A visit to La Isla de La Cartuja: worth it?

La Isla de La Cartuja belongs to Seville, but as a tourist it would never occur to visit the place. Me, as a person who only lives in Seville for one monthmade me wonderwhat you can do or see there since it’s not that popular. Though, if you take the typical Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour they will take you through the island. This week I decided to visit the place by foot to explore!

La Isla de La Cartuja is an island situated in the Guadalquivir River.But if we look at the facts: it isn’t technically an island since it’s not fully surrounded by water. The island got its name to the cloistered monastery Cartuja (Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas) which is located in the southern part of the island. For Sevillians it was known as the Carthusian monastery of Seville .

Before 1992, the island was secluded between two Guadalquivir river branches in the west and east side. It only became open to the public when the Expo ’92 was organised to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Discovery of America. Because of that, the river channel system changed and connected the mainland by a wide strip of land with the neighbourhood of Triana.

Today the island is full of buildings and walkways.. But there are no houses! No one lives here. Even though they had some projects in 1971 and 2004 to build houses, it never happened. The buildings are working places, companies and schools. It is very modern and has a different kind of vibe than walking in the city centre of Seville. The city district is focusing on urbanisations with new areas and commercial zones.It’s more for the local people and less for the tourists but there are a few exceptions!

How to reach?

  • Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas (Monastery of Our Lady of the Caves)

In Spanish: Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas. If you take Pasarela de La Cartuja, you immediately reach the monastery if you walk to the left. It lies in the Andalusian Centre of Contemporary Arts. Visiting the monastery is free!

The monastery was founded in 1400. Legends say that it was honeycombed with caves made by potters for ovens. Nowadays you still can see the chimney and bottle shaped kilns which used to be part of the ceramic factory in the 19th Century. It’s also said that Christopher Columbus used to live in Cartuja, somewhere in the monastery when he was planning a trip to the west (a symbol of the Expo ’92). In the gardens of CAAC, there is a statue dedicated to Christopher Columbus.

  • The Andalusian Centre of Contemporary Arts (CAAC)

In Spanish name: el Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo.It was created in 1990 as a reason of giving the local community a promotion of contemporary art.The museum offers a combination of artistic art and archaeological heritage worked into modern art. The museum also has a garden where you can find an ombu tree that was planted by the son of Christopher Columbus: Hernando. A complete visit to the museum costs € 3,01.

  • Jardin Americano

Translated as the American Garden, is a public botanic garden which belongs to the Expo ’92. Many species of different countries collaborated to bring them to Seville. Today it has 151 identified species and the park is connected to the Alamillo Park.

  • Cartuja 93, Parque Tecnológico y Científico (PCT)

Cartuja Park exists since 1993 and is built as a technological and scientific park. It reuses the showground and buildings from the Expo ’92. It consists of many enterprises, centres, schools and institutions.

  • Pavilion of Navigation

In Spanish: Pabellón de navegación. The pavilion was built for the Expo’ 92 by the architect Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra. It was used for scientific expeditions and some rooms recreated the interior of a ship in the time when Columbus was here. Today it’s used for exhibitions and it’s one of the most visited pavilions of the Expo.

  • Pavillion of the future

In Spanish: Pabellón del Futuro. Este pabellón también fue construido para la Expo'92 y fue uno de los más exitosos, pero aún está cerrado para al público.

  • Replica of the Ariane Rocket

in Spanish: Réplica del cohete Ariane. Junto al Pabellón del Futuro puede encontrar una réplica del cohete Ariane, que tiene 64 metros de altura. Se puede ver desde diferentes puntos de vista de la ciudad y es uno de los más reconocidos.

  • El Estadio Olímpico de La Cartuja

The stadium of Cartuja is the 5th largest of Spain after Camp Nou (Barcelona), Santiago Bernbeu, Wanda Metropolitano (both in Madrid) and benito Villamarín (Sevilla). It was designed for the International Olympic Committee. Today there are events such as football matches and concerts from international artists.

  • Isla Mágica

Isla Mágica is an amusement park, also constructed on the former ground of Expo ’92. The park has six themed areas and an aquatic area called Agua Mágica. If you take Puente de Barqueta, you immediately reach the park. The perfect time to have some fun and adventure!

Next to all these remains of the Expo ’92 and other sights Cartuja also offers some concerts halls (Rocío Jurado auditorium), theatres.

So, is Isla de La Cartuja worth the visit? In my opinion it depends on your interests. If you like knowing more about the Expo?’92 and its remains or abandoned buildings and places then this place is perfect for you. And if you like amusements parks, there’s no hesitation to visit the island!


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