Romeo & Juliet Story of Seville, Spain – Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is a barrio of Seville that is very popular among tourists. You won’t find many if any locals here. Every nook and cranny is cuter than the next. It’s a place to enjoy yourself, drink sangria, and roam the streets lined with beautifully smelling orange trees. Leave your map at home and get lost in these cobblestone paths that are only wide enough for pedestrians. Sit and watch a Flamenco dancer or stop to hear a guitarist play some traditional Spanish music. Sadly, the restaurants in Santa Cruz are a total tourist trap and extremely overpriced. The food is very mediocre and underwhelming. They stay in business only due to their prime location. But even still, Santa Cruz is a fun place to spend the day that you have to check out when visiting Seville.
Santa Cruz is conveniently located near two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – The Royal Alcazar and The Catedral de Sevilla. They are two of the most popular things to see and tour through when visiting Seville. These, as well as Santa Cruz, can be enjoyed and toured the same day, as they are in close walking distance from each other.
It might come as a surprise, but Santa Cruz hasn’t always been such a warm and charming place to be. It carries with it troublesome history that is hard to talk about because of all the lives lost and suffering endured. Seville is a city that represents three major religions – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. With a wide variety of religions existing in one city, also comes a wide variety of opinions and differences often leading to violence. Santa Cruz was a section in Seville that was assigned specifically for the Jews to live in. It was known as the, “Juderia.” There was a wall that was built that separated the Jews from the rest of the city.
Romeo & Juliet in Santa Cruz
Now for the love story that is strikingly similar to Romeo and Juliet. It happened right here in Santa Cruz, and it is hard to believe that it’s true. There was a Jewish girl named Susona Ben-Susón. She fell in love with a young Christian man. It was forbidden for Jews and Christians to be together in a relationship, so their love was forbidden before it began. Both sets of parents saw it as a young love that wouldn’t go anywhere, only to diminish quickly before moving on to another. That is, until the two young lovers desired to wed.
Things started to get serious and deadly. Rules stated that a Jew and a Christian were forbidden to marry unless one of them converted. Susona was beginning to convert to Christianity. Susona’s parents feared for their daughter’s religious path and safety, so they devised a plan to have her lover killed. Susona found out about it and warned him. The young Christian man decided to take action and kill his killers before they could kill him. He snuck into Susona’s house in the night and killed her whole family.
Susona was given an ultimatum by her Jewish community – if she apologized, came back to the Jewish faith, and denounced her love for the young Christian man, then she would be forgiven. Otherwise, she would be killed. Being the stubborn girl that she was, and still head over heels for her lover, she chose the latter, and was killed the next day. She couldn’t imagine living life without him. The Jewish community killed one of their own. Her skull was placed outside of her window as a reminder to other Jews to not rebel from the religion. It stayed there for 200 years. Today instead of her actual skull, a picture of it remains, right where her actual skull used to lie.
It is shocking to think that something this horrific and violent could happen to two people, just because they fell in love. It reminds me of the song from my favorite movie, “The Greatest Showman,” called, “Rewrite the Stars.” I am so glad that I live now when something like this would never legally or socially be allowed to happen. I am proud to live in a world where love is love, where you can marry whoever your heart matches with, despite gender, race, or religion. I’m glad that we’ve rewritten the stars and created a better outcome for people like the Jewish Susona and her Christian lover. We’ve come a long way.
Thanks for reading about Santa Cruz and the Romeo and Juliet story of Seville. Feel free to leave me a comment below!