History flows through Seville

The río Guadalquivir is the river of Seville, the only navigable river in Spain. This river has played a leading role in many of the city’s historic moments. Sieges, defences and conquests have been fought on its waters, and exploits and crossings have been forged from its shores.

History of the city... and history of humanity.

Did you know that the first trip around the world left from Seville? In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan sailed with his ships to Sanlucar de Barrameda and from there, to the open sea, to circumnavigate the Earth. Crossing the San Telmo bridge, you can see the armillary sphere that commemorates mile zero of that voyage.

Seville in the 16th century was the mercantile centre of the western world, and its river was the main maritime route for Atlantic traffic for more than 200 years. Many street names referring to trades and origins come from that era (Alemanes, Placentines, Francos; Odreros, Toneleros, Cerrajeros...). Seville was known as “the city where the world’s heart beats”. Its maritime activity permeated commerce, population, culture, and its own urban development, making it unique.

Calle Betis
The Guadalquivir River
Mirror of the Torre de Oro

The Torre del Oro (“Tower of Gold”), one of the emblematic monuments of Seville, also has a history linked to the river. It is a defensive tower built by the Arabs, located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir. Tradition says that a thick chain on the river joined it to another tower located on the other side of the river, thus preventing the passage of enemy ships.

The Torre del Oro is currently home to the Naval Museum of Seville.

View of Triana
Ways of life on the river

The character of the Guadalquivir has prevailed to this day. Nowadays, it is a river that is enjoyed like few in the world, treated like the monumental street it was, probably the most important street in Seville.

You can also enjoy water sports in the river, especially rowing and canoeing. In fact, the Guadalquivir has hosted international competitions of the highest level.

More and more visitors arrive in Seville through the Guadalquivir. You could be one of them, arriving aboard a cruise to the Muelle de las Delicias (Quay of Delights), at the city centre’s historic port.

To keep in mind...
  1. The Romans called it the river Betis, also giving it the name Bética.
  2. The Guadalquivir crosses all of Andalusia, with a total length of 657 kilometres.
  3. Being on the other side of the river led to the unique character of Triana.