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Review of "Alcazar, Seville"
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The Alcazar in SevilleI am reviewing the Alcazar and not the city of Seville as this was all we explored on our day visit to Seville.
The Alcázar of Seville or as it is called in Spanish "Alcázares Reales de Sevilla" which means the Royal Alcazars of Seville. This amazing building or buildings are the royal palace in Seville, Spain and they are still used by the Spanish Royal family today. The building was originally a Moorish fort.
Seville is a very typically Spanish city with the River Guadalquivar running through the city. We drove to Seville from Fuengirola and found a car park quite easily which was within walking distance of the main sites of interest which suited us. We had to rush a little at the end of our visit as we noticed roads we being blocked off in preparation for the ‘Three King’s Parade’ and we didn’t want to get stuck in road blocks. However as we walked through the streets around the Alcazar we were pleasantly surprised by the look of the city which we felt had traditional and friendly feel to it.
The Christian monarchs, Alfonso X and Pedro I (known as Pedro the Cruel,)employed Moorish craftsmen to build the Real Alcazar of Seville in the 14th century.Pedro I obviously recognised the skill and craftsmanship of the Moors and had it built in the Moorish style using materials rescued from various buildings in and around the area. Most of the original structures survive but some have been extended over the years, not always in keeping with the original. However the Palace of Pedro I is still considered to be the most complete example of this so-called “Mudéjar” style of architecture in Spain.
You have to enter the Alcazar through the Puerta del León (Lion Gate) and there is a picture of a lion in tiles just above the gate. You then move into the Patio de la Montería, which gets its name from the scouts or monteros, who accompanied the king in its hunting parties. This a large open area surrounded on all sides by different parts of the Palace. You cannot help but be impressed by the beautifully carved arches and tiled walls in the halls as you pass through.I was particularly fascinated by the somewhat smaller private area of the palace which was the Patio de las Doncellas or Courtyard of the Dolls, which is off the main courtyard and smaller than the public area it is more intimate and is surrounded by a gallery though apparently not all of the characteristics and decoration are original. We spent some time hunting for the dolls which are hidden in the carvings around the arches and I was quite excited when I found them!
The Hall of the Kings, the Hall of Charles V and the Hall of the Ambassadors all open to this patio. This Hall of Ambassadors is probably the most important room in the Alcazar. This is the main room of a group of rooms used for public events and affairs of state. This was where the marriage in 1526 of Charles V and Isabel of Portugal took place. The room is covered in gilded decorations and finely carved work as well as metal’ mirrors’ which reflect the light of the whole hall. It is quite mind blowing in its finery, almost too much to take in as everywhere you look you see something else.The other room I was particularly interested in has to do with the look of the room and also the story behind its name. The "Baths of Lady María de Padilla" are rainwater tanks beneath the Patio del Crucero. The tanks are named after María de Padilla, the somewhat reluctant mistress of Peter the Cruel. The story is told that Peter fell for María and had her husband killed. María was so upset by this that she poured boiling oil over her face to disfigure herself in an attempt to stop this cruel king’s attentions. Rejected by Peter she became a nun and moved to a convent. Because of her loyalty to her husband and her refusal to allow the King his wicked way she is regarded as a symbol of purity in Seville.
The baths or tanks had an almost ethereal feel about them It was cold down there and the reflection of the water and the arches was really very special. This lovely reflection combined with the sad and very brave lady they were named after made this area my favourite part of the Alcazar.You end up leaving the Alcazar through the Gardens. These are lovely but they are a curious blend of different gardening styles from Arab through French and then English styles can all be seen. The English garden or Jardin Inglés was designed in 1909 and are modeled on those of the British Isles from 18 Century but the door to the Alcoba is of Islamic origin.
Jardin de la Vega Inclan is designed and inspired by Islamic culture and the Renaissance. The gardens are quite formal and are a series of square flower beds separated by paths and rather lovely fountains.
Jardin de los Poetas or Garden of the Poets is influenced by Arabs and Romans as can clearly be seen in its most stunning features, two large rectangular ponds.
Finally one of the oldest gardens is the Jardin de la Alcubilla or Garden of the Reservoir which is a huge reservoir surrounded by palm trees and stone benches apparently this garden existed during the time of Charles V in the 1500s
I would recommend a visit to Seville’s Alcazar. We have now managed to explore Granada’s Alhambra, Seville’s Alcazar and Cordoba’s Mezquita in lovely Andalusia. This is a lovely part of Spain with so much to see and do but these three top the list of ‘must see’ places in the area.
I am sorry but I cannot remember how much we paid to visit but I can’t remember being shocked by the price so it must have been reasonable and the visit can occupy the best part of a day so you get good value. It is nice to visit this part of Spain in the winter if you plan to visit sites rather than bask in the sun. It is more comfortable walking round and they are less crowded too.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
This is not designed to be a guide to the entire Alcazar just a taste of what I enjoyed and my feelings about the place. There is so much history and fascinating stuff about the architecture that you could write a book and many people have I believe but this is a layman’s view only.
Product Information : Alcazar, Seville
Manufacturer's product descriptionCastle/Historic House
Type: Castle/Historic House
Listed on Ciao since: 02/08/2005