The Alameda of Hercules is quite a long square planted with trees in the north of the historic center of the city. It is considered the second oldest public garden in Spain, after the disappeared Paseo del Prado in Madrid. It was first inaugurated in 1574.
The square is curiosly located inside the city wall, unlike the majority of the later projects of other cities, some of wich were inspired by this sevillian square.
The origins of The Alameda
We find its origins in the old watercourse of the river that crossed Seville from the north, flowing up to the area nearby the Cathedral. It is in a low area, consequently, water was accumulated next to the primitive Roman wall, later included within the city after the Almoravid expansion. At the time of the Reconquest by Fernando III, in the XIII century, it formed a little lake, known as ¨laguna de la Feria¨ .
There is a legend telling that, in Visigothic times, King Leovigild had the river that ran through the Alameda de Hércules dried up to cause a shortage of water, and with it, the surrender of his son Hermenegild.
The area was ordered to be drained with irrigation channels by the Count of Barajas . It was his idea too, to decorated with a series of fountains and some statues and rows of trees were planted.
In the XVI century, there was a current of admiration for the remains from the Roman period. Following that sort of trend, two columns were placed at one end of the square. They came probably from the neighbouring Italica, and had already been previously reused. The statues of Hercules and Julius Caesar were placed on top of them.
In spite of the maintenance works, it still suffers from flooding now and then.. It is said that during the plague epidemic of 1649, the Alameda had to be crossed by small boats, like a little Venice
Nearly two centuries after it was officially inaugurated, new improvement works were carried out. A large number of poplars were planted, new fountains were added and two new columns with lions carrying the coats of arms of Spain and Seville were placed at the opposite end of the original ones.
A quite known little palace was built in the XIX century, La Casa de Las Sirenas . It is use nowadays as a civic center and it has been witness of the flea market that, until the remodeling carried out in 2008, was held at the square every Sunday
Since this last renovation, wich did not make everybody happy, the landscape of the square has undergone a transformation, leaving something of the festive and strolling atmosphere for which it was originally conceived. It is a meeting place, with a great gastronomic and recreational offer