NO8DO in Sevilla: The Secret Meaning of No8Do in Seville

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NO8DO, Sevilla. The secret code of the city.

It’s everywhere – but what is the meaning of NO8DO in Seville? Here we uncover the fascinating story behind the motto… 

See also this gorgeous southern Spain itinerary through Andalucia here. Plus, get your free Seville checklist here.

NO8DO Seville cover image
Once you know the story, you’ll see NO8DO everywhere…

The Meaning of NO8DO in Seville

NO8DO, NO8DO, NO8DO. Five symbols squeeze together, like children trying to fit into one photograph.

It’s written on unfurling flags and bullfighting programmes, embossed on drain covers and printed on parking fines.

The Feria entrance, a candy pink behemoth iced with light bulbs, revealed the same five merry marks, crushed together so hard that number 8 popped out at the top

NO8DO, the motto of Seville. What’s it all about?

No8DO - golden sign on the Metropol Parasol
Once you spot it once, you’ll see NO8DO everywhere in Seville.

NoDo Seville

I love the city of Seville and spent years living in this heartland of Andalusia. As well as learning about the meaning of NO8DO in Seville, I learned the best things to do in Seville, the best tapas bars in Seville, where to stay in Seville and more.

And I also learned the meaning of that strange phrase: NO8DO in Sevilla.

Decoding No8Do: it starts with the ‘8’

The key to the puzzle lies in the central number eight, said to resemble a skein of yarn (and yes, I had to look up “skein” – it’s a loose coil of yarn or wool, the sort my grandmother used to buy for her knitting.)

The Spanish word for this is madeja, so the sentence becomes no madeja do.

This makes as much sense as standing in front of a charging bull, until you realise that it sounds like no me ha dejado. She has not abandoned me.

Recommended reading: Live like a local in Seville

No8Do: “she has not abandoned me”

It’s easy to imagine NO8DO as the result of a passionate love affair. Seville is the city that inspired Carmen, after all. Yet, it’s more complicated than that: it’s not romantic love but a family betrayal.

Back in the 13th century, King Alfonso X The Wise struggled to fend off an attack by his own son, Sancho. In a bitter battle for the throne, Seville stayed loyal and Alfonso rewarded the hottest city in Spain with a slogan to celebrate its fidelity.

Yellow gold NO8DO text on the town hall in Seville

Seven hundred years of loyalty: No8Do

Seven hundred years later, Seville still remembers. Every day, everywhere.

NO8DO. She has not abandoned me. From the tomb of Christopher Columbus to edicts from the city council, the electric lights at the Sevilla Feria to drain covers beneath orange blossom, it’s there. 

No8Do. She has not abandoned me. History in plain sight, encoded for the world.

Highlights of Seville. NO8DO is the motto of Seville, but what’s it all about? The key to the puzzle lies in the central number eight. - via @insidetravellab
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More about Seville

Now that you know the history of No8Do, why not learn more about Seville?

Beyond this introduction to the best things to do in Seville, explore more of her customs such as the annual Semana Santa procession. Or go on the “wrong side of the tracks” with these things to do in Triana.

Then there are the practical side of things. We have articles on where to stay in Seville, what to eat in Seville, what to buy and bring home from Seville as well as the best food markets in Seville.

We also have a handy guide on how to pronounce Seville the right way.

Get your free Seville checklist here.

12 thoughts on “NO8DO in Sevilla: The Secret Meaning of No8Do in Seville”

  1. ¡Enhorabuena! Es una muy buena descripción del significado del lema de Sevilla. Es cierto, fue otorgado a la ciudad por el rey Alfonso X El Sabio. Este rey era famoso por su afición a los acertijos, de ahí que usase uno para agradecer la lealtad de la ciudad.

    Hay un libro bastante bueno sobre las leyendas de Sevilla: “Leyendas y tradiciones sevillanas” de José María de Mena, ahí se explica, entre otras, la historia del “no madeja do”.

    Gracias por compartir a mi ciudad con el mundo :)

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