NO8DO, Sevilla. It's everywhere - but what does it mean? Here we uncover the fascinating story behind the motto and the promise of NO8DO 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?
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.
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.
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.
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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