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The Best Sights of Camona
Carmona is a beautiful white town of 17,000 people that is about 29 kilometers northeast of Seville. The town can be seen in a day trip from Seville. There is a regular bus service between Seville and Carmona run by Autocares CASAL. Look on this web site for times and detail. Since recently the bus starts at San Bernardo interchange in Seville which is the end of the Tram stop from Plaza Nueva etc.
Mass tourism has not reached this quiet town yet. The whole town is located on a high bluff which overlooks the plains below. The town is a beautiful white town that is very clean. About 50 movies have been filmed in the town because it looks so authentically Andalusian. Fernando III conquered the town from the Moors in 1247, and he was impressed by the beauty of the town. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Carmona was filled with many convents and palaces.
You can do a Basic Tour by following the numbered places and arrows on the ground and referring to a useful little guide book (Euro 1 in 2012) that takes you around the town starting at the Alcazar de la Puerta de Sevilla tourist office. It will take you to the impressive Market Place and the central square known as Plaza de San Fernando with its variety of places to eat. Also takes you to the Casa Palacio Marqués de las Torres that now houses the excellent Museum showing some Roman artifacts and much else.
1. Church of San Pedro
The Church of San Pedro has a very tall bell tower that resembles the Giralda Tower in Seville.
This was built in the 15th century and completed in the 18th century, with its Baroque tower. The tower has a height of 56 meters and was patterned after the Giralda Tower. There are three naves in the church and the church has several impressive altarpieces faced with gold leaf. The Capilla Sacramental is a side chapel, and this was constructed by Ambrosio de Figueroa in 1760, with a circular ground plan. It contains the Virgen de la Antigua, which dates from the 16th century. The whole chapel is considered as one of the most impressive Baroque chapels in the Province of Seville.
2. Puerta de Sevilla
There is a large gate which is located at the Alcazar de la Puerta de Sevilla, one of the town’s main attractions. The walls were built in the 3rd century B.C. by the Carthaginians, and the Romans and Moors kept adding to the walls. The gate is 3 meters wide. The narrow streets are paved with cobblestones in this old area of the town. The tourist office is here.
3. Church of Santa Maria de la Asuncion
The Church of Santa Maria de la Asuncion is a church that was built in 1424 in the Gothic style and it has a beautiful statue of the Virgen de Gracia (dated to 1300 A.D.), which is very well lighted. The church has three naves. The principal altarpiece has a Plateresque style and it was the work of Nufro de Ortega and Juan Bautista Vazquez, built in the middle of the 16th century. The reliefs show scenes from the life of Christ, the coronation of the Virgin Mary, and the crucifixion. There is a lateral chapel dedicated to San Jose, and there is an altarpiece dedicated to this saint made by Pedro de Campaña. The church opens to a large patio, the Patio de los Naranjos, built over an Almohade mezquita that was destroyed in 1424. There is a small museum on the second floor of the adjacent building. There is a beautiful sculpture of Christ on the cross, called the Christ of the Desamparados (the homeless), that dates from the 16th century. There is also a sword of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the museum.
4. Hotels in Historic Buildings
Close by is the Hotel Alcazar de la Reina, built in a 17th convent. The hotel is decorated in the Mudejar style and is very beautiful, with an outdoor pool. Another neighboring hotel is the Casa de Carmona Hotel, built in a 16th century palace. It has the Andalusian style and is very beautiful too, with many patios.
5. The Parador
The Parador was built in the Alcazar del Rey Don Pedro (Pedro I, the Cruel). This castle is on the highest point of the bluff and it has thick castle walls that enclose the palace and a large parking lot. The castle was built in the 14th century by the Moors. The Parador is one of the most impressive paradors in Spain, with a very big and beautiful patio with a fountain. Outside the bar is a balcony where one can see the plains below. Below the balcony is also a swimming pool set amid gardens.
6. Puerta de Cordoba
There is also the Puerta de Cordoba, which is a gate in the city walls. During the time of Caesar, Carmona was the most heavily fortified city in the province of Betica. This gate is in the eastern part of the town and was part of the Roman fortifications. There are three octagonal towers and the Via Romana between Seville and Cordoba passed through this gate.
7. Roman Necropolis
There is a Roman necropolis at the border of the town that has tombs from the 1st to the 4th centuries A.D. There are niches in the rocks that contain urns containing the ashes of the dead. At the entrance to the necropolis is the Tumba del Elefante, which is a tomb with an elephant figure on top that measures 57 cm in height. There is a museum that shows many of these urns and figures in bronze.
Carmona is beautiful town, very clean, and very Andalusian. It is fresh and undiluted by foreigners because few foreign visitors come here. It is really a great place to visit and a hidden gem.