The thesis defended by Saavedra and Mélida on the Roman origin of the walled enclosure of Seville has already been rejected, of which sections like the one of the Macarena or the one of the Valley are conserved, is rejected, it tends to follow the affirmation of Gómez Moreno on the Almohad character of the Wall. Juan de Mata Carriazo warned that the towers of the Macarena were massive up to the height of the walkway and from there the rampart gives way to a strip of bricks, which is repeated in the battlements, and the development of the vaults and other elements of architectural articulation. For Mata Carriazo the two parts are from the same period and justify the change of approach in the impossibility of the use of wall in the upper part for the required purposes.
Currently, the hypothesis based on information from Arab sources asserted by recent archaeological research, that the last walled enclosure in Seville corresponds to a first work undertaken by the Almoravids, partially modified in the Almohad era, is now more accurately defined.
Following the investigations of Fernando Amores, Juan Manuel Campos and Rafael Valencia, it can be affirmed that the cause that motivated the construction of the Almoravid wall is a defensive need, as the Christians redoubled their intentions of conquest during those years. The city had grown and there were sectors foreign to the old wall that needed to be protected. The Almoravids then decided to build a new walled fence housing these hamlets and suburbs that had exceeded the old limits, leaving at the same time, probably, abundant undeveloped spaces. So much so that at the height of the city in the Almohad stage, this site will not be surpassed but in a few areas. In this way, when the reconquest takes place by Ferdinand III of Castile, only three nuclei extend beyond the walls: Triana, La Macarena (neighbourhood of much earlier existence) and the one known as Benaliofar in Christian texts, apparently a series of palatial buildings from the 12th century.
The exact dating of the Almoravid wall of Seville could be obtained with a better knowledge of the biography of Abu Bakr Muhammad 'abd Alláh b.al - Maafiri. The key is to know the deadlines between which he held the position of qadi of the city, which was when the walls were erected. The approximate date is around 1125, when the Almoravid caliph Ali b. Jusuf creates the "ta'tib" tax to build the walls of the Andalusian cities. Some authors put the chronology of the Almohad walls of Seville between this year 1125 and the attack of Alfonso VII of Castile on the city, completing by the side of the river in the years 1133 and 1134. Other data related to the biography of Abu Bakr Muhammad point the possibility that already before 1125 began to raise the wall of Seville that was completed under the decree of construction of defenses of the Andalusian cities from this date.
The Arab sources from then on give us abundant news about the wall of Seville. Al - Idrisi contemplated it before the arrival of the Almohads to the Peninsula in 1145. The wall collapsed repeatedly on the side of the Guadalquivir because of the frequent floods. Very serious damages occurred in the years 1168 and 1169, being repaired by order of the Almohad caliph Abu Ya'gub Yusuf al - Sáid. Towards year 1171 the stepped reefs by the side of the Guadalquivir and the system of doors are constructed. In the 1200, a strong flood collapses two canvases of wall by the side of the river, that later would be reconstructed.
The last addition of the wall of the Arab Seville, except for the palatial zone of the South flank of the city, takes place at the end of the Almohad stage with the construction of the Torre del Oro and the Walls that united the coracha with the rest of the city towards 1220. The following year, the barbican and the moat were built. In addition, the walls of the total perimeter of the fence are overhung to leave it at the same height as the new Almohad sector built on the banks of the river on the side of the Torre del Oro.
This chronological development was confirmed in the excavations carried out by Juan Manuel Campos and María Teresa Moreno in the Macarena Walls in May and June of 1985, before the last restoration campaign of this sector began. The original masonry canvas was discovered next to one of the towers, halfway up, proving the perfect conservation of the original Almoravid wall covering, even the lines of the formwork survived. The rest of the canvas appeared in very bad conditions, but it was clearly shown how the towers of the Almoravid work were exempt, although the raised wall canvas is continuous, also verifying this fact even in the defense towers.
Indeed, the upper part of the wall is ostensibly different from the lower one; Its mortar is of lower quality and it disintegrates easily. Also the mortar of the barbican is of poor consistency; In addition, the filling materials found in them surpass half of the 13th century. In this way the news managed by the Arab sources is ratified: on an Almoravid work from the beginning of the 12th century, a raised one is added and a barbican is placed in the Almohad period. These last operations had to be carried out in a moment of imminent danger of siege for the city, a few years before the Castilian troops were sent to the reconquest of Seville in 1248.
The walls of Seville remained practically as the Arabs left it until the end of the Middle Ages. From this moment, when the walls cease to have meaning as a method of defense, they adapt spontaneously to other uses.
A feature that took very soon was as a containment system for frequent floods. When there was a progressive rise in water, the doors were closed and caulked and even waterproofed their walls covering any mechinal, crack or hole where the liquid element could penetrate.
