We saved our visit to the Alcazar and the magnificent cathedral, which is close by, for our last day in Seville, Spain.
“The Alcázar of Seville (Spanish “Reales Alcázares de Sevilla” or “Royal Alcazars of Seville”, (Spanish pronunciation: [alˈkaθar])) is a royal palace in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings.
The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Spain, being regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of mudéjar architecture found on the Iberian Peninsula. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence and are administered by the Patrimonio Nacional. It is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, and was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the Seville Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.” (Wikipedia)
I suggested to my husband that we visit the Alcazar first. I was very excited about the garden having seen pictures of it beforehand, and because I love Moorish architecture of which this garden is an outstanding example. Earlier in our visit, a tour guide had told us that the garden was spared from being razed following the expulsion of the Moors from Spain because of their exceptional beauty.
The entrance to the garden is quite impressive. There is a great wall surrounding the site with an archway that you must walk through to enter the garden. There were many walls built at different times to protect this area and those that remain are a visible reminder of the layers of history that make this place so special.
The garden and palace are filled with visual and sensory delights. They include the echoing arches throughout the palace; the elaborate ceramic work on the staircases, walls and ceilings and floors of every room in the palace as well as in the gardens; shaded alcoves; a fish-filled exquisite pond; orange and jacaranda trees for color and shade; and exquisite ironware on doors and windows.
Exhausted and overwhelmed (the afternoon heat didn’t help), we decided to take a short break at the cafe before we left the garden. During our brief respite we heard a strange squawking and were visited by a resident peacock.
When we arrived at the gate of the cathedral we were told it was closing in 10 minutes. Somehow we had lost track of time in the garden and never got to see Spain’s most amazing cathedral (except for the one we were yet to see in Barcelona).
We were not disappointed, however. We left Seville feeling very satisfied with our stay, with images spinning through our heads of flamenco dancers, spanish guitarists, ceramic artistry, amazing tapas, an amazing bullfighting ring and a strong desire to return some day.
Next week: Barcelona…the Big Kahuna of modern Spain!