(Leer en español) Seville is a city of tradition. Many customs are maintained throughout the centuries to endow the city with its own idiosyncrasy. Such is the case of ceramic tiles in Seville. Example of the marks that the history has left in the city.
Continuing with the stone curiosities that we have reviewed, we let’s focus this time on the ceramic. How the streets are marked with beautiful bits of history on their walls.
There are many examples of the presence of tiles in Seville. We have chosen just a few. It seems inevitable to start with one of the most charming and tiled places in the city.
Ceramic tiles in España Square of Seville
The España Square, in María Luisa Park, is the clearest representation of the importance of ceramics in Seville. After 15 years of works, the Square designed by Aníbal González was inaugurated in 1929, for the Ibero-American Exhibition.
The ceramic tiles have a major role in the ornamentation of the Square. Each of the 48 benches that occupy the whole semicircle of the Square, are decorated with tiles. It represent 46 provinces and the two Spanish archipelagos, in addition to Seville in several occasions, at the beginning and the end of each stretch of benches.
This representation is formed by ceramic puzzles, compositions created from tiles. It include the name of the province and a historic or representative scene of the area. In addition, the floor of each province bench shows a map with the most important cities at that time. You have the explanation of each one benches of the Square here.
Studebaker of tiles
The Sevillian people of any age recognize, surprisingly, a car of this brand with a century of antiquity. This is due to the tile mural that occupies Tetuan Street since 1924.
The American automobile brand commissioned this ceramic canvas in Triana. It was located in the same place that it is now, when the building was occupied by the winery ‘El Sport’. Now it houses a jewelery shop, whose owners are in talks with the Administration to undertake the necessary remodeling of the Studebaker, punished by time and vandalism.
The works of Cervantes in the tiles of Seville
Miguel de Cervantes lived several years in Seville. Hence, several stories of his works develope in the city. To commemorate the third centenary of his death, Seville wanted to pay him homage.
In 1916, 25 ceramic panels are produced and distributed by the Sevillian places that appear in the works, mainly in ‘Rinconete and Cortadillo’. Thus, there are references to episodes of this work in Betis, Adriano, Joaquín Guichot or Nuñez de Balboa streets, in the Postigo of the Alcázares (door), the Arquillo of the Town Hall (door arch), the Pan Square (bread) or in the Gates of Cathedral like Perdón Door (Forgiveness) and the Lagarto Door (Lizard)…
Other works or historical facts of the life of Cervantes are reflected in ceramic tiles in Seville. As examples, those located in the old church of the Annunciation Convent, in Sierpes Street or the former Tomás Gutiérrez Inn. Here are just some examples, you can look at all the Cervantes tiles in Seville in this article.
Sevillian Literature in the tiles in Seville
In addition to Cervantes, several authors are remembered or honored with tile compositions. Bécquer, Vicente Aleixandre, Blanco White, Cernuda, Pedro Salinas, Lope de Vega or the Machado brothers are some of the writers who are part of this collection.
These tiles make reference to the houses where they were born, they lived or died, the buildings where they studied or write works. Moreover, other tiles in Seville are situated in the scenaries of its literary passages.
Via Crucis Cruz del Campo
The Via Crucis was established in 1521, with 12 stations, departing from the Palace of the Dukes of Medinaceli and arriving at an orchard on the outskirts of the city. In 1630 the destination was changed to the Cruz del Campo, a stone cross on the outskirts of the city, symbol to encourage piety of the travelers who came to Seville.
In addition, there are supposedly 1,321 steps from the Cross to the Palace, exactly the same as from Mount Calvary to Pilato’s Praetorium. Because of this, the route was chosen as Via Crucis and the Dukes Palace is called Pilatos House today.
In 1720 two more stations would be added. Each station was a simple cross and sober tiles, but the use disappeared until forgotten. In the middle of the 20th century, the descendants of the Marquis of Taifa, impeller of the first Via Crucis, recovered this custom.
With the help of 14 Brotherhoods of Seville, they re-established the 14 tiles reflecting the Passion of Christ. However, history was repeated again with the modernization of the neighborhood of Nervión, where the Via Crucis runs, and it was forgotten.
In a last recovery attempt, the family remodeled the tiles of the Via Crucis again, maintaining it as the only urban in Spain. As we say, up to 14 tiles can be found along Luis Montoto Street, from Pilatos House up to Cruz del Campo. By the way, maybe you did not know why the Sevillian beer brand was named like this (Cruzcampo)… More information about Via Crucis in this post.
Bella Susona tiles in Seville
This ceramic tile composition is a gloomier tribute. Bella Susona was a Jewess residing in Seville at the end of the 15th century. The Jews did not have good times and Susona’s father became the leader of a conspiracy. The meetings took place in their house, so Susona had notice of his plans.
To achieve a good social position, Susona had a Christian lover of a good reputation family. Susona told him the plans that were being prepared in her house. This confession had terrible consequences, and all the Jews who were gathering were executed. Many more executions would follow after.
Repudiated by Christians and Jews, Susona had to seek a new life. There are two versions. One says that she received pardon from the Bishop and retired to a convent for years as a penance. Then she returned to have an exemplary life.
The other, says that Susona had two children with the Bishop and after of to be abandoned by him, she had a love story with a merchant.
What does seem confirmed is what her testament reflected. Tormented by her actions, Susona gave orders that her head should be separated from the body and placed on the door of her house. It was an example of the misery caused by bad acts.
The skull was hanging there for decades, in what was called Muerte Street (death), now Susona street. When the skull was removed, in its place was placed a tile that represents it and a tile plaque that tells its story. Read it to learn more about this.
Maps of curiosities in Seville
These are some examples of ceramic tiles in Seville. You can to include a tile route in your visit to the curiosities of Seville. We will continue to look for more tiles … and more curiosities. You can find all on the Curiosities Map of Seville.