Alcazar, Sevilla

4.5 out of 5 stars 131 Reviews

Plaza del Triunfo 95 450 23 23

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    Quieter than the Alhambra

    by SallyM Updated Nov 15, 2014

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    The oldest Royal Palace still in use in Europe, the Alcazar is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Seville. Its origins go as far back as the 11th century and it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is similar in many ways to the Alhambra of Granada, but considerably less crowded, so it is far more atmospheric, or at least that is how it seemed to me. We arrived at 10.00 am. on a Sunday morning without a pre-booking and were able to go straight in. It was very quiet, no queues.

    The first room we came to was the Sala de la Justice, built by Alfonso XI in mid 14th century. It was under restoration, so we weren't able to see the plasterwork which combines Muslim tradition and Castilian emblems according to the information board.

    Then we came to the Patio del Yeso, a courtyard which was rediscovered in the 19th century. During the Almohad period two porticos opened onto it. Now only the southern one remains. It was very peaceful here. There was nothing to hear but the sound of pigeons who were lined up by the central pool as if daring each other to take a dip.

    Retracing our steps we came to the facade of the Palace of Pedro I (1364 - 7). Inside the entrance hall are two narrow passages with right angle bends to preserve the privacy of the interior, in accordance with Islamic custom. The passage leads to the Patio de la Doncelles/Maidens Courtyard, a cool courtyard with pools at the centre of Pedro I's palace.

    From here we climbed the stairs to the Chapel of the Gothic Palace / Capilla del Palacio Gotico. This is an older part of the palace, built by Alfonso X 'the Wise' (1252-1284) over the old Almohad palace.

    The Tapestries Hall / Salon de los Tapices was destroyed after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and remodelled by Sebastian van de Borcht. The tapestries on display today are replicas of 'The Conquest of Tunisia' which was commissioned by Charles V after his victory in 1535. These replicas were commissioned by Philip V during the 18th century, and are worth a close look.

    Hall of Charles V is also called the Vaults Hall as the original ceiling vaults are preserved. The walls are decorated with tiled panels. It looks out over the gardens.

    The Mercury Pond collects water from an old Roman aqueduct which was reused by the Moors to water the orchards and garden. It was transformed into a pond from 1575, with a statue of Mercury by Diego Pesquera.

    The Jardin de las Damas / Ladies' Garden was redesigned in the 17th century in the form of a large rectangle with 8 compartments. It is bordered by the Grotto Gallery (from which you can get a good view over the garden) and the Fame Fountain (Fuente de la Fama).

    Beyond this are extensive gardens and Pavilions. There is also a maze (though this is quite new - it was designed in 1914).

    The Banos de Maria Padilla is a garden dug into the earth beneath the palace, making it the ideal temperature and humidity for summer.

    By the time we returned to the main building to see the Salon del Tecno de Felipe II /Philip II Ceiling room, the Courtyard of the Dolls the Salon de los Embajadores / Salon of the Ambassadors and the Alcoba Real / Royal Bedroom, more visitors had arrived, so it was a bit more crowded.

    In the gardens is a cafeteria with inside and outside terraces, and an air-conditioned room. Watch out for the fearless peacock who stalks the outside tables in search of crumbs.

    Opening hours from March to October are 9.30 to 17.00 and April to September are 9.30 to 19.00.

    Entry is 9.50 euro. You can pre-book, but there doesn't seem to be any need if you arrive reasonably early. It is also possible to visit the upper palace, which is the official residence of the royal family in Seville. There is a separate admission fee for this.

    Patio de la Doncelles Tapestries Hall Jardin de las Damas Banos de Maria Padilla Ceiling, Alcazar
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    Alcazar - Gardens

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Nov 15, 2014

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    The magnificent gardens located behind the palace create an atmosphere of a cool summer residence with smelling sweet flowers and pools.

    You can watch my 3 min 09 sec Video Sevilla Alkazar part 4 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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    Alcazar - Patio de la Montera

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Nov 15, 2014

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    From Patio de Banderas we get into the Hunting court yard (Patio de la Montera) which anticipates premises of the palace.
    This court yard is the greatest on size unlike small courtyards which are executed in moorish style.

    You can watch my 3 min 18 sec Video Sevilla Alkazar part 3 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

    Sevilla - Alcazar - Patio de la Montera
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    Alcazar - Patio de Banderas

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Nov 15, 2014

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    The entrance in Alcazar is from Plaza del Triunfo. It conducts into the green court yard Patio de Banderas. There were made ablution there.

    You can watch my 4 min 03 sec Video Sevilla Alkazar part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

    Sevilla - Alcazar - Patio de Banderas
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    Alcazar

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Nov 15, 2014

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    Palace Alcazar is located at the southern side of Plaza del Triunfo. The palace represents a masterpiece of moorish architecture - mudehar and can be compare with well-known palace Algambra in Granada. Alcazar was an official residence of Spanish kings during six centuries. The palace was built by architect Pedro in 1350-1369 on a place of the Arabian fortress of VIII century and included its many halls and buildings. Therefore complex Alcazar consists of moorish and Gothic parts.

