Located between what is now Plaza Nueva and the Town Hall, this site was established as the “heart of the city” in the 16th century. The Plaza de San Francisco has always been a very important point in the history of Seville. For this reason, it is very unlikely that a visitor to the city will not end up in this place. Events such as the well-known autos de fe of the Holy Inquisition were held here, and to this day it is still a very important place. It is one of the main transit points for the Corpus Christi and Holy Week processions, and from here you can enjoy spectacular views of the Giralda.
If you want to learn more about this famous Sevillian monument, OwayTours recommends you to visit our guide about the Giralda of Seville; where you can learn more about its history and curiosities.
History of the Plaza de San Francisco in Seville
This enclave belongs to the first centuries of the Andalusi period, where it was built in the urban periphery, near the access gates to the city and in the vicinity of a cemetery. After the construction of an Almoravid wall, it was built in the urban interior of the city. Since then, it has undergone few changes and since the beginning of the Middle Ages it has had practically the same dimensions and trapezoidal shape that determine it today.
One of the most characteristic buildings in this area is the Town Hall or Casa Consistorial, begun by Diego de Riaño between 1527 and 1534, continued by Juan Sánchez between 1535 and 1540 and extended in the 19th century by Demetrio de los Ríos.
For centuries it was one of the city’s commercial centres. Until, in the 16th century, the famous Autos de Fe (Acts of Faith) began to take place in the square. This fact places this square as one of the most significant sites of the Inquisition in the city.
In addition, over the centuries it hosted other events such as tournaments, bullfights, masquerades, concerts and celebrations.
One of its most representative elements is the Mercury Fountain, which is currently located in front of the Bank of Spain building. But its history has been far from easy, as it has a long history and has undergone a series of changes up to the present day.
The origin of the name
The first time, in 1812, after the formalisation of the First Constitution, it was given the name of “Plaza de la Constitución”. Two years later, with the Restoration of Absolutism, it was given the name of “Plaza de Fernando VII”. After the Constitutional Triennium, in 1833, it was given the name of Isabel II.
After that, in 1873, it was renamed “Plaza de la Libertad” and “Plaza de la República” due to the uprising of the I and II Republic. In 1936, with the arrival of Francoism in our country, it was given the name of “Plaza de la Falange Española”. Finally, in 1980, it was officially given the name of “Plaza de San Francisco”, thus resorting to the popular name of this place.
How to get to the Plaza de San Francisco in Seville
The Plaza de San Francisco is located in the heart of the old town. If you want to know what to do in the city; from OwayTours we recommend you to visit our blog about Seville; where we explain the most important things to know if you are in the city.
Its access is easy, as it is located near shopping and leisure areas. It is also home to curious buildings such as the former Audiencia building (now the headquarters of the Cajasol Foundation), the Casa de María Cháfer, the Bank of Spain, the rear façade of the Casa Consistorial and the Laredo building. Some of its busiest adjacent streets are Calle Sierpes, one of the most significant and busy streets in the city due to its great commercial and tourist activity, and Avenida de la Constitución.
To get to this enclave you must follow the following transport lines:
- By bus, you can reach this destination using lines 27, 32, 37, 37, 38A, M-111, M-133, M-134, M-152.
- On train, lines C1, C3.
- By metro, line L1.
- By light rail, line T1.
Curiosities about the Plaza de San Francisco in Seville
- The Pila del Pato. The Pila del Pato is the most important public fountain in Seville, both historically, culturally, touristically and even literary. However, few know of its early origins. This fountain was first located in the southern part of the Plaza de San Francisco, in the same place where the Mercurio fountain is today, in 1979.
- The Royal Prison of Seville was also located in the Plaza San Francisco, specifically in the well-known Calle Sierpes. Illustrious prisoners of the Spanish Golden Age, such as Miguel de Cervantes, were imprisoned there, where it is said that he began to write his famous work Don Quixote.
- This square has established itself as one of the most special places every Christmas in Seville due to its amazing illumination, which makes it an attractive place for both national and international tourists. If you would like more information about other night activities to do in the city; from OwayTours we recommend you to visit our Night Tour “Secrets of Seville”; where you can enjoy legends and stories that will surprise you.
- On the corner next to the Town Hall, there is a stone cross. This is consecrated for being part of many myths and legends during its history, such as that it was the place where the souls of those executed by the Inquisition were prayed for.
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