Alameda de Hércules, Seville

The Alameda de Hércules (Hercules mall), or simply La Alameda, is a garden square. Built in 1574, it was originally a promenaded public garden, named after the eight rows of white poplar trees (álamos in Spanish) that fill its central part. Located in the northern half of the city's casco antiguo (historic center), between the Guadalquivir River and the Macarena neighbourhood, it was the oldest public garden in Spain and Europe.

Before its urban transformation, Alameda square was a fragment of the easternmost branch of the Guadalquivir River. It crossed the city center via Alameda towards Plaza Nueva, eventually ending in the El Arenal neighborhood. After it was cut off by a dam in 1383, the river basin turned into a swampy pond fed by the aquifer and frequent rises of the river.

In 1574, the Count of Barajas further drained the water, building irrigation channels and fountains, and planting lines of waterside white poplar trees. Four columns were placed to mark off a promenade through the trees. In the beginning, it was planned to take four columns from the remains of the Roman temple of Mármoles street, believed to be dedicated to Hercules. However, when moving the third column it fell apart, leaving the work temporarily unfinished. Consequently, the two columns at the southern end of the square are from the original Roman temple, whereas the northern columns are modern reproductions. As the culmination of this project, two sculptures were placed atop the two southern columns: Hercules (mythological founder of Seville) and Julius Caesar (referred to as the restorer of the city during Roman rule). In the second half of the eighteenth century, two additional statues of lions with shields, representing Seville and Spain, were placed on the northern columns.

Monuments and buildings

Apart from the Roman columns that head the promenade, some other notable features are located in La Alameda.

On its western side is found the Casa de las Sirenas (literally, "mermaid's house") a 19th-century French-inspiration palace that is used today as a civic center hosting expositions, workshops, classes, and cultural activities for the neighborhood.

Placed at the northern end, the chapel of Nuestra Señora del Carmen y Cruz del Rodeo is an important landmark in the neighborhood. It was an important source of inspiration for José Zorrilla's play Don Juan Tenorio, since here is the convent where the saintly Doña Inés was cloistered.

Also quite close to the Alameda on the street dedicated to the restorer of La Alameda, the Count of Barajas (Conde de Barajas), is the house where the romantic writer Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was born.

This text is based on a Wikipedia article written by contributors under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

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  Alameda de Hércules, s/n, 41002 Sevilla, Spain
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