Some cities blast you away, others slowly win you over. Sevilla disarms and seduces you. Its historic center lorded over by a colossal Gothic cathedral, is an intoxicating mix of resplendent Mudéjar palaces, baroque churches and winding medieval lanes.

Flamenco clubs keep the intimacy and intensity of this centuries-old tradition alive whilst aristocratic mansions recall the city’s past as a showcase Moorish capital and, later, a 16th-century metropolis rich on the back of New World trade. Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia and is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River which crosses the city from North to South.

Its location coincides with the point where the Guadalquivir stops being useful for navigation as such, intense trade can be traced here as far back as Roman times. This trade continued under Muslim rule and exploded as Seville monopolized the new trade with the Americas. When the monopoly was eventually broken, and Cádiz largely took Seville’s place, the city consequently entered a period of relative decline.

The 17th century, however, was a period of artistic splendor in Seville. Painters such as Velázquez, Murillo and Valdés Leal, and sculptors like Martínez Montañés were born here and left behind very important artworks. Then, in the 19th century, the city gained a reputation for its architecture and culture making it an essential stop along the Romantic Grand Tour of Europe. Seville has built on its tourism industry ever since, playing host to the International Exposition in 1992, which spurred the construction of a new airport, a new train station, a bullet train link to Madrid, new bridges and improvements to the main boulevards.

Sevilla has two special events in its annual calendar, the Semana Santa (Holy week) and the Feria de Abril, which starts just few weeks after Easter meaning the opening of the bullfight season.

Today, tourist facilities are top-notch and the city is buzzing with festivals, color and a thriving nightlife scene making it, arguably, one of most charming places in Spain.