Alcazar of Seville: Royal palace and fort

Amazing Europe | | December 16, 2010 at 2:40 am




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Also known as the ‘Royal Alcazars of Seville’, the Alcazar of Seville is a treasure in the region of Andalucia. Formerly a Moorish fort, it then served as a royal palace until today, as whose upper levels are the residing areas of the royal family. This one is undoubtedly the amazing architectural masterpiece that even today reveals the past of Seville and is also an ideal model of dominating Mudejar structural style in Spain. First erected by the Almohades, the Alcazar of Seville witnessed many additions from the subsequent monarchs.

Today, the beautiful gardens that are interestingly within the palace were only built in the 19th century. In fact, the ones in the east and close to the Amohad Wall were added recently in 20th century. This indicates that the palace has evolved architecturally over the years. Further, today, it is a delightful attraction boasting a blend of fascinating Gothic, Mudejar, Baroque, and Renaissance styles giving a feeling of wonderful unity on its tour.

The Alcazar of Seville on three sides is surrounded by a rectangular court that is accessible via the Almohad wall’s relics holding arched openings. Opposite the entrance, there is a facade festooned with intertwined polylobed arcades. The entrance stretches via the two rectangular halls, main courtyard (the Patio de las Doncellas), and the hall opposite the courtyard.

The west of the entrance courtyard encompasses a block holding the Hall of Justice, a vaulted square. From within, you can enter into the Patio del Yesso (Court of Stucco). The name itself indicates that the court is adorned with sculpted stucco. Connecting the two spaces, a fountain basin is seen in the pavement whose water meets the pool of the Court of the Stucco resembling the water aspects of Court of the Lions in Alhambra.

There exists a myriad of probing as well as fascinating features of the Alcazar of Seville that attract thousands of visitors. These are seen everywhere from thee landscaped gardens, patios, and to the rooms. Certainly, the most opulent and magnificent rooms are the Salón de Embajadores and Cuarto Real Alto. The latter refers to the suites utilized by the Royal family and is sumptuously adorned. On the other hand, the former one was the Pedro I’s throne room today boasting luxuriously tiled walls, the top holding a splendid cupola of cedar wood as well as star patterns, and a beautiful archway in motifs of peacocks – Arco de Pavones. This room reveals the amazing fusion of Muslin as well as Iberia styles in form of the Palacio de Don Pedro.

You will particularly come across the Patio de las Doncellas meaning the Courtyard of the Maidens that marks the yearly claim of 100 virgins by the Moors from their Christian empires. It will really make you recall the Alhambra via the presence of a big reflective pool, great arches, sunken gardens, and magnificent wooden doors. Flanked by opulent reception halls festooned in sculpted wood ceilings, doors, and polychrome tile dados and paved with white marble, this patio holds a big central fountain. You will find Arabic inscriptions throughout in stucco and wood, which refer to Pedro I. The paradox of this rich charm incorporated by a ruler who killed his own family for sustaining his position is surely going to be more touching.

To its southeast, the Patio de las Munecas meaning the Court of the Dolls can be visited, a small and luxurious inner courtyard richly ornamented accessible from the north of the entrance court.

Speaking about Alcazar’s upper storey, it is the fusion place of the Mudejar and Italian Renaissance styles. From here, enter into the nearby Cámara Regia featuring great tile and plaster work for creating an enchanting atmosphere for the tourists. Other convincing attractions are – Sala de Audiencias featuring the first found painting on American discoveries of Columbus; Casa de Contratación with its legendary chapel where Columbus met Ferdinand and Isabella to share all of his second journey; and Dona Maria de Padilla’s patio, bedrooms, and bathing waters.

And yes, before you leave, do complete your tour by spending some time in the gardens here. Even on the hottest day, you will like to be here because of the calm classiness and beauty, soothing water features, and carefully planted flora. Still there is much to see in the Alcazar of Seville. So, take up a guided tour to prevent the discontent of missing something later. The entry is through the Puerta del Leon from the soaring cathedral just on the Plaza del Triunfo’s other side.

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