Carmona (population 29,000) is a vibrant and charming market-town just 30 kilometres from Seville, 15 minutes from the airport and 25 from Seville´s main railway station, Santa Justa, and is located on the motorway that goes from Seville to Madrid. The town retains many of the charms of small-town Spain and its splendid architectural and cultural legacy – over 30 feature films have been shot here taking advantage of its rich blend of medieval and modern elements – makes it very popular with tourists.
One of the most scenic and emblematic towns in the province – and said to be the oldest town in Spain with a continuous population base – Carmona has been dominated at various times by Phoenecian, Visagoth, Roman and Arab invaders. Called Karmo by the Romans and Qarmuna by the Moorish invaders, Carmona is located high above the fertile surrounding plains, and its strategic military importance is best reflected in the impressive Gate of Seville fortress, dating to the 9th century BC, or to the Alcazar castle, now home to one of the best Parador hotels in Spain.
Carmona´s Latin motto SICVT LVCIFER LVCET IN AURORA, ITA IN VANDALIA CARMONA (“As the morning-star shines at Dawn, so shines Carmona in Andalusia”) gives a clue to the town´s rich and varied history, amply reflected in its wide range of monuments (the Roman necropolis, amphitheatre, the Gate of Seville fortress, the Puerta de Cordoba, Santa Maria church, numerous convents, churches and palace houses…).
Carmona has been described as the jewel in the provincial crown. King Philip IV granted Carmona the status of a city in 1630, Miguel de Cervantes of “Don Quixote” fame lived here while preparing provisions for the Spanish Armada, the founder of the university of Seville was born here, the Statutes forming the regional government of Andalusia were written and signed in the Parador hotel here in 1981…
To get a better idea of what the town is like, you might like to try the following:
Local festivals include a pilgrimage the first Sunday of September, the novena, 9 days devoted to the local patron saint la virgin de Gracia, again at the beginning of September, the carnival in early spring, a great Easter Semana Santa or holy week, and the spring fair in May.
Carmona has all you would expect of a Spanish market town. It has five hotels, loads of bars and restaurants, a theatre and cinema, good sports facilities (including two public swimming pools, a tennis club, four gyms, etc., ). The Pablo de Olavide university (based in Seville, with 11,000 students) has run summer courses here since 2003…
It´s a good place to learn or improve your Spanish, it´s safe, and far cheaper to live in than the bigger cities. A two-bedroomed flat, for example, costs around 350 euros. There are buses to and from Seville every hour and two buses a day leave for Cordoba.