In the rolling hills 38km (23.6mi) east of Seville in the fertile La Campiña region, Carmona has a long, well-fortified history. As early as the 8th century BC, the gravity of its strategic position was understood all too well by both the irrepressible Romans and those cagey Carthaginians. The Muslims further fortified the town in the first half of the 13th century, but ultimately fell to a fellow named Fernando, who in turn turned Carmona's main alcázar (fortress) into his personal pad. The remaining mudéjar and Christian places of worship were added frosting on the cake, well after the fighting had simmered down.
The typical tour of old Carmona takes in the eerie Necrópolis Romana (Roman Cemetery); the impressive old town gate, the Puerta de Sevilla, and the adjacent Alcázar with impressive upstairs views; a quick look-see of the ancient Muslim walls; and a roundabout wander up Calle Prim toward the colorful 16th-century Plaza de San Francisco (aka Plaza Mayor).