    You can watch my 3 min 31 sec Video Sevilla Alkazar part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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    The fountain that plays a tune

    by SallyM Updated Aug 29, 2014

    If you are visiting the Alcazar, make sure you are in the Ladies' Garden on the hour.

    The Fame Fountain (Fuente de la Fama) has a hydraulic mechanism, estored in 2006, which plays musical notes on the pipes of an organ on the stroke of each hour.

    We arrived at around ten to eleven, and decided to wait to hear it. I think it was running slightly late as it didn't start up until about 5 minutes past, but it was worth waiting for. I was expecting just a few notes, but it plays a real piece of music.

    There is a small opening round the back that you can look through to see the organ pipes - you can just about see the cylinder that rotates to play the tune (like a giant musical box).

    Fame Fountain - waiting for the show Fame Fountain The Fame Fountain mechanism
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    Triumph square

    by solopes Updated Feb 23, 2014

    Surrounded by the cathedral, the Alcazar and the Royal Archives of India, this wide square is the main hub of all touristy movements in Seville.

    It has an image of the Virgin in the centre, but its name comes from a small monument close to the archives.

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    Alcazar 1

    by littleman Written Sep 14, 2013

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    To some this is the major attraction in Sevilla.A series of palace buildings built over many years under different influences.I would recommend taking a least half a day to see this complex and gardens.Take some food and drink,find a quite spot in the gardens and enjoy the oasis.

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    Royal Fortress - Reales Alcázares

    by spanishguy Updated Aug 25, 2013

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    Finally we are on the third UNESCO building in Sevilla, the Real Alcázar, the oldest Royal Palace used in Europe, because it still being the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in Seville.

    Noteworthy as it is it not only a singular palace but a series of palaces, the product of successive reforms that took place since the Arab occupation. Thus these grounds bring together a perfect symbiosis, a succession of architectural styles, from Islamic to Neoclassical, incorporating Mudejar elements, Gothic, Renaissance, Plateresque, Purist, Baroque and Rococo; all contributing to the magnificence of this landmark. They are present at its beautiful gardens, patios, rooms and tapestries.

    It's really advisable a visit to the Alcázar, and also I could advice you to take an audioguide to understand better the history and unique art of this building.

    Visiting hours during the day

    From October until March 9:30 - 17:00
    From April until September 9:30 - 19:00

    Price / Precio: 8'75 €
    Retired and students from 17 to 25: 2 €
    Sevillians, disabled and children under 16: Free entrance

    Free entrance for regular public 18:00 - 19:00 (April - September) and 16:00 - 17:00 (October - March)

    Link to the next tip

    Lion gate by night Alcazar view from the Cathedral Alcazar wall and tower Lion gate Walls

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    Absolutely Amazing

    by Maymuna Written Apr 6, 2013

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    The Real Alcázar was the first sight I visited in Seville, and definitely the most impressive. As a former student of Islamic Studies I was especially intrigued by the Arab-influenced parts of the building, and I was not disappointed by the incredible details in the architecture and the calligraphy. To me the entire Alcázar is proof of the beauty that can come out of mixing and combining different cultural influences. In fact, its beauty almost moved me to tears.
    The gardens are spectacular, and even in March, when it is not too warm, you can appreciate how the natural "air conditioning" must work wonders in the heat of summer.
    Maybe, in a way, it was a mistake to see this first, because nothing else could come close to the beauty of the Real Alcázar.

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    Real Alcazar

    by GentleSpirit Updated Feb 22, 2013

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    The Alcazar of Seville was originally a fortress built by the Moors as early as 913. Over time it has been adapted as a residential palace by the various rulers that have lived here and the roles and functions that these rulers have carried out. Even today it is considered the oldest active palace in Europe.

    Originally, Seville played second fiddle to Cordoba, the center of the Moorish state in Spain. Later though, Seville became the main city under the Moslems. In 1254 Alfonso of Castille (the Wise) ordered construction of a gothic palace. In the 1300's Pedro (the Cruel) had the palace expanded in the Mudejar style, using Moslem artisans from Seville, Cordoba and Granada. Remember of course that Seville became the center of the Spanish empire following the discovery and colonization of the Americas, and with that came the dramatic expansion in wealth, and consequent expansion of the palace as well. Interestingly, the only major addition the Habsburgs made was the beautiful gardens.

    Even today the upper floors are reserved for the use of the Royal Family and are to be made available to them whenever they are in town. I was visiting on one of those days and I guess due to security the hours were limited.

    Pedro the Cruels Palace-entrance Patio de las Munecas (Courtyard of the Dolls) Ceiling-Hall of the Ambassadors (Sala Embajadores)
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    Alcazar: King Cruel's Palace

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated May 28, 2012

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    The most spectacular wing of the Alcazar is King Pedro the Cruel's Palace. The palace is designed in a striking combination Moorish and Renaissance style. Work on this area of the Alcazar began in 1364 when King Pedro called on his friend Mohammed V from Granada and indicated his intent to rebuild this portion of the Alcazar. Mohammed, who was responsible for much of the detailed work at the Alhambra, provided Don Pedro with artisans from Granada, Seville and Toledo to help create what King Pedro was looking for. He wanted the palace designed as the place for him and his mistress to live after he abandoned his wife to live in this section of the Alcazar.

