Travel to Spain: Carmona
Carmona is a town of 25,000 people hardly 15 miles northeast of Seville. Like many small towns, it's easy to overlook, easier to deal with than a city, and in some ways every bit as informative.
Sharply delimited on the north, Carmon's skyline is punctuated by the steeples of the Church of Santiago and the Church of Santa Maria La Mayor. That church stands on the site of a mosque that was the city center between 713 and 1247, when Spanish Carmona was Arab Qarmuna.
An Alcazar, or castle, stand at the southwestern corner of the old city. The Carthaginians wrapped a wall around Carmona, and it was solid enough that Julius Caesar considered Carmona the best-defended city in Betica. The present castle has both Carthaginian and Roman elements but dates primarily to the 14th century reign of Peter I of Castile.
Certainly this part of the castle is a post-Roman construction: the evidence is in the horseshoe arches over the Seville Gate.
Outside the gate, the Seville Road is called San Pedro street, from the church on the left. Most of the modern city of Carmona lies this way; it's at least five times as large as the old city.
Within the casco antiquo, or old city, there are some comparatively modern big buildings on the Plaza de San Fernando. This was the site of the Roman forum, and the plaza was also the intersection of the cardo and decumanus, the Roman survey guide-lines (north-south, east-west) that formed the framework for the city's streets, which are still roughly gridded.
Two blocks to the east is the town market. The church in the background is that of El Salvador, built in the 18th century. The previous church on the site was destroyed by the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
Narrow as most of them are, the streets of the old city remain approximately gridded.
They're also clean enough to give the Swiss a run for their money.
Maintenance is scrupulous.
Even the water used to clean a patio drains off in a smart straight line.
Islamic influences linger, for example in tiles, or azulejos
Tile highlights the wrought-iron entrance gate to a residential courtyard.
Azalejos trim facades.
Even a simple door can be proud in an austere way.
A serious door, this to the Church of San Bartolome.
The entrance to the Lasso de la Vega mansion, built about 1600.
The courtyard of the Vega mansion is shaded by a canopy against the summer sun.
The old city has a few derelict properties.
Most of the time, someone's at work restoring them.
* Australia's Northern Territory * Austria * Bangladesh * Belgium * Brazil (Manaus) * Burma / Myanmar * Cambodia (Angkor) * Canada (B.C.) * China * Czech Republic * Egypt * France * Germany * Greece * Hungary * India: Themes * Northern India * Peninsular India * Indonesia * Israel * Italy * Japan * Jerusalem * Jordan * Kenya * Laos * Kosovo * Malaysia * Mexico * Morocco * Mozambique * Namibia * Netherlands * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * Philippines * Poland * Portugal * Singapore * South Africa * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Syria * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad * Turkey * United Arab Emirates * United Kingdom * U.S.: East * U.S.: West * U.S.: Oklahoma * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * West Bank * Yemen * Zimbabwe *