MACARENA is to Seville what Shoreditch once was to London.
Packed full of young professionals, it is fast becoming the coolest neighbourhood in which to live, work and play, offering a perfect combination of hidden bars and an evolving food scene while serving up heaps of history.
The name itself hints at its rich past, with experts disagreeing over whether it came from a wealthy Roman landowner named Macarius or from its still existing city-wall, dubbed the Bab-al-Makrin by the Moors who rebuilt it almost 1,000 years ago.
Regardless, the barrio is filled with remnants of its past and is well worth a visit if you want something different from the heaving and packed city centre.
The neighbourhood of La Macarena lends its name to the sculpture of Virgin of Hope of Macarena, sometimes known simply as La Macarena. Many Sevillian women are named after this statue. This gave rise to the name of Los del Río’s Spanish-language song “Macarena”.
Monuments and landmarks
The neighborhood is known for housing the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza Macarena (Our Lady of Hope of Macarena), seat of the homonymous Holy Week brotherhood. The procession in the early morning of Good Friday is one of the largest, most popular, and fervent in the whole of Spain. The wooden statue of Our Lady of Hope Macarena dates from the 17th century. The Neobaroque Basilica was built by Aurelio Gómez Millán in the 20th century. Next to the church is placed the Museum and Treasure of La Macarena, where the huge artistic and sentimental patrimony of the brotherhood is exposed, working as a complete explanation about the famous Holy Week processions of Seville.
The largest remaining portion of the Almohad city walls is to be found in La Macarena neighbourhood. It spans two of the old city gates, from the monumental Puerta de la Macarena (Macarena gate) in the west, next to the Basilica, to the Puerta de Cordoba (Córdoba gate) in the east, and annex to San Hermenegildo church.
The Parliament of Andalusia is housed in the old building of the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas (literally, Hospital of the Five Holy Wounds). Dated from 16th century, it is one of the best examples of Andalusian Mannerism.
The Torre de los Perdigones (literally, Tower of the Pellets), placed in Los Perdigones gardens next to the Guadalquivir river, is the last remain of a foundry building from the late 19th century. Since 2007 it contains a panoramic room-sized camera obscura.
In the nearby Feria street is located the oldest marketplace of Seville, the Mercado de la Feria. The building dates from 18th century and  the greengrocer’s, butcher’s and fishmonger’s stalls constitute a traditional and picturesque scene of Seville daily life.
One can get to and from La Macarena by bus. The TUSSAM C3/C4 lines are circular, running clockwise and counter clockwise all along the periphery of the historical center, and have many stops in the neighborhood. Lines C1/C2 are also circular, and connect La Macarena with outer neighbourhoods, such as Nervión, La Cartuja and Los Remedios.