Carmona is a beautiful historical town 33km north-east of Seville. Believed to be founded by the Tartessians, the town was later inhabited by the Carthaginians (Phonecians), Romans and Moors, all of whom have left their imprint.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll see when arriving by road is the bell tower of the Iglesia de San Pedro. The church is also known as the Giraldilla due to its similarity to the Giralda of Seville (my Giralda post is here).
Over the road from the church, perhaps a more famous sight is the Puerta de Sevilla, originally constructed by the Carthaginians but with Roman and Moorish modifications. I think I read somewhere the arch was already 500 years old when the Romans arrived!
The gate is part of the wall of the Alcázar de Abajo, the lower fort built by the Moors.
The tourist information is located here, and if you go in you can purchase a 2€ ticket to get into the Torre del Oro, the tower above the gate. You can click on these photos to go full screen. I particularly like the ones that caught the swallows.
I took this short video up there as well to capture the atmosphere created by the swallows.
You can get great views over the town and surrounding countryside from up here. Click on them to enlarge.
In the tower there’s a banner depicting a griffin which has become a symbol of Carmona. The image was originally found on a sixth century BC Tartessian vase, ‘El Vaso de los Grifos’, that can be seen in the local museum Museo De La Ciudad De Carmona www.museociudad.carmona.org.
From here narrow streets lead upwards to the centre of the town.
Plaza de los Abastos, the market square, is pretty, but I think I missed the market as it was very quiet.
At the top of the hill on the highest point is the Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro which is now a parador (government owned hotel in a historic building) www.parador.es.
The fort has its own imposing gate.
Many other impressive doorways are dotted around town (click to enlarge).
In the central courtyard of the town hall, the Ayuntamiento de Carmona, you can see (from a distance, behind glass) a large Roman mosaic depicting the gorgon Medusa which is in excellent condition. This blog post from the web has a better picture and some interesting archaeological information.
There are a lot more sights that I didn’t have time to check out, so another visit is required!
I was put up at the Hotel El Rincon de las Descalzas www.elrincondelasdescalzas.com, a beautiful fifteenth century palace that’s a short walk from the central square. Definitely recommended.