Seville is the 2,200 year old capital and largest city of Andalusia and, as of 2011, has 703,000 municipal and 1.5 million metro occupants. The Old Town, at 2 square miles, is the third largest in Europe and features three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Seville harbour is fifty miles from the Atlantic Ocean and the sole river port in the country. Seville sits in the fertile Guadalquivir River valley and is 23 feet above sea level. After establishing the city the Romans called it Hispalis, then it was named Ishbiliya by the Muslims in 712. It was finally made a part of the Christian Kingdom of Castille by Ferdinand III in 1248. After the Americas were found, Seville emerged as the economic heart of the Spanish Empire due to the monopoly of its port on trans-oceanic trade and entered a cultural golden age, continuing to flower well into the 17th century. The oldest known name for Seville is Spal and could have meant “lowland” in the Pheonician language.
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