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Seville's Long and Noble History
Conquered in 205 BC by the Romans, Seville gave the world two great emperors, Trajan and Hadrian. The Moors held Seville for more than 500 years and left it one of their greatest works of architecture—the iconic Giralda tower that served as the minaret over the main city mosque. Saint Ferdinand III (King Fernando III) lies enshrined in the glorious cathedral, and his rather less saintly descendant, Pedro the Cruel, builder of the Alcázar, is buried here as well.
Seville is justly proud of its literary and artistic associations. The painters Diego Rodríguez de Silva Velázquez (1599–1660) and Bartolomé Estéban Murillo (1617–82) were sons of Seville, as were the poets Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836–70), Antonio Machado (1875–1939), and Nobel Prize–winner Vicente Aleixandre (1898–1984). The tale of the ingenious knight of La Mancha was begun in a Seville debtors' prison, where Don Quixote's creator, Miguel de Cervantes, once languished. Tirso de Molina's Don Juan seduced his lovers in Seville's mansions; Rossini's barber, Figaro, was married in the Barrio de Santa Cruz; and Bizet's sultry Carmen first met Don José in the former tobacco factory that now houses the university.
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