Seville is an old port city set on the Guadalquivir River. The city played a key role in establishing and continuing trade with South America. It remains one of Spain's busiest ports. Close to the heart of the city is the Plaza Espana, a majestic architectural complex built for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929. The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings, fountains and tiled alcoves. The Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, the Royal Palace in the center of town, was originally constructed as a Moorish fort and built in a marked Islamic style. Today it is a superb complex of patios and halls that combines several different architectural styles, from Mudéjar to Gothic. At its very center is the Palace of King Pedro I, who constructed his royal residence on the site of a Moorish palace. The palace gardens are a lovely sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Seville's city center, and are well laid out with fountains and pools interspersed with formal lawns and flowerbeds.
Seville's magnificent cathedral, Columbus and La Giralda, is the largest Gothic building in Europe. Built on the site of a mosque, it is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus and is lavishly decorated in gold. Its bell tower, La Giralda, was the minaret of the original mosque and dominates Seville's skyline. The sister tower of La Giralda is the Hassan Tower in Rabat.
Seville is known as the birthplace of tapas and the city apparently has over 1000 tapas bars, serving almost every conceivable type of food. Sevillians are known to move from bar to bar, enjoying a different small dish in each establishment they visit.