Spain through the looking glass

Photo(s) of the week 2: Sevillanía

with 4 comments

Street sign: Duque de Cornejo

My favourite part of Seville at the moment is a dense thicket of laneways which straddles the frontier between the shadowy old town parishes of San Julian and Santa Marina.

cornejo_IMG_3730These Marches are not the most glamorous barrio in all of old Seville. There are no renaissance palaces skulking around here and you won’t stumble upon many vintage boutiques or cosily secretive bars. The zone does, however, a certain mysterious elegance.

If I had to pick a favourite street in these dense woods, it would probably be the wonderfully named Duque Cornejo – wonderfully named because “Cornejo” is very similar to the Spanish word for rabbit (conejo) so that I can’t help but think the lane must have an association with some long-dead Duke of Rabbits.

Duque y Cornejo was actually a good-but-not-great local sculptor who carved virgins and saints in grotesque high baroque. The lovely street that now bears his name is, by contrast, a model of simplicity. It’s also everything a street in the old town of Seville should be. Quiet and cobblestoned, the way is choked with the ghosts of powdery Jewish alchemists and failed Italo-Spanish conquistadors. Or so I like to imagine.

Duque Cornejo is not the easiest of Seville streets to find. It slinks off by a pharmacy near the church of San Julian then strolls along for five minutes or so before ducking out into the brightness of straight-spined San Luis. Only the eastern end is accessible to cars: near Calle San Luis it ceases being a street and – after a mischievous little kink– slims down to become the narrowest of alleys. This means it’s quite useless for vehicles but a paradise for two-wheelers and flâneurs.


There’s not a great deal to actually see on Duque Cornejo; you’ll spot a new age studio offering up esoteric therapies and the street’s grandest residence (number 22) with its doorways fit for a stagecoach. Then there’s the dusty grocery store on the corner of Bordador Rodríguez Ojeda and the kitsch photo wall at number 17 where the residents have also created an installation dedicated to the vicissitudes of fortune.cornejo5

What I like most about this street, though, is its series of surreptitious turns. These gradual and apparently unnecessary veerings – they are far too subtle to be called bends or twists – leave you with the sensation that you have departed the tedious terrain of cartography and are now tracing the curve of the earth, or perhaps traipsing the banks of some long-vanished stream.

I love Duque Cornejo most in the dead of night when it’s bathed in an orange sodium glow and when people emerge in the mid-distance mysterious as figures in a Venetian fog. But I also love it just as it was last week when, in the lightest of early morning mists, the bells of sad Santa Marina began tolling behind me and the brighter twinkling of San Julian answered from further on up the road.


Written by georgemills25

December 3, 2012 at 10:52

Posted in seville, Spain

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4 Responses

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  1. Must travel… soon.

    Richard Parris

    December 3, 2012 at 11:02

  2. What about the river access?


    December 4, 2012 at 09:46

    • Oh Brett. I couldn’t include it! I was too embarrassed after you three almost laughed me all the way home…


      December 4, 2012 at 22:13

      • ..but now we all want to hear about it!


        December 5, 2012 at 00:26

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