They say orange flower water helps untie any ‘stomach knots’. It is obtained by steaming those white flowers from the orange trees. In Sevilla there are more orange trees than in any other city in the world, but the local people have many other ways of calming the ills of body and soul.
They have always believed that their city was founded by Hercules. And upon that noble foundation they have erected a festive, colourful culture that venerates three things above all others. These three pillars are their best medicine.
The first are the people, who are always proud of their duende, that certain southern Spanish magic and mystery.
The second is the spiritual dimension of the city, traditionally reflected in a wide range of religious symbols and imagery. Its greatest expression is the heartfelt celebration of Holy Week.
And third, the city’s historic buildings: the Giralda tower, the Torre del Oro and the Maestranza bullring, a mere glance at which immediately comforts the Sevillano when he returns home.
The city almost seems to breathe in rhythm with its people and share their feelings. One example: the María Luisa Park, intentionally set up in a slightly chaotic manner. The French landscape architect who designed it, Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, explained that the lack of symmetry reflected his idea of romantic love, “which can only be wild and excessive.”
These three ingredients are enough to restore strength to Sevillanos and anyone else capable of understanding the peculiar passion of these people for their origins. And if on occasion they are not enough, it’s always possible to sip a bit of that orange flower water.