National Geographic : 1929 Mar
VOL. LV, No. 3 WASHINGTON MARCH, 1929 THE MAGAZI] IE COPYRIGHT.1929. BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY.WASHINGTON D. C. . IN THE UNITED STATES AND GREATBRITAIN SEVILLE, MORE SPANISH THAN SPAIN The City of the Ibero-American Exposition, Which Opens This Spring, Presents a Tapestry of Many Ages and of Nations Old and New BY RICHARD FORD American Consul, Seville I HE most Spanish of Spain" is the way Seville is described by the majority of visitors who travel down from Madrid and up from Cadiz and come to a brief halt in this famed town of southern Spain, capital of ancient Andalusia, sun-swathed city of splotched shadows, where encroaching mo dernity seems ever to struggle futilely against the strongly entrenched, if slightly crumbling, glory of long ago. And perhaps those folk who are wont thus to describe Seville are right. Prob ably nowhere else in all the Iberian Pen insula does one come upon more definite traces of that luxuriant flower that was Old Spain than in this city of a quarter of a million souls, which straggles along the banks of the slow-moving Guadal quivir River. In Madrid, in Barcelona, in other thriv ing cities of the north and east, one is in Spain, to be sure; but a Spain revivified, cosmopolitan, commercialized. In the high interior, from Caceres to Castell6n, one likewise knows Spain; but it is a rural Spain, a credulous, cradled Spain, where the simple beauties of blue skies and ver dant hillsides are somehow transmitted to one's daily life (see map, page 314). And in the mountain-top towns of the south, crumbled outposts of Moslem might, one finds the Spanish influence still strangely subdued by moldering remnants of the once far-flung Moorish empire. But in Seville, now scintillating, now sleepy, is discovered a Spain not of the drowsing past, nor yet of the bustling present; it is an indiscriminate mingling of both. Abiding through the centuries here on sun-swept slopes, the city has built for itself a dwelling place of traditions; but they are not a high wall hedging it about. Seville takes pride in her glorious past, treasures it, becomes frankly arro gant about it at times; but her chief love is life and the living of it. Her lichen-covered churches she holds inviolate. Not one cobweb may be re moved, nor a single crumbling block of hand-hewed stone be remortared; but, across a well-paved avenue, a steel-fab ricated office building must incorporate every convenience of the modern builder's art. SEVILLE'S HISTORY IS AS COLORFUL AS HER SHAWLS Laden donkeys may, and do, wander willy-nilly through every downtown thor oughfare, but the driver of a limousine must keep his eyes open for "one-way street" signs and his ears alert for the traffic officer's whistle.