Whitewashed buildings, maze-like streets, and courtyards lined with orange trees: No place really defines Seville charm quite like the streets of the Santa Cruz district. As the city's former judería, or Jewish quarter, it is home to many of Seville's top sights, from the grand cathedral with its minaret-turned-tower (called the Giralda) to the Real Alcázar and its fountain-dotted gardens.
The neighborhood dates back to when Ferdinand III of Castile took Seville from Muslim rule, and the city's Jewish residents began to live in what is now El Barrio de Santa Cruz (making it the second-largest Jewish Quarter in population behind that of Toledo). After the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, however, the district fell into disrepair, until it was finally revived in the 18th century.
Apart from appreciating the district's history and seeing the main sights, perhaps the best thing you can do during a visit to Santa Cruz is to simply get lost in the barrio's streets. Walk along Callejon de Agua, which follows the Alcázar garden walls, and is named after an aqueduct of water that used to run atop the wall itself. Or hopscotch from plaza to plaza, with a special stop in the neighborhood's namesake Plaza de Santa Cruz. This square sits on the site of a preexisting church of the same name, which itself was constructed in place of even older ruins from a former synagogue.