Also from the sixteenth century we know from the documentation that many of its towers were inhabited, especially in the area of the Macarena, this use of the wall remained as a dwelling until a few years ago, as is the case of the Torre de La Silver.
Since the bans on building were no longer supported by the wall when they lost their defensive utility, their walls served as support for a multitude of houses, warehouses and other buildings.
This fact is evident in the engravings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in the area of the Arenal, where the walls appear half hidden by houses, warehouses and gambling dens. Even many fragments of the wall are preserved thanks to the fact that they have remained as medians between buildings, inheritance of the process that we expose.
All these forms of reuse served to make the wall of Seville practically complete at the dawn of the last century. In Olavide's plan drawn up in 1771, the complete route of the wall can be verified. By Richard Ford's drawings made around 1830 it can still be seen how the old wall of Seville was preserved almost in its entirety. Even at this time the walled enclosure served as the city's fiscal belt to prevent the fraudulent entry of goods subject to taxes. Intense demolitions and large-scale losses are not gestated until the mid-century, driven by a misunderstood desire for progress and an avidity not always disinterested in the search for developable land and suitable for industrial and residential settlement. These are the famous extensions that, since the end of the 18th century, ended with numerous walled enclosures in various Spanish cities.
In the case of Seville this process takes place from 1858 with the demolition of the Barqueta Gate until 1873, when the Puerta del Sol and the surrounding wall were demolished. Until the first date the fence had only suffered a mutilation in the time of the Arjona assistant, when it made its way between the Torres del Oro and the Plata, and later the opening of a small door in Calle Linos (Feria).
The aspect that presented the wall in general in the middle of the last century was really unfortunate. In many places ruinous, full of holes and slits for the fraudulent introduction of goods, especially meat, destruction caused by frequent floods and enlarged by smugglers. In other areas, the canvases on the wall were real rubbish dumps, real manure that disfigured the city. Many degrading houses and buildings were supported by ancient canvases both outside the walls and inside walls. All these negative aspects served as support to the defenders of the demolition of the old fence, putting before the advantages of the elimination of such blemishes to the conservation of a "doubtful" monumentality, according to them, of some doors.
As of the year 1859 the discussions in this sense begin between the City council, the Commission of Monuments, the Academy of Beautiful Arts and the Economic Society of Friends of the Country. The different reports, agreements, minutes, meetings and counter-reports are very numerous and it would be very long and tedious to expose them here. Suffice it to say that after many discussions, the City Council managed to have decision-making power over the demolition of the wall except in the North sector, between the Puerta de la Barqueta and Osario. Although in the end the only thing that would be saved from this area would be the canvases of the Macarena and those of the old Convent of the Valley.
As the doors had been formed at the origins of the city's penetration routes, they were the first parts of the fence to fall, together with the adjacent exempt canvases, looking for wider streets and new zones of expansion. At the same time, as the buildings that were supported or had walls as medians were demolished or renovated, they were demolished or definitively incorporated as separation elements, thanks to which we still have enough remains today.
A fundamental historical event in the demolition of the wall of Seville was the revolution of 1868. Without a doubt, one of the first objectives of the City Council constituted after the revolution was the elimination of the old city gates with its old walls. It was, of course, an effective initiative to ingratiate himself with the bourgeois and mercantile aristocracy that had unequivocal interests in this matter. At this moment, an unbeatable opportunity was presented to undertake the demolitions of the wall, without the control that had previously been exercised by official bodies and cultural institutions. The administrative and institutional vacuum allowed a total impunity to the revolutionary City Council that had an inordinate desire to make a difference with the previous regime. The fence was considered a symbol of repression and the material element that prevented the expansion and development of the city.
From the taking of possession of the new City Council on September 20, 1868, a dizzying race of measures was undertaken to eliminate the old wall. The demolitions are not even finished, but partial demolitions are carried out until all restoration or reconstruction is irreversible. All aimed to gain time to undertake another new demolition. In sixty days, demolition campaigns are undertaken and an unprecedented amount of material is brought into the history of the city.
In short, before 1868, six doors were demolished (Real, San Juan, Barqueta, Carne, Jerez and Arenal) and a shutter (Carbón) and after that date another six doors (Triana, Osario, Carmona, San Fernando, Córdoba and Sun) and also a shutter (the street Linos), with many adjacent canvases.
At the beginning of our century, the value of the wall of Seville was raised, when it was already late. Then, specifically in 1908, the Murallas de la Macarena sector was declared a Historic - Artistic Monument. However, since then, many remains of the old fence, now in a more punctual and hidden, not at all programmatic, but real, are still eliminated, partly undoing or hiding. Hence the need for an official declaration of protection of all the preserved remains of the old wall of Seville.
