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The Real Alcazar
Patio de Banderas s/n,
Monday to Sunday
October to March:
Monday to Sunday 9.30am - 17.00pm
April to September:
Monday to Sunday 9.30am - 19.00pm
Entry fee: General admission: €8.50 Upper floor: €4. Discount for retired persons, pensioners, Seville naturals and residents, disabled persons and students, with ID.
The Real Alcazar of Seville is the oldest European royal residence and is not one building, but a group of buildings from different time periods and each building has a different architectural style.
In the 9th century, the Moors built a military fort on top of a Visigothic basilica, and this was during the reign of the Emir Abdul Rahman II. Later Caliph Abdul Rahman II expanded it to make it a residence for the governor. In the 11th century, King Al-Mutamid of the Abbadid dynasty expanded the palace enormously.
The Christians then reconquered Seville and Don Pedro (Peter the Cruel) renovated the palace to his tastes in 1364. The Puerta del Leon (Lion Gate) became the main entrance to the palace. There is a heraldic lion on top of the gate, in a tiled panel. This gate leads to the Patio del Leon (Courtyard of the Lion).
The Alcazar is one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain. Actually it has a Mudejar Palace and a Gothic Palace by its side. The Mudejar Palace has the most beautiful patio, the Patio del Yeso with its reflecting pool and sunken gardens. It is surrounded by columns supporting Moorish arches. The pillars support a very decorative mesh of stucco. The tile work in the palace has some of the most beautiful tiles in Andalusia and the stucco work on the walls is impressive. The Mudejar ceilings also call attention for their beauty and color. There is a three tier gallery that is on the southern side.
There is an impressive hall called the Chamber of Justice. The ceiling is made of wood and is very elaborate. There is elaborate stucco work on the walls and the ceiling of the hall. On the floor is a small round fountain with a shallow channel that goes to the garden outside.
The Palace of Rey Don Pedro is one of the most important Mudejar style buildings in Spain and contains the second floor apartments of the King, which can now be seen. One has to pay an entrance fee of 4 euros to see the apartments. The visits last 20 minutes and are timed, and only 15 people are allowed at any one time, accompanied by a guard. Everyone is given a recorder in Spanish or English, which explains each room as one walks through it. The apartments are very luxurious and have beautiful furniture, chandeliers, and many Mudejar ceilings with gold decorations. The apartments are closed to tourists when the King is in Seville. This palace also contains the Salon de Embajadores, the Patio de las Muñecas, the Patio de las Doncellas, and many other rooms.
The Gothic Palace is also beautiful with its tile work, of a different style than the Moorish tiles in the Mudejar Palace. It was built by King Alfonso X in the 13th century and underwent many alterations after that in the 16th and 18th centuries. There are also impressive tapestries hung on the walls of this palace. From the porch of this palace one can go to the gardens. The Vaulted Room (Sala de las Bovedas) contains tilework from 1577 and were designed by Cristobal de Augusta. They are made of polychromed glazed tile and are in the form of tapestries. The colors are very beautiful.
The Jardin del Estanque is a tank full of water with a fountain with the figure of Mercury. On one side is a pavilion and a building that goes to the Gothic Palace. This has a raised viewing gallery with round arches on marble columns. There is one garden after another. Among the gardens are the Jardin de la Danza, Jardin de Troya, Jardin de la Galera, Jardin de las Flores, Jardin del Principe, Jardin de las Damas, Jardin del Laberinto Viejo, and the Jardin de la Alcoba. All are beautiful, with many fountains. The gardens have many lemon and orange trees and are also planted with jasmine, so the gardens are perfumed, which is a wonderful sensation when one walks in the gardens. There is a very large area that contains the New Gardens, built in the 19th century in the English style. The gardens include the Jardin del Retiro and the Jardin de los Poetas. All the gardens should be viewed with plenty of time to be able to appreciate all their details.