(Leer en español) Seville has an undeniable charm and to visit the city can become an adventure. Also, to look in the corners and ceilings might hold surprises. Moreover of the Cathedral, the Giralda, the Alcazar, Spain Square, Archivo de Indias and the most famous monuments of the city, it is remarkable the curiosities of Seville.
The city streets are full of life, history and legends. Seville, capital of the world for decades, home of kings and cradle of myths, keeps hidden treasures across the city. Here are some curiosities of Seville kings, are material and you can looking for and find its on your walks around the city.
Curiosities of Seville
The crocodile of the Cathedral
In the Patio de los Naranjos of the Cathedral of Seville, you can find a crocodile hanging from the ceiling. It is popularly known as ‘lizard‘ (lagarto). There are several theories about why the animal is here. It is accompanied by an elephant tusk, a bridle and a baton.
These four elements are in the East Patio area. The most popular legend date the arrival around 1260. Egypt Sultan sent a delegation to Seville to propose to Berenguela, Alfonso X’s daughter. So the visit was accompanied by exotic animals as gifts, such as a Nile crocodile, a domesticated giraffe and an elephant tusk.
The king refused but kept the gifts and sent others with a delegation heading to Egypt. After the death of the crocodile, it was dissected and hung from the ceiling of the Patio de los Naranjos. It was accompanied by the tusk, the bridle and the wizard’s baton sent to Egypt to reject the proposal of the Sultan.
The actual crocodile is a wooden replica of the sixteenth century and for some religious people, it symbolizes something more than an exotic souvenir. According to these theories, it represents prudence, the tusk is a symbol of strength, the bridle reminds temperance and the baton is the justice. For others, the only role of the ‘lizard’ is scaring the birds.
HEAD OF KING DON PEDRO
Today is a street in Seville, which takes its name from an alleged incident that also left their material traces. In another time, and on the shoulders of the monarch Pedro I, it was the head of a King who chose Seville as the main residence of his court and his usual space for reprisals and revenge. Furthermore, although five centuries after his death, the king was buried in the Seville Cathedral.
History tells us that his head was paraded, after his death, around the castles and cities that remained faithful to their cause. This ‘notice’ was the work of his bastard brother, and King after his death, Enrique de Trastámara. This fraternal confrontation also triggered the events that concern us now.
The King Don Pedro was walking in Seville when he found with a member of the house of ‘Guzman’, followers of Enrique. The inevitable confrontation happened and Don Pedro killed the man. An elderly woman witnessed everything but was discovered shortly after when her oil lamp fell down.
The King Don Pedro promised the head of the murderer. Pedro called to the elderly woman as a witness to recognize who the culprit was. The woman took out a mirror and put it before him, «here you are,» she said.
Without further discussion, the King Don Pedro commissioned a bust of his image and kept it in a box. It was located at the street of the facts, with the only condition that was not opened until his death. After the surprise, the street was called with this name.
The original is now kept in the Pilatos House. It was replaced by another bust, which is what you can see today, in the early seventeenth century. The perpendicular street is called ‘Candilejo‘ (little oil lamp) also as a reminder of the facts. That’s where the fall of the oil lamp revealed to the old woman.
MORE Curiosities OF SEVILLE
Another material legacies of the kings of Seville can be seen throughout the city. It is the emblem NO8DO, about which we told different legends. We are going to continue to looking for curiosities of Seville to make your trips around town more special. Subscribe and do not miss anything.
In this map we will be adding the curious material traces left by the stories and legends of Seville.