Tourism is a double edged sword. Most of us have been one at some point in our lives. Guide book in hand, determinedly visiting the major landmarks of our chosen destination.
Inevitably the city adapts to this new influx of strange faces, supplying them with what they think they probably need. In Seville’s case think over-priced paella and large jugs of sangria, polka-dotted flamenco aprons and quaintly painted castanets.
It’s easy of course for me to pass judgement. After all, I live in Seville and have the luxury of time to allow me to dig a little deeper. But still, I feel sad that what most visitors get is a one dimensional, sanitized version of the city.
That’s why I started this blog, and every time I find myself in another nook and cranny unfrequented by foreign feet, I feel the urge to share.
Point in case being La Corrala. Tucked away in an easy to miss street of the Macarena, it’s a timeless space rooted in history, brought into being out of a genuine desire to preserve an almost forgotten way of life.
You see Seville was once a city filled with Corralas – large courtyards lined with individual dwellings. These were the original ‘cohousing’ set ups, where the poor and lower classes crammed themselves into small rooms, spilling out at high volume into the communal ‘patio de vecinos’.
Few survive in Seville while retaining their original use. Some are hotels, others are uninhabitable, but La Corrala is very much alive and kicking.
Built in the middle of the 19th century and in the loving care of Pablo Vera de Cabo for the last twenty years, the house has become a living, breathing project. It combines the independent arts with a desire to preserve a slice of history, all served up with a certain Sevillano anarchic bohemianism.
There’s a delightful randomness about the cultural delights on offer at La Corrala – everything from Israeli flamenco, German folk music, theatre improvisation, and feminist film screenings. All taking place in the cobbled courtyard, under the gaze of an ancient lemon tree.
For me La Corrala is Seville, much more than the twee, winding streets of Santa Cruz. It is a living, evolving entity, opening its heart and soul to the neighbourhood.
So throw off the binds of your guide book and resist the lure of an overpriced flamenco tablao. Come to La Corrala. Pablo and the house are waiting for you.
An Israeli Flamenco performance
NB La Corrala is only open to the public when there are specific events. Please refer to the website or Facebook .
La Corrala, Calle Fray Diego de Cadiz 18
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