This past week I have been really busy being a tourist. Through the school where I take spanish classes, they also provide many cultural and education activities that occur todos los dias (every day). This past week I had the opportunities to visit many historical places in Sevilla. The first was the Igelsia Del Hospital de la Santa Caridad.
I was told this was “posiblemente la iglesa mas bonita de Sevilla” (Possibly the most beautiful church in Sevilla). However, we know that I have seen my fair share of churches in my travels. So I honestly wrote this church off to be like any other ancient Catholic church I have seen. OH I WAS WRONG.
The outside: See not very impressive
The Alter: HOLY COW!
Santa Caridad is located muy cerrca (very close) to the river Guadalquivir. The sanctuary is actually about 10 feet above the ground because of the river flooding. Some of you may have noticed that this church is also called a “Hospital” as well. This doesn’t mean like a full functioning hospitals with doctors and nurses. This was a place where dead bodies from the river were brought to be buried (I guess a lot of people didn’t know how to swim back in the day). Years later, and once people learned how to swim, the hospital part became a place where homeless people could live, eat, and receive some form of health care. This was all made possible by Don Miguel Manara, who donated his family fortune to the church after his father, his wife, and his oldest brother died. Miguel went on a world tour after these deaths and came to the conclusion that he had more valuables than most and it was his duty to give to others. So he joined the “brotherhood” at Santa Caridad and donated his fortune to help those in need. The only condition he had with this donation was that he be buried up by the alter with the words “the worst sinner” on his grave (Our guide Javi only told us that he like a lot of ladies…). Since Miguel’s time, the church is still a place for homeless people to live, many of the people we saw there were older men. My host mom told me that that brotherhood and hospital are still functioning with private donations.
Don Miguel Mañara himself.
There are many amazing paintings in the church, all of them having the same theme of helping others who are in need.
There was also many examples of Baroque artwork:
Later that week, we took a little trip outside Sevilla to a small town called Italica. It’s about 9 KM outside of Sevilla and contains some sweet Roman ruins. It would be an understatement that to say that I was excited. I was BEYOND excited to see some REAL ACTUAL ROMAN RUINS. My friends and I successfully navigated the Sevillian bus system (Again Sevillian transportation isn’t always reliable…a continuing lesson I am learning). We manage to successfully get in for free (YAY for fake student ID cards!), and we were free to roam the ruins. En serio (Really). There were little to one actual guard in the whole place. Let’s just say I took advantage of that (See photos below).
So you all are probably wondering why there is a random area where the Romans settled. During the Roman conquest, Mr. Hardiran decided to leave some of his peeps in Spain after a fight with the Spaniards, and they settled the land. At first they didn’t have much power all the way in Rome, but slowly families began growing that Italica grew and gained seats in the government in Rome. Then lucky little Italica had two consecutive Emporers elected into power. Things were going well, but once those two Emperors were done ruling, Italica slowly lost power in the government. Then they slowly lost their people back to Rome. Then the most of the town relocated to various other places, and people began to pillage the town to reuse material. Fast forward to 1910, and the Spaniards discovered the Roman ruins and began excavating. However, these archeologists weren’t working to discover history, they were working to find items for their own private collections. It wasn’t until 1912 that Italica became a historical reserve and any excavating that is done is for historical purposes.
Although it was unbelieveably hot (again, another great reason for siestas), I loved the ruins. As you can tell I broke many rules and probably shouldn’t be allowed into ANY form of historical monument with my behavior. Although the ruins weren’t as well preserved as other, it still showed a lot of evidence of the Roman culture and gave a very clear look into the Roman life during that time in Italica.
Don’t worry chaps! I have more to come! Like I said I played tourist ALL weekend in Granada!