3 reviews from the community
Review of "Alcazar, Seville"
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Please note that the picture provided by Ciao is not the Alcazar of Seville.
Real Alcazar of Seville.
The Moors went on a lavish building programme enlarging the palace and adding to it. The palace has several courtyards with rooms surrounding them leading into further courtyards. Central to the courtyards were reflecting pools and water features. The Gardens were added and water features included which were an integral part of Islamic architecture. This is a typical feature of Islamic architecture.
The Alcazar of Seville is the Royal Palace in the centre of the town in the historical district just in front of the Cathedral. The Almohades invaded Spain in the 10th century taking control of Seville. They started to build the fortress in the centre of Seville which is right next to the cathedral including a palace within the grounds for the Sultan. The walls of the fortress still surround the palace today providing a safe and peaceful haven. It is still in use today as a Royal residence when the Spanish Royal family are in town staying in the upper levels of the palace which are not open to the public.
Entering the palace.Entry to the palace is through the Lions gate which leads into the Patio de Leone which is a very large courtyard in front of the palace proper. Although it is quite nice it is not quite as spectacular as the patio de Leone at the Alhambra palace. At the far end of the courtyard you enter the Palace through a triple archway gate to the Patio de la Monteria or hunters courtyard into the Palace of Pedro I. It was here that the hunters would meet prior to going out hunting game. It is through this triple arched entrance that the Royal family of Spain arrive to enter the upper palace. Surrounding this courtyard are smallish rooms ornately decorated with ceramic tiles and carved plaster works at the top of the rooms. Some of the rooms have small water features and fountains in them. Most of the rooms are symmetrical which is a typical form of Moorish architecture.
There is also a chapel for mariners off the side of the court of Hunters. Before the sailors went off in serach of treasures they would come here to hold a service for their safe return. Christopher Columbus would have attended one such service prior to his voyages. He was favoured by one of the queens who often funded his trips but then she was rewarded quite handsomely with the things that he brought back for her. All ships returning to Spain full of treasures and valuables had to sail into Seville where an inventory was made and recorded. Outside the palace there is a massive museum which holds records of all the ships that sailed the world including their inventories. It is called the Archives of the Indies.Moving on from the Patio de la Monteria you enter the Patio de las Donecellas or translated into English the courtyard of the maidens. It was here that most of the ladies would congregate and meet during the daytime. The patio has a pond running through the centre of the patio bordered by channels of lawn and small trees. Surrounding the patio are ornate plastered archways highly carved and decorated. The patio looks really nice, calm and peaceful. Leading off from the patio takes you into rooms such as The Kings hall, the Hall of the Ambassadors and the hall of Charles (Carlos) V. These halls are really quite splendid very ornate and decorated with beautiful carvings and the roof of the Hall of Ambassadors includes a gold coloured dome.
Continuing through the palace leads you out to the gardens. The gardens are really spectacular different patio areas and small courtyards, the English garden boxed hedge parterres with tropical shrubs, plants and trees in and around the gardens. Again there are water features here that add to the calm and peacefulness of the palace. The gardens are really beautiful and well kept. There is also a small pavilion in the gardens which have ceramics on the walls and at the centre is a small fountain. You could spend hours here walking around the beautiful gardens blissful and unaware of the crazy city life outside the walls of the Alcazar. It is like being in a different world away from and protected from the hustle and bustle outside the fort walls. This is quite intentional and is achieved here within the palace and gardens.
Underneath the Palace and reached via the gardens is a massive cistern which was built by King Pedro the cruel for his mistress Maria de Padilla, mother to his four children. It is full of rainwater that is collected and channelled into the deep crypt like structure. It certainly is much cooler once you have gone down the steps into the cistern and would be an ideal place to sit away from the searing 40C+ heat of the summer. It is known as Los Banos de Donna Maria de Padilla.
Would I recommend a visit to the Alcaza?You would be mightily foolish not to visit such a beautiful place if you were in Seville. It is quite easy to find as it is right across the plaza in front of the Cathedral and is unmissable. I would definitely recommend a visit to the Alcazar. It can be visited during the day or during one of the four escorted evening tours. We did not have a guide during our visit and were able to wander around at leisure taking time to absorb all the different rooms and pretty courtyards and patios. The gardens are spectacular with the water features and the symmetrical plan of the garden. We were inside the palace and grounds for about four hours although I must admit we were in no hurry and just enjoyed everything we saw. It can be quite tiring standing around and looking at things in the heat but there are ample opportunities to sit outside and admire the buildings and the gardens. The palace is of course listed as a UNESCO heritage site.
The Alcazar is open from 09:30 to 19:00 daily throughout the summer and closes at 17:00 during the winter months. It currently costs Euro 8.5 for entry. Pensioners are admitted for Euro 2 and people under 16 or are disabled are allowed free entry.
For four evening accompanied visits they begin at 19:30 leaving at half hourly intervals up to 21:00 during the winter or starting at 21:00 to 22:30 during the summer months. Price for an evening visit is Euro 12.
Our visit was during the day but I would imagine that the palace takes on a really lovely atmosphere with the gardens and palace all lit up. The next time I go to Seville I will definitely make an evening visit to see the contrast that darkness brings to the Alcazar.
Product Information : Alcazar, Seville
Manufacturer's product descriptionCastle/Historic House
Type: Castle/Historic House
Listed on Ciao since: 02/08/2005