We will talk in this article about one of the mandatayr stops in our Free Tour in Santa Cruz: the Patio de Banderas. Firstly, we will say that the origin of its name comes from a group of flags that were painted on the door that gives access from Plaza del Triunfo.
This place was used as the stable of the Alcázar, as it was located between the palace and the city, where the cars were kept inside the exit door of the Alcázar. Years later, it became a residential area; and today, all these houses are occupied by companies, offices and associations.
In the excavations carried out a few years ago, some remains were discovered that are believed to belong to a Christian basilica, probably the oldest in the city. From the far end of the square you can see one of the most beautiful views of the Giralda, along with the wall of the Alcázar.
From the Patio de Banderas you enter the old Jewish quarter. It is said that up to 2,000 Jews lived there. As they had important jobs, high positions in society, etc., some Christians began to fear that they would eventually acquire too much power. One of the first conflicts took place as a result of the plague of 1348. Jewish doctors converted the synagogues into hospitals, which caused that, given the better hygienic conditions that the Jews had, it affected the Jewish quarter less than the Christian area. This caused the Christians to think that the Jews had poisoned their water. In 1370, King Enrique II ordered Jews to wear a distinctive mark to differentiate them from Christians. At the end of the 14th century the conflict against the Jews became even more radical. In fact, the first attack against a Jewish quarter in Spain took place here in Seville in 1391. After this attack, most of the Jewish population converted to Christianity. Only about 60 families remained practicing the Jewish religion.
The definitive expulsion of the Jews took place in the year 1483, so the first years after that year the neighborhood was practically empty and its streets became zones of vices, prostitution, a lot of alcohol and other activities of dubious morality. The situation only gradually improved over time. At the beginning of the 19th century, with the arrival of the French occupation, Mateos Gago Street and Plaza de Santa Cruz were opened in order to improve the neighborhood. Currently, the Santa Cruz neighborhood is a fairly economic neighborhood, very touristy and very safe.
If you want to discover more about other beautiful monuments in our city, check our Free Walking Tours in Seville.