The University of Seville is steeped in history and is one of the most important cultural centers in Spain, dating to the 15th century when the Catholic Monarchs recovered the area from the Moors, a history reflected in its architecture. It was originally the Colegio de Santa Maria de Jesus which had been created by Archdeacon Maese Rodrigo Fernandez de Santaella and was confirmed as a practising university in 1505 by the papal bull of Pope Julius II.
Today, the University of Seville is known for research in technology and science. In the middle of the thirteenth century the Dominicans, in order to prepare missionaries for work among the Moors and Jews, organized schools for the teaching of Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek. To cooperate in this work and to enhance the prestige of Seville, Alfonso the Wise in 1254 established in the city "general schools" (escuelas generales) of Arabic and Latin. Alexander IV, by the Papal Bull of 21 June 1260, recognized this foundation as a generale litterarum studium and granted its members certain dispensations in the matter of residence.
This building houses two of the university's faculties: the School of Literature and Philology, and the School of Geography and History. Other campuse and faculties are located throughout Seville, including the Health Science schools in La Macarena, the Business School in Nervion, the Engineering School and School of Communications in La Cartuja and its Languages Institute Instituto de Idiomas and Science Schools in Reina Mercedes. The library holds about 777,000 volumes.