Upon arrival in an Alfa Romeo Giulia, a surprising historical centre awaits, crammed with low houses, winding cobblestone alleys and narrow passageways which, as night falls, are filled with mystery and silence, a world away from the noise and commotion of the big city.
Churches, palaces and walls make up the important historical heritage of Carmona’s old quarter, dominated by the imposing sight of its Moorish fortress, the Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro, which is accessed through the Puerta de Córdoba.
Many of the travellers who come to Carmona begin to explore from above, specifically from the aforementioned Alcázar, which today houses a Parador hotel, an ideal place to enjoy the views from its lookout point and the beautiful Arabic courtyard inside, with vaulted ceilings dating from the 14th century.
To reach three of the most characteristic neighbourhoods of the city, you have to cross the Puerta Marchena with its panoramic views over a sea of green olive trees. They are San Felipe, Santiago and San Blas, the latter being the city’s old Jewish quarter where you can travel back in time and enjoy the tranquillity of its streets.
These neighbourhoods make up Carmona’s historical centre, maintaining a network of narrow streets that are characteristic of the charm of any other Andalusian city, although Carmona is special in that these places have hardly changed over the years, retaining their original layout almost entirely. As a result, visitors wander through white-walled streets that stand out against the blue of the sky, giving Carmona a unique feel.
Over the centuries this city has successfully preserved its cultural heritage, the proof of which is the Mercado de Abastos market square, which once housed a Dominican convent and is now one of the city’s most striking monumental spaces.
The incredible variety of different sites that history has bequeathed to the city of Carmona allow visitors to travel back through the historical and cultural heritage of this emblematic town.
The first of these dates back to the very origins of the city: the famous Roman necropolis, located on the outskirts of the city and accessible with Alfa Romeo Giulia. It has some of the best preserved tunnels and passages in Andalusia.
A number of civilisations have left their mark on Carmona: first Paleolithic and Neolithic peoples, then the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. These people settled in the city, shaping it until the time when the Romans set their sights on it, occupying it under the name of «Carmo».
Later, the Arabs arrived from North Africa, filling the city with mosques, gardens and great mansions. They walled the city off completely and built the Alcázar – now the site of the Parador – at one end of the wall, while at the other end they erected a fortified tower now known as the Alcázar de la Puerta de Sevilla. Within this fortress stands the famous Torre del Oro, which boasts one of the best panoramic views of Carmona and the fortress itself.
The Romans and then the Arabs made Carmona a vast city that became extremely wealthy after the Reconquista, with a few fortresses that remained intact as well as gardens, palaces and new convents such as the Santa Clara convent, another of Carmona’s jewels.
And if visitors follow the streets that lead towards the Alcázar, they will be amazed by the opulent building facades, with the iron grills and shields of dozens of Baroque palaces and palace houses such as the Casa Palacio de los Lasso, nowadays a hotel.
It is impossible to discuss the monumental cities of Andalusia without mentioning Carmona. Its streets transport visitors to another era, with urban spaces and palace houses that represent the tradition and character of its inhabitants. Its streets are a clear reflection of the history and heritage of Andalusia.
When you least expect it, you will be surprised by Carthaginian, Tartessian, Roman, Visigoth, Muslim or Christian remains. Carmona lies at the heart of the cultural route that runs through all the cities that treasure part of the Roman legacy, from Cordoba to Cadiz, winding among whitewashed buildings where a wooden door and balconies oozing bougainvillea and geraniums will welcome you. An essential visit, just a stone’s throw from Seville with Alfa Romeo Giulia.
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