Seville, originally an Iberian stronghold, is the capital of the whole area, and contains many imposing buildings, such as the Giralda, originally the tower of the mosque completed in 1196 in the reign of Almanzor. For over two thousand years Seville has served as port and market centre for the rich hinterland of the Guadalquivir valley. Although 65 miles from the sea, it still serves as a port, being linked with the Atlantic by the Fernandino canal, while ships of large tonnage can now reach Seville by the Alphonso II canal.
The main exports include wines, cork, olive oil and almonds, while coal, machinery, textiles, raw cotton and chemicals are imported. Seville has always been an important route centre, and it still forms an important focal point of roads, railways and air routes. It is also a centre for industries, some based on local agriculture and producing such goods as spirits, wines, liqueurs, flour and preserves, while others use imported raw materials to a great extent, and provide textiles (especially cotton goods), cement, iron and steel products, ranging from gun barrels to inlaid stilettos for tourist souvenirs, various acids and superphosphates. Buildings of historical interest and architectural beauty, bullfights, the annual trade fair, and the great processions during the Semana Santa, or Holy Week at Easter, ensure a regular and thriving tourist trade, which is served by a good system of cheap and (for the 'deep south') rapid transport by rail and air.