Following Juan Manuel Campos, Fernando Amores and Rafael Valencia, it can be said that the city in Arab times had only two wall fences: the one inherited from the Roman era and the one built in the Almoravid period, later modified by the Almohads. This presumption is consistent with what was collected in Arab sources and is corroborated by archaeological excavations.
The Arab troops that entered Seville were found with the walls of the Roman era modified only by the Visigoths on its southeastern side, where the Basilica of San Vicente would be built. To find a mention of the walls in Arabian sources, we have to wait until the middle of the 9th century.
This is given by the destructive Norman attack on the city in the year 844, which originated a necessary reconstruction of the wall. Obviously the state of the walled enclosure must be deficient even before the Norman attack, after more than five centuries of its construction. Although most likely the destruction of the wall by the invaders was not total, its precarious state required a complete reconstruction.
These tasks were carried out according to Ibn - al - Qutiyya and other authors at the time of Abl al - Awsat. The direction of the work was carried out by Abd Allah b. Sinan, Syrian mawlá of the emir, whose name was preserved at the gates of the wall. Some authors have affirmed that the enclosure was extended, but this assertion lacks documentary endorsement.
Arab sources indicate that the wall was rebuilt in stone. Probably the remains of the old Roman wall would be used, as well as hauling materials from other buildings from the same time in the city. As Juan de Mata Carriazo said, his appearance should be similar to the wall of the Alcazaba de Mérida, built for the same years.
The next news about the wall of Seville goes back to the year 913 when the "hayib" of the then still emir Abd. al - Rahman al Nassir enters the city after a long period of revolt and relative autonomy from it. Apparently, the newly appointed Governor of Seville Ibn al - Salim, decides the destruction of the wall to avoid the danger of new seditions. The demolition will take place in this year 913.
The historians Ibn Hayyan, al Bakri and al - Himyari affirm that the wall was completely demolished, "joining battlements with base". A. Jimenez believes that this statement must be quarantined. It seems, of course, more likely that the demolition was limited to the doors and gates were opened in various areas of the wall. Because a century later we saw a walled enclosure and there is not enough evidence to have three different enclosures: one Roman, one from the emirate and another from Taifa. Juan de Mata Carriazo believes that the demolition was not total, although later materials from the partial demolitions in other new buildings in the city would be used.
Arab sources point out that the walled enclosure of Seville was rebuilt on land ("turab") in the time of the Banu 'Abbad. Again some authors have assumed the expansion of the new enclosure. This assumption does not seem logical. The reconstruction had to be carried out on the same foundations and the same layout of the wall rebuilt at the time of al - Awsat, which in turn was supported by the old Roman siege. The description of authors of the eleventh century along with the texts of this same moment and the historical studies agree and make suppose that the wall built in Abbadí era followed the layout of the old Roman walled enclosure. Only some of the palaces built in this period exceeded the limits of the Roman city.
Therefore, until the Almoravid period, the Islamic Seville had a single walled enclosure that came to coincide with the lines of the wall of the Roman city. Only on the southern flank of the city various palace constructions prolonged the limits of the city. These conclusions supported by Arab sources have not been denied by the archaeological excavations carried out to date. Carriazo already affirmed that in the Western sector of the urban perimeter of Seville only two walls were found: the Roman and the Almoravid.
This development of the walled precincts of Islamic Seville is consistent with the demographic balance known in the city at this time. During the stage of the Omeya emirate, for reasons of defense, the Roman wall was conserved through several reconstructions. In this period, the sparse population growth did not require an increase in the perimeter of the fence. During the stage of the caliphate and the taifa abbadí, the walls were not necessary and the population was scattered beyond the old walled enclosure. When a new era of warlike danger came a new walled enclosure was built by the Almoravids, around 1125, encompassing the buildings, land, villages and small farms that had exceeded the limits of the primitive Roman fence, reused and rebuilt many times.
Starting from the section conserved in the Macarena Sector, it seems to be fully verified that remains are missing until the present gardens of the Valley. From this preserved section of the Valley and even the Puerta de Osario, the wall has been lost, but between this last door and that of Carmona an important canvas was destroyed in 1985 and it is still possible to find one more. If we continue towards the Puerta de la Carne, the so-called Muro de los Navarros is still standing and it is possible that with an archaeological intervention some more fragment will be found. From the Puerta de la Carne to the section that is preserved next to the Murillo gardens everything has been lost. As is well known, the Alcázar complex conserves important testimonies and at the beginning of San Fernando Street, in the current "Oriza Restaurant", a wall cloth belonging to the old wall is preserved. Within the premises of the Casa de la Moneda, there are still many walled sections, many of them found in the rehabilitation works of the building, still in progress (See BIC Torre de la Plata and Canvases of the Wall of La Casa de la Moneda) . In the vicinity of the cathedral is conserved within the Plaza del Cabildo a canvas of considerable length and in the building in works front the old "Coliseo Spain", apparently, have also been found remains, although this end has not been able to be verified . From the sector of the Casa de la Moneda and to the Puerta de Triana there are safe sections that are preserved as medians, in addition to the canvases attached to the two shutters: the Carbon and the Oil (See B.I.C Postigo del Aceite). Between the door of Triana and the one of San Juan or "of the Engineer" it is known of the existence of canvases like median of buildings, some of them discovered recently. The canvases preserved in the area of the old Puerta Real and the right flank of San Laureano stand out. Finally, from this area to the Arco de la Macarena all the layout of the old wall seems to have disappeared.