    According to scholars this palace is considered Spain's best example of the Mudejar style. Several of the rooms are intricately designed from tiled ceilings to beautiful walls and ceilings.

    King Pedro wanted the redesigned palace to have both private and public quarters. At the center of the public quarters is the Patio de las Munecas (Courtyard of the Dolls). The doll's head in my first photo seems to be crying for attention. Wondering what motivated the designer to create this image? Walking around this area provided us with stunning glimpses of detailed Moorish decoration and plasterwork. This courtyard was altered significantly in the 19th century to meet the needs of the ruling monarch at that time.

    The most striking public area of the King's Palace is the Patio de la Doncellas (Courtyard of the Maidens). The most jaw dropping portions of this area are the beautiful arches and detailed plaster work. According to the Lonely Planet's, Andalucia, a sunken garden was discovered in this area in 2004 by a team of archaeologists. This courtyard was altered significantly in the 19th century to meet the needs of the ruling monarch at that time.

    Walking this area reminded me of the Alhambra of course but somehow there was a feeling of sadness as I walked through some of the palace rooms.

    Dolls Head in Patio de las Munecas Plaster Work at Patio de las Munecas Incredible Door in the Kings Palace Top of Archwork in the Patio de las Doncellas

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    Royal Alcazar: Visiting and Enjoying

    by TooTallFinn24 Written May 27, 2012

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    The Alcazar is well worth spending a couple of hours visiting. While some may argue that is not as spectacular as the Alhambra and Mezquita it is a beautiful site that has rich architectural detail.

    I have broken down my trip to the Alcazar into five different pages; this introduction, the Admiral's Apartments, the King's Palace, Gothic Wing, and the Gardens.

    The Alcazar was constructed beginning in the 11th century on the oldest archaeological remains in what was once part of the Islamic town. Over the ensuing 900 plus years portions of the Alcazar have been transformed into nearly every architectural style imaginable as different owners have gone for a style that they felt best both represented and met their needs. Portions of the Alcazar have been constructed in Baroque, Neo-Classical, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist, Taifa, Almohal, and Mudejar styles. Many of those architectural patterns are still represented their today. It makes for striking contrasts and what remains today represents a blending of styles over that 900 plus year period.

    We chose to visit the Alcazar on a Sunday afternoon. There was a line but it moved quickly and within twenty minutes we were let inside. The cost of tickets has recently risen to 8 euros a person although seniors above age 65 or members of the European Economic Community are given reduced rates.

    The Alcazar is open from 9:30 to 19:00 daily between April and September and the rest of the year is open from 9:30 to 17:00.

    Kings Palace Front Facade View of Alcazar From Sevilla Cathedral Interior Courtyard Royal Alcazar Gardens of the Royal Alcazar

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    Alcazar: Gardens

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated May 27, 2012

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    The gardens at the Alcazar provide a welcome relief from the intimate details and darkness of the Palace and Admiral's Apartments.

    One of the more interesting garden areas is the Jardín del Estanque . This in area of a large pool and a detailed wall with arches. This garden was named after thereservoir which formed the basis for the pool, a cistern which once collected water for the palace and for irrigation.

    Coming out of the main palace area, there are a series of linked gardens called the Jardin de la Danza (Gardens of the Dance). These are more formal gardens each with a general theme. There are beautiful ceramic tile benches that have been well kept up that provide a glimpse of the Moorish workmanship.

    There is also a small maze garden which was very popular with children and their families.

    Jardin del Estanque Formal Gardens Jardin De Las Danzas:  Cour. Blufton Univ. (BU) Deatiled Bench in Jardin De Las Danzas- Court B.U. Gardens Far at the Back of the Alcazar

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    Alcazar: Admiral's Apartments

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated May 26, 2012

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    The first of the four main areas of the Alcazar we visited was the Admiral's Apartments.

    This was the room of the Alcazar that Queen Isabella used in the early 1500's to administer Spain's New World discoveries. It was also the room that she met with Christopher Columbus in after one of his voyages.

    The rooms are not as spectacular as the other portions of the Alcazar and contain a series of coats of arms, and several paintings. The most spectacular of the paintings is the Santa Maria de los Navegantes (St. Mary of the Navigators- See Photo 1 here). It was painted by Alejo Fernandez. The Virgin was the patron saint of the navigators. On the left hand side of the painting there is a rare portrait of King Ferdinand.

    In another room of the Admiral's Apartments there is also a scale model of the Santa Maria one of Columbus's ships. It was the only one of Columbus's ships to sink in the discovery of the New World.

    2nd & 4 photo courtesy mary ann sullivan b.u.

    Coat of Arms Room Admiral-bluffton univ. Outside View of Building that Holds Admirals Apts. Gilded Ceiling Admirals Apts. - bluffton univ.

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