the market square is the main square of Carmona, the Plaza de San Fernando, which was a rectangular plaza originaly but due to a restoration error is now a circular plaza. Surrounding the square are tall houses with attractive balconies and these were once used to watch public spectacles such as bullfights in the square below.
You will notice occasional buildings covered entirely in tiles in a style shared with buildings in Portugal which is not too far away.
Nearby the town hall is a converted convent built in 1621 and refurbished in 1842 to become the town hall. Enter the town hall to see its courtyard which contains a particularly intact mosaic dating to the 2nd century.
Next you will come to the church of El Salvador and the Priory of Santa Maria both of which have lovely towers capped with blue and white tiles though one has a round roof and the other square. The church of El Salvador was rebuilt in 1700 following an earthquake. The priory is built on the site of a mosque and built in late Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Inside the priory jewelry, sculptures and paintings are on display as well as processional gold and silver work.
The Town Museum housed in a 16th century palace looks tiny on the outside but contains an interesting collection of archaeological and artistic works including Roman ceramics. The building has a lovely internal courtyard.
Also of interest in the central part of town is the Cordoba gate built between 1 BC and 1 AD and leading out of the city in the direction of Cordoba. It has been redesigned several times and owes its current appearance to a local architect who redesigned it in 1786.
If you are interested in Mudejar architecture head for the Santa Clara conent which has some lovely mudejar arches in its interior.
As well as the many religios buildings in Carmona there are some attractive mansions. These include the Casa Palacio de Los Aguilar with lovely floral decorations, the Palacio de los Rueda with a charming interior courtyard and some attractive furniture, paintings and chandeliers inside the house.
A walk around the San Felipe quarter reveals more churches and attractive narrow streets and also leads to the Alcazar del Rey Don Pedro. This fortress is largely in ruins but one of its wings has been renovated and converted into the Parador of Carmona. The parador has a lovely mudéjar style and a charming interior and exterior courtyard.
In the Jewish quarter are some pretty streets, one of Carmona's earliest churches and the lovely Casa Palacio de Los Lasso which has been converted into the 5 star hotel Casa Palacio Casa de Carmona. Like many buildings in Carmona this too has a Mudejar style.
Heading out West of Carmona for about a kilometer you can visit the remains of a 1st century Roman Amphitheatre and a very interesting Roman Burial ground - the Necropolis Romana. The Necropolis was discovered and excavated by English archaeologist George Bonsor and local academic Juan Lopez in the 19th century and holds several tombs and family mausoleums from the 1st Century BC to 2 AD. There is also a small museum on site.
Places to Visit Nearby
Carmona is an easy bus ride from Seville which is a fabulous city, not to be missed.
Also close to Seville is Italica which for anyone interested by the Roman Necropolis of Carmona is certainly worth visiting.