Protected from the walls of the Real Alcázar, the famous neighbourhood of Santa Cruz is a labyrinth of streets, beautiful houses, patios in bloom all year round, perfect squares, crosses that lead to the magnificent Jardines de Murillo or to the famous calle Mateos Gago but also to calle Santa María. And if you come to Seville for several days to take the time to explore the city, also take the time to stroll through the streets of this area full of moths.
Seville is full of legends of the Sephardic and their historical past, and still in 2020, you feel the weight of history in its streets. It is important to note that the Mudejar church of Santa Cruz, as a synagogue, was demolished in 1811 under French occupation to build the present Plaza de Santa Cruz.
For with its narrow, winding streets partly covered with buildings and its bright, white houses, the Barrio Santa Cruz, which is right next to the Alcázar Palace, gives an impression of a medieval city centre and has always been one of Seville’s most beloved tourist attractions.
The names of its streets remind us of the Sephardic past: Judíos, Levíes, Agua, Doncella, Vida were the names of the streets already in the 13th century, when about 5,000 Jews lived in the city, about five percent of the total population.
“Islamic Al-Andalus was the true apogee of the Jews in Seville. The petty traders were mainly Jews,” history professors often explain.
Seville’s Jewish community lived for centuries in an open city, and it was not until the Christian conquest that the ghetto came into being.
A small remnant of the wall that surrounds the Jewish quarter is still preserved, and two of the city’s four synagogues have been converted into churches: San Bartolomé and Santa María la Blanca.
The great era of Jewish life in Seville goes back a long way. Although King Ferdinand III respected religious freedom after the conquest of Seville in 1248, and his epitaph in Seville Cathedral is written in Latin, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew, a good hundred years later, tolerance ended in June 1391, the first bloody conflict took place in Seville.
The Jewish community never recovered from the conflict of 1391.
Even before the Catholic Monarchs issued the edict of expulsion of the Jews in 1492, there were practically no Jewish families left in Seville. It was not until 400 years later that the first Jews settled in the city again.
The parish seat was moved to the present church, which was previously occupied by the convent of the clergy of the Holy Spirit in calle Mateos Gago, and as has already been said, the Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz is characterised by the presence of the Alcázar, located in the centre of Seville.
In addition, the Old Jewish Quarter in Seville was renovated for the 1929 exhibition.
Today, after all these reforms, the old town has become a place of great beauty and is the preferred place for many Sevillians to walk. It is true that like l´Alcázar or the Cathedral, the neighbourhood is a must during your stay in Seville.
There’s a lot to see in the Jewish Quarter. So many hidden courtyards, so many churches and small streets.
I recommend that you spend a morning or an afternoon with us and see what the beautiful neighborhood has to offer, but above all an incomparable feeling of fullness, you can also sit on the benches under the orange trees to rest, sneak through the narrow streets to reach the Hospital del Venerable, a hospital built in 1675 by the monks as a residence and hospital in the middle of the Barrio de Santa Cruz. The construction of the building was finished in 1697 under the direction of the architect Leonardo de Figueroa. There is also a church in honour of San Fernando.
This church is beautiful. You will be able to see great masterpieces such as the altarpiece, magnificent statues, paintings full of lights… make the work of Diego Velázquez, one of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age… Today, there is an exhibition open to the public and if you like painting, we can organize a private visit at museo de bellas artes.
And perhaps also essentially the most touristic district of the city and if you are not well accompanied, you risk losing yourself…… At night, you can discover its perfect nightlife, the favorite places of the Sevillians because the neighborhood is still alive and looks like an open-air museum. It is always a pleasure to walk, especially in the afternoon, when it is relatively quiet and pleasant. Along the walls of the Alcazar, you can stroll through the backyard of Murillo, on the boundary between the old town and the trendy boulevards, and reach the beautiful Plaza de Santa Cruz.
THE SANTA CRUZ JEWISH QUARTER , It´s a mandatory visit of Seville.
If you want to visit it with a private tour, clik here Seville Jewish Quarter Private Tour
Seville is undoubtedly one of the hottest cities in Europe, so visiting it in spring or summer requires frequent stops for refreshment 😉 This is a very good excuse to stop and enjoy the good food offered by the local Jewry.
There are excellent restaurants or bars for a good lunch or romantic dinner or the famous Sevillian tapas. And you will see that the Jewish quarter is full of a multitude of bars and restaurants, ranging from the most elegant in the city to the local bars established over several generations. Scattered throughout the neighborhood, some of them can be escape you……. However, you can start your search to find your favourite place by walking down Mateos Gago Street, near Seville Cathedral (if you want to know more about this magnificent temple, click here). This very trendy street is full of tapas bars and restaurants that lead to the centre of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood: the locals say: you have to have some tapas in each bar and follow the route!
Anyway, we leave our list of favorites to enjoy Andalusian Cooking :
– Oriza Restaurant, 41 San Fernando Street.
– La Azotea, Calle Mateos Gago 8.
– El 3 de Oro Calle Sta. María la Blanca 34.
– Bodega Santa Cruz, Calle Rodrigo Caro 1.
– Las Teresas, Calle Sta. Teresa 2.
– Pelayo Bar de Tapas, Calle de Placentines 25.
– San Marco, Calle Mesón del Moro 6.
– El Pasaje, Calle Ximénez de Enciso 33.
– Taberna Belmonte, Calle Mateos Gago 24.
– Peko Peko, Calle Sta. María la Blanca 20.
– Bar Catalina, Paseo de Catalina de Ribera 4.
– La Tapatería, Calle Sta. María la Blanca 7.
– Gourmet Flowers, Calle San Pablo 24.
– Cervecería Las Columnas, Calle Rodrigo Caro 1.
– La Cueva, Calle Rodrigo Caro 18.
– L’Oca Giuliva, Calle Mateos Gago 9.
– La Bartola, Calle San José 24.
– La Sacristía Tapas, Calle Mateos Gago 18.
– Meson Don Raimundo, Calle Argote de Molina 26.
– The Cathedral of Seville
– The Royal Alcázar
– Les Archives d´Indes
– The Gardens of Murillo
– Take a relaxed walk to the Arab Baths of Santa Cruz
– The Murillo Museum
– Agua Street
– The Pilate House
– The Plaza Virgen de Los Reyes (very good place to take pictures)
– Calle Pimienta
– Calle Justino de Neve
– Callejón del Agua
– Calle Vida
– Calle Susona
– Calle de la Judería
– Calle Jamerdana
– Calle Gloria
– Calle Aire
– Calle Mateos Gago
– Calle Tintes
– Plaza de la Alianza
– Plaza de Alfaro
– Plaza de Doña Elvira
– Plaza de la Escuela de Cristo
– Plaza de los Refinadores
– Plaza de Santa Cruz
– Plaza de Santa Marta
– Plaza del Triunfo
– Plaza de los Venerables
– Plaza Virgen de los Reyes
– Patio de Banderas
– Palacio de Altamira
– Iglesia de Santa Cruz
– Iglesia de Santa María la Blanca
– Iglesia de San José
– Convento de Madre de Dios
– Hospital de los Venerables
– Palacio de Altamira
– Postigo de la Judería / la Torre del Agua
– El callejón de la Judería
The Jewish Quarter of Santa Cruz deserves more than words or an article in a blog, but your presence during your stay in Seville. It is the only way to understand this beautiful neighborhood and feel its history on your shoulders.
If you want to visit it with a private visit, you can do our Seville Santa Cruz Jewish Quarter Tour
You can find more specific information at Jewish Virtual Library.