Seville Snapshots: The Pabellón de Navigación

Seville’s history is intertwined with the sea, despite being inland. It was here that The Catholic Kings gave Christopher Columbus permission and a couple of big boats to go find the East, and subsequently, all of the riches from the New World came through Seville on the Guadalquivir River.

During the Ibero-American Festival of 1992, the land around the Cartuja monastery was transformed into a futuristic city, where technology merged with tradition. Sadly, the city left this corner of Seville untouched for a few decades, and is now beginning to sell buildings to be recycled and re-used – and hopefully revitalize La Cartuja.

Perched on the banks of the Guadalquivir on the southern end of the complex (just opposite the Schindler elevator erected for the Expo’92), the building resembles a capsized boat, whose hull soars over you. The space hosts rotating exhibitions, as well as a permanent exhibit about Seville’s place in maritime history and what it was like to sail the seven seas. Opened in 2011, it’s a beautiful, open space, and worth a quick visit if you’re in Seville. There are plans in motion to open a small bar and offer boat rides on the river, too.

If you go: the Pabellón de la Navegación can be reached by city buses C1 or C2, or the 6, and is a 15 minute walk from Plaza de Armas. Visiting hours are, Tuesday-Saturday from 10am – 17:30 and Sundays and holidays from 10am – 15:00.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. That whole part of town has an eery feel. A stark contrast to the continuing contribution that the older pavilions from the ’29 expo make to city life in Maria Luisa park. It could be in an incredible place if it had been left in public hands. I hope it can be revitalised, one way or the other – there are some amazing buildings rotting away over there.
    robin recently posted..El ContenidoMy Profile

    • I definitely agree – there is so much wasted space out there. Hopefully the revitalization and the success of the Pabellón’s transformation will serve as a good example of what can happen with the right investors.

  2. It always broke my heart to see La Cartuja so abandonada! I really hope that some responsible investors choose to move in. Think what an amazing art/culture center it could be!
    Aimee Enders recently posted..How to become an English TeacherMy Profile

    • It really is a shame – so much can be done with it. As Robin says, the buildings from 1929 have been so wonderfully preserved and reused, and since the Cartuja is so fresh in so many sevillanos’s minds (The Novio’s included), it would benefit greatly.

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