Seville is located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, in the heart of the Autonomous Region of Andalusia.
As capital of Andalusia, it is the fourth largest city in Spain with a population of 704.114 inhabitants within the metropolitan area. The total population of some 105 towns within the province reaches 1.758.720 inhabitants who are spread out over an area of 14.042 square kilometres. Seville is considered without doubt, the artistic, cultural, financial, economic and social centre of southern Spain.
Situated just 6 meters above sea level on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, the urban centre extends towards the towns of Aljarafe, Las Marismas (salt marshes), the Doñana National Park and the Sierra Norte and Sierra Sur mountains.
Numerous and varied cultures have been present in Seville's history. The city's cultural, monumental and artistic legacy gained over the centuries can be admired in it's streets and museums. Seville's dark origins have provided legends such as the one that attributes Hercules as it's founder. In order to appreciate the ancient history of Seville, one must visit the Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum), a spectacular site in itself; once a Pavilion of the 1929 Exhibition. Here one can observe the remains of cultures that travelled from across the Mediterranean, bringing with them their distant gods. The Tesoro del Carambolo is a clear example of oriental influences assimilated by the ancient peoples of Seville.
The Tartessians were the original founders of Hispalis. Next to this settlement, in 207 B.C., the Romans built Itálica. It was the centre of their Western Mediterranean dominions for seven centuries until the Roman empire was overrun by Northern barbarians at the beginning of the 10th century. The long Moorish occupation of the Iberian peninsula, from 711 A.D. to 1248 A.D., left indelible traces in Seville as in all of Al-Andalus. La Giralda, the tower of an important mosque, is the most well-known of the remaining Islamic monuments.
In 1492 Seville played an important role in the discovery and conquest of America. The 17th century was a period of artistic splendour in Seville. Painters such as Velázquez, Murillo and Valdés Leal, and sculptors like Martínez Montañés were born in Seville and left behind important works. The city also assumed an important role in world literature and was the birthplace of the myth of Don Juan. On two occasions in the 20th century Seville has been in the spotlight of the world's attention. In 1929, it hosted the Latin American Exhibition, which left important urban improvements in the city. More recently, Expo 92 reinforced the image of Seville as a modern and dynamic city