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SEVILLE

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SEVILLE

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SEVILLE

Seville's Advocate

Home to flamenco, Seville has plenty to offer culture buffs and sun-seekers, too.
Dec 10, 2016 5:50 AM

SEVILLE was chosen as the site for the launch of the Lexus LC luxury sports coupe because of its proximity to the Monteblanco racing circuit and the fast, flowing roads leading to it.

But apart from an exhilarating drive, the ancient home of flamenco and legends of Hercules offers a rich heritage for culture buffs to explore, while sun-seekers can head out to nearby coastal towns like Marbella and Malaga for their beautiful beaches.

While Seville is the capital and largest city in the Andalusian region - and a magnet for American and Japanese tourists - it is smaller, quieter and less chaotic than say, Barcelona. In the old city centre where most landmarks are within walking distance, the Gran Melia Colon is a conveniently located hotel. Even the rooms of this luxury hotel are steeped in art - each door is a replica of a painting by one of the old masters, complete with gold frame and spotlight.

For some monument-gazing - less than 15 minutes away on foot is the famous Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its intriguing Giralda bell tower. Originally built as a minaret, the Giralda has a lower Moorish section with an upper Christian segment after it was converted into a church in the 13th century. So the tower has ramps - used by the muezzin to ride up on horseback to lead the call to prayer - as well as stairs at the top to reach the bells.

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If the Giralda is a tower you have to go and see, the Torre Sevilla is one you can't help but see. Called the Pelli Tower by locals to differentiate it from the Giralda, its architect is Cesar Pelli, who was also responsible for Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers. This modern 40-storey terracotta-coloured skyscraper sticks out on Seville's skyline and is controversial for dwarfing its older and more traditionally styled neighbours.

Still, as it is located just across the river from the old city centre, it serves as a convenient landmark for visitors. Next to the river is the magnificent building that is the Seville bullring. You may not be into blood sports but you can go just to visit the museum, where seven euros gets you a guided tour.

After all that culture, those seeking some retail therapy can walk one street down from the Melia to El Corte Ingles. The merchandise in this department store may look rather provincial compared to what you can get in a big city, but there's one thing that's bound to please any visiting Singaporean - the big supermarket in the basement.