Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Royal Alcázar of Seville

If you don’t get a chance to see the Alhambra in Granada, you can at least marvel at its little sister, the Real Alcázar, which is one of the most visited sites in this gorgeous city. This is the oldest royal palace in Europe that is still in use (the top floor is the royal family’s residence in the city) and we always made sure to send all of our visitors in.

Originally the palace complex was built in the beginning of the 8th century by the Moors in order to control the River Guadalquivir. This is one of the best remaining example of the mudejár architecture (the mix of Muslim and Christian motives).

The following monarchs all added a building here and there. It ended up having five different palaces built in five different centuries.

Just like everywhere in Spain, you can find some interesting legends here in the Alcázar, too. Such an example is connected to the Patio de las Doncellas, or ‘the Courtyard of the Maidens’. According to this every year the Moor king demanded 100 maidens every year as a tribute from the Christian kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula.

We had to search for a while but eventually found the ‘Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla’, or the Baths of the afore mentioned lady. These are basically water tanks that look very interesting with its many arches.

Another interesting building is the House of Trade (La casa de Contratación). This was built by the Catholic monarchs to regulate the trade between Spain and the New World. In fact, this is where Ferdinand and Isabella welcomed Columbus after his second voyage.

The Gothic Palace is also worth a look. It is basically a huge, rectangular room. The walls are covered with gorgeous tiles and even more gorgeous tapestries that are just huge! They look so old! Walking around this room will make your jaw drop.

Finally, the Arabic style gardens. They are pretty extensive but definitely worth a look. In every corner and niche there´s something to discover, a line of trees, a little statue or a fountain.

There´s a café in the garden where you can sit down and relax after walking around. Don’t be surprised though when colourful peacocks come to beg you for some food!

Some more photos about the Alcazár.

For more information have a look at the official website here.

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