Tuesday, February 9, 2016

NO8DO and Other Cool Sights of Seville – Erich

All over Seville, you see this symbol:

It's on the bike racks, the signs in the parks, the street sweepers, and even the manhole covers. But what does it mean? I asked and learned it is a pun that comes from the history of the city.

Back in the 13th Century, there was a king named King Alfonso X the Wise. He was a scholar, artist, philosopher kind of king. Not so much a bloody warlord kind of king. But one of his sons, Sancho IV of Castile was less like his father and more like the bloody warlord. So much so that he decided to usurp the throne from his father.

Much of Spain turned on Alfonso and backed Sancho. But Seville stayed loyal to the king. The battle kind of went back and forth, but ultimately Alfonso was restored to the throne. And to reward Seville for its unwavering loyalty, he granted the city its own motto: “No me ha dejado,” which means “It had not abandoned me.”

The way that Spanish is spoken in Seville, this motto is usually slurred a bit and sounds like “No-madeja-do”. And a madeja is a bundle of wool that is knotted or shaped like a figure 8. So No-madeja-do becomes No-8-do, and thus you have this symbol you cannot fail to see all over the place in Seville.

But there are many other impressive sights in Seville. The cathedral there is huge and amazing.
The Cathedral of Seville

It started life as a mosque, but was built into a cathedral after the Catholics conquered the land from the Moors.
I was excited to see a sundial on the side of the cathedral

Of special note: the tomb of Christopher Columbus is inside the cathedral, if anyone was looking.

Speaking of Columbus, there is a tall column in the city commemorating him.
Commemoration of Christobel Colon

At the top is a lion. Underneath the lion on one side it reads Cristobel Colon and on the other side 1492. Under these is a ship and on one side (the same side with Colon's name) is the name Isabel. On the other side of the ship is the name Fernando. And at the base is a portrait of Cristobel himself. (Maybe I'm being fresh, you know, using first names here.)
There is the man (much maligned these days) himself
But Seville is replete with art. There are sculptures everywhere, beautiful fountains, statuary. It's amazing. Here is a set of Alrica and the kids all taken in one courtyard near the cathedral.
Alrica and a Fish Fountain
Carver and a Lion
Syarra and a Dog

And here are some of the fountains we saw in the city.
Fountain commemorating El Cano
Not sure who she is, but if she distributes swords, we could form a government
And if that weren't enough, how about some other statues?
Just outside the cathedral
Just outside the Museo des Bellas Artes
I previously posted about El Alcazar, which is a huge castle. But that castle does not have a moat. But you know what does? The university's main building! Admittedly, it wasn't a university building when the moat was built. I know it was previously a tobacco warehouse. But I'm not sure what it was in the days when it needed a moat.
The dry moat around the University
But no list of impressive sights in Seville would be complete without the Plaza de España.
The Plaza de España

This is a gigantic, elaborately designed semicircular building curling around a plaza full of fountains, a man made stream, bridges, and columns. You can rent boats and paddle around the man made stream.
Here you can see the water
You may have seen it before. Ardent Star Wars fans may recognize this place. In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, this is where Padme and Anakin get married. I suspect there just wasn't enough budget to actually film on Naboo. It is, after all, in a galaxy far, far away. So some location scout chose Seville as the most compatible earthly approximation.
Earth or Naboo? You make the call.
And finally, perhaps the most unique sight was one that only half of our family got to see. I've been in many men's rooms in my days, as has Carver. Though I suspect I've been in more. And this is the first time either of us can recall seeing urinals with lids.
Do I need to caption this? I think it speaks for itself
It just goes to show you never no madeja do.

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