We will not address here the description of the section of the Macarena for being already declared many years ago, nor the remains included or linked to the Casa de la Moneda, Jardines de Murillo or Postigo del Aceite, to be fully analyzed in other statements. Neither the Arquillo known as "de la Plata" and "Torre de Abdelaziz" for being pending individual declaration as B.I.C. We will focus on the remaining emergent remains.
Undoubtedly, the most important section is the one conserved in what used to be the garden of the extinct Convent of the Valley, now converted into a Public Garden. It is a stretch of wall that from the old entrance to the gardens of the former Colegio del Valle, runs roughly parallel to the ruined Church of the Convent, east sector in poor condition, pierced by several entrances and openings and currently in the process of restoration. Then the wall canvases break their path closing the garden and serving as separation from it with the back of the houses numbers 90 to 126 of the Sun Street. After the recent restorations, two square towers stand out in this stretch with the double feature Almohad fascia and merlons of apiramidate finish. The wall canvas is lost in the houses that flank the garden on the right.
In spite of the considerable rise in ground level and the lack of barbican, this sector of the walls of the Valley still retains a good part of the strength and majesty of medieval military architecture. Hence, in 1859, when the Provincial Commission of Monuments was consulted on the areas of the wall that deserved to be conserved, it decided that "the sector that from the Puerta de Córdoba came to the front of the Salitre Factory - approximately the place of the garden of the Valle Actual - was of little merit for the imposing of its proportions and the majesty of its appearance ".
Of the other sections, it is followed in interest by the canvas that crosses what is known as "Plaza del Cabildo", integrated into a modern building. Its layout is approximately perpendicular to the facade of the foot of the Cathedral of Seville, closing the aforementioned square and separating it from the buildings that look out to it on its right flank. It does not present any outstanding element, nor towers, only a crenellated wall with simple merlons.
On both sides of the Royal Gate the wall canvas that flanked it is still preserved. Goles street, the section serves as a dividing between the old convent of San Laureano and the Chapel and the houses that are attached on this side, on the sidewalk opposite is appreciated, thanks to a setback of the facades of the buildings and in line with the previous canvas, another that still retains its crenellated with hooded merlons. By its arrangement, it seems part of a tower that would flank the old door or a widening of the wall in contact with said door.
Numerous are fragments or pieces of wall canvases embedded in various buildings or used as medians. It is evident that this is not an exhausted issue, but rather susceptible to new discoveries following the line, already practically determined with exactitude, through which the Seville wall passed. Emerging and easy to verify remains are a fragment of canvas in the area of the old Carmona gate, conserved in a kind of alley between two buildings; another in the interior of the Oriza Restaurant and a section that cuts the buildings number 24 and 25 of the Torneo Street, warehouses currently closed where the existence of this remains has been verified by excavations.
In general, the remains of the wall have homogeneous characteristics. Its layout is slightly broken, in incoming and outgoing, following the military strategy of the time that allowed in this way to better combat enemies. To this resource also responds the arrangement of the towers, rectangular plant of about 4 meters wide, projected out from the canvases of the wall about 4.5 meters and arranged approximately every 40 meters. These towers are massive up to the height of the walk, which passes through them, and above usually have a vaulted dependence from which and by means of a staircase goes up to the upper roof protected by the crenellated parapet. In front of the wall itself, about three meters from it, runs the barbican that borders and repeats the entrances and projections of canvases and towers.
As far as the factory of the wall is of wall, as it is characteristic of the fortifications andalusíes and magrebíes of centuries XII and XIII, in this case it is of melted of lime, sands and pebbles, that with time acquires a considerable hardness. The mud boxes usually have dimensions of 2.25 meters long and 0.85 high. The construction system was by means of vertical boards held at the convenient distance by wooden needles. Generally, the thickness of the walls is usually around 2 meters. In the Almohad reform the brick is incorporated in the typical flat fillets that double run under the towers of the towers. Sometimes, in turrets designated as the one of the Silver or the Gold, they are incorporated like reinforcement in the low zone and in the corners pillars of stone. Also appear reinforced brick cores, some walls, but these fillings seem to respond to consolidation works or subsequent repairs.
Fuente: bdi del Patrimonio Inmueble de Andalucía (Junta de Andalucía)