[Asset:190266] Since the 16th Century, the ever-sociable Sevillanos have been enjoying a stroll, or paseo, in the wide, tree lined promenade called the Alameda de Hercules. In the four hundred and some years it has existed, the Alameda has been everything from a fashionable meeting place for the upper classes to a run down area with drug and prostitution problems. Now it's one of the busiest, liveliest and most funky places in the city.
Built on the dried riverbed of part of the Guadalquivir, the Alameda gets its name from the statue of Hercules on one of the columns at its entrance. The other column is occupied by a statue of Julius Caesar, both are from the 2nd century and were relocated from elsewhere in the city. Until a few years ago, the Alameda was one of the least welcoming areas of the city.
It was the red light district, home to the homeless and those with drug problems and, to make things worse it was prone to flooding. When high tides and heavy rain caused the Guadalquivir to burst its banks much of the water found its way back to the old riverbed, causing even more havoc. But the Expo of 92 brought changes to the river that stopped the flooding and over the last six or seven years the local council have spent money on restoring this beautiful area of the city. If you visit the Alameda de Hercules today you’ll find a beautiful, clean, safe tree-line promenade, with walk through fountains to amuse the dogs, the children and, in August, everyone else too.
Everyone is here, the hippies with their dogs on an old bit of string, the Save The Sahara activists with their weekend paella cook-ins, the posh Sevillanos who come for a tapa and a cerveza and the kids playing football or riding their bikes while their mums and dads indulge in a little gossip. And in the summer there are bands playing, the music might be terrible or wonderful, but it’ll be loud. The whole area is ringed with a wide variety of bars and places to eat, everyone’s welcome. And the beer’s great!