TRIANA NEIGHBORHOOD IN SEVILLE

Triana is probably the most emblematic neighborhood in Seville. On the other side of the river with respect to the rest of the city, it has managed to preserve certain features that have given it its own idiosyncrasy and identity within a deeply Sevillian character.

You cannot say that you know Seville well if you have not been to Triana. In fact, despite being outside what was the walled city of the city, a good part of the neighborhood belongs to the Historical Complex of the city, in recognition of its heritage and monumental values. But what makes the visit more essential is that the ways of life of a Sevillian neighborhood have been more clearly preserved here.

In the day-to-day life of its people, belonging to Seville is intermingled with development in an environment that functions largely autonomously. It is like living in a big city and in a smaller one, more of a town, at the same time.

The origins of the neighborhood

As a basis for this idiosyncrasy, we have sought to find a remote origin, even legendary, in the Triana neighborhood. In this way, if Seville was founded by Hercules when he went up the Guadalquivir in one of his trips, it is said that what the hero was looking for was the goddess Astarte, with whom he had fallen deeply in love. This she, fleeing from him, took refuge on the other bank of the river, founding Triana there.

With this popular legend, Triana equaled Seville itself in antiquity and illustrious foundation. There have been other somewhat more orthodox attempts to trace the neighborhood’s past to antiquity. The most widespread is the etymological explanation of its name as a derivation of Traiana, in reference to Trajan, the 2nd century Roman emperor born in nearby Italica. This could refer to a first settlement in this area during this reign.

Other theories suggest that the name had resulted from the fusion of the Latin element tri (three) with the Celtiberian amna (river), alluding to the fact that the river was divided into three arms in this area. If the toponymy of the neighborhood dates back to such an ancient age, it seems more likely that it comes from trans amnem, which would mean “on the other side of the river”. It would be an origin similar to that of the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere, from the Latin trans Tiberis, “on the other side of the Tiber”.

There are authors who have raised hypotheses that even trace the origin of the neighborhood beyond Trajano, to the time of Augustus. Strabo mentions that he made a distribution of lands among the legionaries who had accompanied him in his wars in the north of the Peninsula and that he settled them around 19 BC. in Baitis, a city next to Hispalis. It has been wanted to see there a possible origin of Triana, as a differentiated Roman foundation from Seville.

However, the truth is that so far archaeological excavations have only been able to trace the origin of the neighborhood to the Middle Ages, specifically to the Muslim era, with the oldest testimonies around the 12th century.

Before, there may have been scattered houses in the area and small centers of artisan production, linked to the cultivation of the lands of the fertile Triana valley or fishing activities in the Guadalquivir. However, the appearance of a population nucleus as such seems to have occurred already in Islamic times and was mainly linked to two events.

The first of these was the construction in 1171 of the so-called Puente de Barcas, by order of the Almohad caliph Yusuf I. It was the first bridge that the city had and the only one until 1852 when the current bridge of Elizabeth II, seven centuries later. It was what is known as a floating bridge, consisting of ten boats linked with chains on which there were two wooden platforms that joined both platforms. It was a functional structure, although logically quite unstable and subject to the rising of the river. In any case, it served to ensure the supply of the city from the Aljarafe and surely was an incentive for the growth of the population in Triana.

A SIDE DOOR OF THE CHURC OF SAIN ANEE IN TRIANA

A CERAMIC ALTARPIECE WITH THE ‘NAZAREENO DE LA O’

PUREZA STEERT

THE MONTALVAN HOUSE AND CERAMICS IN TRIANA

Shortly after, and probably to allow the defense of the new infrastructure, the castle was ordered to be built, which in Christian times would be known as Castillo de San Jorge, in the place now occupied by the Triana market. The first nucleus of the neighborhood was then developed around the Altozano. The improvement in communications and security brought about by the new constructions would soon cause a demographic growth in the area, with the consent of other industries that had a larger and cheaper space here than on the other side of the river.

The first of these was the construction in 1171 of the so-called Puente de Barcas, by order of the Almohad caliph Yusuf I. It was the first bridge that the city had and the only one until 1852 when the current bridge of Elizabeth II, seven centuries later. It was what is known as a floating bridge, consisting of ten boats linked with chains on which there were two wooden platforms that joined both platforms. It was a functional structure, although logically quite unstable and subject to the rising of the river. In any case, it served to ensure the supply of the city from the Aljarafe and surely was an incentive for the growth of the population in Triana.

Shortly after, and probably to allow the defense of the new infrastructure, the castle was ordered to be built, which in Christian times would be known as Castillo de San Jorge, in the place now occupied by the Triana market. The first nucleus of the neighborhood was then developed around the Altozano. The improvement in communications and security brought about by the new constructions would soon cause a demographic growth in the area, with the consent of other industries that had a larger and cheaper space here than on the other side of the river.

In this way, we know that from a very early time there were numerous pottery kilns. During the first centuries of the Muslim Isbiliya, the potters settled mainly around the south of the Avenida de la Constitución and Puerta de Jerez. With the expansion of the palace area of ​​the Alcázar and its annexed fortifications, the transfer of these activities to a place further away from the center was encouraged and it was then that many settled in Triana. You have to think that pottery was at that time a fairly polluting industry. Constant activity furnaces were necessary with the consequent smoke, which the city rulers did not want near their residences.

It seems that they settled mainly between the current streets of Pureza and Rodrigo de Triana, as has been verified archaeological in several points. For example, at number 98 of this second street, very close to the church of Santa Ana, an excavation in 2004 documented the existence of a potter’s workshop from the Almoravid period (12th century), with several firing ovens. The pottery activity and its consequent ceramic derivation are in this way linked to the neighborhood from its origins.

Also around this time the so-called cava was excavated, which coincided with the layout of the current Pagés del Corro. It consisted of a kind of channel or hollow that bordered the neighborhood in its eastern part, trying to protect it from the constant floods of the Guadalquivir. With this route, which was probably made taking advantage of the previous channel of an arm of the river, it was a question of channeling the water avoiding floods, an objective that we know was not always achieved.

Triana was the fundamental scene of the Christian conquest of Seville. To the south, in Tablada, one of the main siege camps was located. In addition, the final blow in favor of the Castilians was the destruction of the Barcas bridge in 1248. In this way, the main communication and supply route to the city was interrupted, since all the food and products from Aljarafe entered here. Isbiliya had to surrender shortly after.

Already in Christian times, the Barcas bridge is rebuilt and the population center around the castle of San Jorge is maintained. We know that families even lived within it and that some of them were Jewish. Inside the chapel of San Jorge was built, which can be considered the first parish that there was in Triana.

RECREATION OF THE CASTLE OF SAN JORGE AND THE BRIDGE OF BARCAS

At the end of the 15th century, the seat of the court of the Spanish Inquisition in Seville was established in the castle of San Jorge, so it is certain that numerous stories of prison and torture were framed within its walls. This headquarters was kept in Triana for more than three centuries, until it was finally demolished at the beginning of the 19th century to locate the Market on its site, which with numerous reforms has reached the present day.