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Carmona's Roman Necropolis

© By Mike Keenan

  The first major town east of Seville, its old quarter located on a low hill overlooking a fertile plain, Carmona is a picturesque town armed with a 15th century tower built in imitation of Seville's Giralda. Carmona shares a similar history to Seville, and was an important Roman city. Pedro the Cruel built a palace within its castle, employed as his royal country residence. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1504, the Alcazar del Rey Pedro dominates the town's ridge with the massive ruins of Pedro's palace, now operating as a Parador.
     Puerto de Sevilla, a gateway in the Moorish city walls, serves as the entrance to the town. It leads to the historic part of the city. Within the wall, narrow streets wander amidst Mudejar churches and Renaissance mansions. The Plaza San Fernando is tiny, dominated by Moorish buildings and there is a fruit and vegetable market here. The town hall dates from the 18th century and in its courtyard are weathered Roman mosaics.
     Santa Maria, a stately Gothic church built over the former main mosque, retains an elegant patio. It is topped by an historic Mudejar tower, part of the original minaret still observable.
     Just outside Carmona lies a Roman necropolis on a low hill amidst cypress trees and containing more than nine hundred family tombs dating from the second century BC to the fourth century AD.
     A site museum displays some of the items found in the graves including statues, glass and jewelry. Enclosed in subterranean chambers hewn from the rock, tombs are often frescoed and contain a series of niches in which many of the funeral urns remain intact.
     Some larger tombs provide vestibules with stone benches used for funeral banquets. Several retain carved family emblems. There are mosaics and a partly excavated amphitheatre.
     Carmona is a quick stop but well worth a visit especially for its history.


Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review. Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine. His work is found in QMI published dailies such as the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, London Free Press, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun.

Photo Credits
Karyn Keenan

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Tourism Carmona: http://www.andalucia.com/province/sevilla/carmona/home.htm
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmona,_Spain

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