My favourite place: Seville, Spain
In the May 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine, Kathryn Warner selects Seville, Spain as her favourite place. History Extra caught up with her to find out more...
Q: When did you last travel to Seville and why were you there?
I visited Seville and the area around it in May/June 2013, specifically to see the homeland of Edward II’s maternal family. So far it’s my only visit to Andalusia, but I can’t wait to go back, and next time I’d love to visit the town of Granada with its magnificent Moorish palace of the Alhambra as well.
Q: Why do you love the location?
I love Seville for its glorious hot sunny weather and for the fascinating Arabic influence, which is so apparent even today. Andalusia was under North African Muslim rule for the best part of 800 years, and the town of Córdoba near Seville was their greatest glory, with its stunning eighth-century mezquita (mosque).
Q: What top 3 sights would you recommend people visit there, and why?
Seville Cathedral, the second-largest church in Europe, with its wonderful Giralda tower, a symbol of the city; the Alcázar or royal palace, a Moorish fort luxuriously rebuilt by King Pedro the Cruel in the 14th century, with extensive and gorgeous gardens; and the mezquita-cathedral in Córdoba, an easy train ride away and one of the great buildings of Europe.
Q: During what period of its history would you most wanted to have visited this location and why?
I’d love to have visited Seville in the Middle Ages, when both under Muslim and later under Christian rule adherents of all three Abrahamic religions lived together mostly peacefully. This ended in the late 15th century when the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella brought in the Spanish Inquisition and forced Jews and Muslims to convert or flee.
Q: Where else in the world would you most like to visit and why?
I’m writing a biography of Richard II and would love to visit the gorgeous historic city of Prague, birthplace of his queen Anne of Bohemia. Charles Square, named after Anne’s father Emperor Charles IV, is one of the biggest city squares in the world, and I can’t wait to see the ancient Hradčany district and St Vitus’s Cathedral.
Kathryn Warner is author of Edward II: The Unconventional King (Amberley, 2014) and Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen (Amberley, 2016).