An exhibition of maps and other documents about the Rio (river) Guadalquivir (from Arabic, al-Wadi al-Kabir, or Great Valley). I adore maps, and this exhibition was about the river that linked all three places I was to stay in over this coming week. Flowing roughly east-west into the Atlantic alongside the Doñana National Park, the river is navigable to Seville, once as far as Cordoba, and rises beyond Andùjar near where we were to finish our wildlife trip.
The Archivo de Indias, right by the Cathedral and the Real Alcazar, contains all the records of Spanish exploration (I did not see the word ‘colonisation’ anywhere) of the Americas. Among their most precious documents are the letters to Columbus from Ferdinand and Isabella. The building itself was, for a comparatively short time in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Trade Exchange, but the silting up of the river, along with disease, caused the main trading port, and so the exchange, to be moved to Cadiz. After some years as what we would now called squats, the building was attributed, late in the 18th century, for its present national use. It underwent great renovation to make it suitable.
But I was there for maps and river. And what a fabulous exhibition it was. It was to mark the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation, and its themes were the river as a resource, a threat (mainly from floods), a tamed space, its projects, and technical aspects, with just sufficient English captions to make it comprehensible to me. This is how the exhibits were mounted, in the midst of thousands and thousands of filing boxes. Here are just a very few of the photos I took.