This is a group of palaces, a royal centre of power for a thousand years. From the grand entry through high castellated walls, and a series of opulent and finely decorated rooms, to treasured art works, and heavenly gardens, the Alcazar is rather over the top! It is also the oldest Royal palace still in use in Europe.
Raised over the first settlement foundations of Seville, it has its origin during the XI Century AD. Every civilisation, every culture that has dwelt on on the Iberian peninsular used the Royal Alcazar of Seville as capitol of its kingdom. The architecture reflects this, being a blend of Mudejar and Christian styles. It was originally a Moorish Fort.
I will do another post on various aspects of the palaces, such as fountains, and tiles, but here is a brief overview. Visitors are immediately impressed by the size of the rooms, and the delicate plaster decoration.
Then they are overawed by the sheer beauty of the Courtyard of the Maidens …..
speaking of which we met a few young girls obviously celebrating their First Communion by a visit to the Alcazar, and photos in all the auspiscious places …
and here is a close up of some of the decoration … part of an arch …
Can you imagine the gracious life the royals lived here? There were rooms on courtyards where they could be in touch with the busy life of the palace, and others where they could be closed away, for example the Princes Bedroom, where a son of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella was born …
Every space is uniquely decorated with exquisite craftmanship.
This fabulous ceiling is a highlight in a grand stateroom, perhaps somewhere balls and receptions were held.
Another large hall or gallery houses huge tapestries, obviously very valuable, depicting important scenes in the nation's history, such as this conquest of the Moors.
The Baths of Maria of Padilla were once a garden, hidden partly underground for coolth, until a great earthquake destroyed them in 1755 … now they are rainwater tanks beneath the palace.
I was pleased as usual to get out into the gardens, I guess I am so unused to crowds that they unsettle me.
This pool and spray are known as the Baths of Mercury …. immediately outside the palace walls, in an enclosed garden.
There are many fountains … the subject of a separate post.
This gate Puerta de Marchena was apparently going to be sold to a wealthy American, but a Spanish Count got in first, and it was moved from its original location to the palace about a hundred years ago. It fits in well doesn't it?
As does the peacock in the peaceful Gardens de Marques de Vega Inclan….
with it orderly theme of paths and trickling water fountains …
Here is another courtyard inside the palace, just by the exit …. which is in this lovely hall, which boasts a very fine example of river pebble paving, the same paving you can see in streets and laneways all over Spain.