The Role Of Religion In Modern Seville

By: Gaizka Pujana

The name stuck, and today 'Andalusia' refers to the most southern of the autonomous communities of Spain. The capital of Andalusia is Seville.

The culture built over the 700 years following the 711AD Muslim invasion became the highest example of civilised life, the envy of the known world. It is with this in mind that we open our eyes to the role of the Muslim world in the formation of modern-day Europe. It is with this in mind that we see the story behind much of the architecture and accommodation in Seville, since it points back to the Moorish epoch (the 711AD invaders became known as the Moors) as a period of innovation, from the construction of buildings and society to technological advances such as paper and irrigation, and splendour.

The Alcaacutezar palace is worthy of such a visit. But keep in mind Seville is uncomfortably hot during summer. Winters are said to be mild and without the hordes of tourists, and are as such a recommended time to book Seville holiday apartments. Springs are also climatically nice, but come with the crowds, which in turn come with peak rates across all types of holiday accommodation from B&Bs and hotels to Seville apartment rentals.

For many spring is the draw, since this is when Semana Santa (Holy Week) - the week leading up to Easter - and the colourful two-week fiesta that follows it takes place. Semana Santa is internationally well known, particularly for its long processions of the robed and generally hooded.

The distinctive hooded cap is pointed in much the same fashion, it is often noted, as those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. While choice of attire is where any analogy with the Ku Klux Klan ends, there is another memory conjured by these lines of hooded figures.

Isabella and Ferdinand - "the Catholic Monarchs" - set up the Spanish Inquisition, to root out non-Catholics and eliminate the last stronghold of Muslim Spain. The auto-de-fe acute; was the religious ceremony during which heretics were made to repent their sins before their pointy-hooded accusers. The first Spanish auto-de-fe acute; took place in Seville, in 1481.

Should you then book a holiday apartment in Seville for the week leading up to Easter, the religious ceremonies attached to it may well inspire remembrance of this grisly history. Following the auto-de-feacute;, proclaimed heretics might be burnt at the stake; Most would loose their homes and livelihoods.

It is interesting in today's climate of denigrating Muslim character and culture, both current and historical, that these two chapters in Spanish history have such opposite roots: There is no evidence of forced conversions to Islam in Muslim Spain. Weather or not the hooded processions are vestiges of the auto-de-feacute; there is something to be remembered about the spirit of acceptance that people in pointy hats seem to have historically failed to do.

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