Barrio Santa Cruz – An Overview
Seville was known as Híspalis under Roman rule and the original settlement was located where the Barrio de Santa Cruz now stands. The city was once walled and was confined to, in the east, by the Puerta de la Carne, and to the south, by the Plaza del Triunfo. The cardo maximus (or great Roman road) once passed through the current Abades and Don Remondo streets.
Within the walls of the Alcázar, you will find the famous Patio de Banderas, or the Patio of Flags, so-called because of the flags that were painted on the gate of the wall through which it is accessed. In the 1970s archaeological remains of a Christian basilica that could be from the fourth century, were found at this site.
In the 11th century, the palace of al-Zahir was built in front of the citadel, which was fortified like a castle and had high towers. Closer to the Guadalquivir river, the smaller palace of al-Zahi was built as well. But the largest of all the palaceswithin the city walls was the al-Mubarak. This most opulent of the palaces would become the Alcazar centuries later. Alfonso X took advantage of the space in the main building to build the Gothic palace.
After the reconquering of the city in 1248 the Jewish population settled in the neighborhoods of Santa Cruz and San Bartolomé, and their cemetery was located between Calle Cano y Cueto and Paseo Catalina de Ribera. Some of the inhabitants of the Jewish quarter of Seville were very close to the kings of Castile and held very influential positions within the court. It was the second most important Jewish community in Spain, after Toledo.
Three of the cities mosques were re-purposed as synagogues. But after an anti-Jewish revolt of 1391 these temples became Christian places or worship. The synagogues were demolished and the churches of San Bartolomé, Santa María la Blanca, and Santa Cruz were built. After the French invasion of Seville in 1810 the church of Santa Cruz was demolished.
The Plaza de Santa Cruz was renovated in 1918 by Juan Talavera y Heredia, placing in the center the Cruz de la Cerralería, from the 17th century.