The Seville of Carmen

Did you know that Seville is also known for the famous opera “Carmen”? It became internationally popular and is a stage play that still happens today. The image of her appeals many visitors to the city. Now, who was she? Was she a real person? And what are the connections between the girl and Seville? Let’s find out.

Carmen is the name of an opera played in 4 acts. She is a fictionally character, written in a novella by Prosper Mérimée. Though, the opera was written by the French author Georges Bizet. The first première in 1875 wasn’t a great success, the reviews were negative too. Bizet died in the same year and never knew how popular Carmen was going to be in the next following years..  

The story of Carmen got revived and it was for the first time translated in the 19th Century. It became popular in countries such as Austria, France, Belgium, Hungary, Sweden, United Kingdom and even in America in the city New York!

Carmen is a tragic love story full of dramatic scenes played in a romantic setting. The character Carmen was known as the Gypsy girl of the city. She worked in an enormous tobacco factory and her personality was the most provoked and voluptuous of all the tobacco girls.

The play starts in the 19th Century, in Seville. One day she’s taking a break from to work to smoke a cigarette. There she sees the handsome Don José who was a former soldier. They both fall madly in love with each other. Later Carmen goes to Lilas Pastia, a tavern where she is dancing and having the time of her life. Her eyes meet a toreador (a bull fighter) named Escamillo. They both can feel the tension. Carmen stayed with José and Escamillo fighted for her love. Eventually, she reveals her love for him too and leaves José. Don José is crazy in love with her and doesn’t accept this. He begs for her love but she refuses. At the end, he stabs her dead with a knife of jealousy outside the bullring and at the same time Escamillo that just killed a bull.

One of the most recognisable opera melodies is Habanera. It’s the first moment when Carmen appears on stage and starts to sing. She makes it clear that love isn’t for her than just a game but eventually, she did fall in love of course!


There are still some sights that can be seen or visited in Seville that connects the story of Carmen.

  • The Tobacco Factory (Real Fábrica de Tabacos)

Today the Tobacco Factory is the University of Seville, where the office of the rector and different faculties are situated now. The building dates back from the 18th Century and in the factory there were 10.000 employees. The complex consisted of an own prison, a day-care centre and a courthouse.

  • Lilias Pastia

The tavern used to be located in Calle Maria Padilla, next to the university. It was the place where she danced and met Escamillo. In the classic tale, the tavern is situated in Triana.

  • Callejon de Agua en Santa Cruz

Callejon de Agua or Water Alley is one of the streets where Carmen also danced. It’s 140 metres long starting at Plaza de Alfaro and ending at Calle Vida. It adjoins to one of the walls from Alcazar.

  • Puerta de Jerez

On this place Carmen had a fight with the tobacco girls. It used to be one of the main accesses through the city walls. Today it’s one of the main pedestrians squares of the city.

  • Real Maestranza

Mostly known as Plaza de Toros is the bull ring where Carmen lost her life and Escamillo loses her but wins the bull fight at the same time. It was built in 1733 out of wood. Today it has almost 13.000 seats and it contains a Bull fighting museum.

  • Paseo de Colón

This stop is a little extra! On this walkway you can find the statue of Carmen, the cigar maker (Carmen La Cigarrera), sculptured by Sebastián Santos carried out in bronze in 1973. His niece dressed up as a cigar maker to pose for the statue.

If you want to know more about this famous opera, the fighting girls and the cigarettes or want to walk these curious corners of Seville with a guide, don’t hesitate to contact us at and we will prepare a personal route for you!