Royal Alcázar (Real Alcázar)
A royal residence still used by the country’s monarchs today, the Royal, or “Real” in Spanish, Alcázar is one of the most striking architectural achievements in Europe. It’s a group of buildings and gardens that blend styles dating back to the Moors of the 11th century, right up to the modern day.
Marvel at the splendid stucco work, admire the geometric harmony and balance achieved by the designers, and wander among the pools and fountains of the Alcazar’s peaceful gardens.
The most breathtaking elements of the Alcázar were constructed in the 14th century by Pedro I, who commissioned the central palace that you see directly after entering the main courtyard. The palace’s spectacular façade was created by the finest artisans from both sides of the Gibraltar Straits. The marble-columned windows, the intricate stucco work and the overhanging roof are some of the best examples of Mudéjar design in the world. Mudéjar design fuses Christian and Islamic styles.
Follow the narrow corridor to the palace’s central courtyard, known as the Patio de las Doncellas (Patio of the Maidens), where 100 maidens were once presented annually to the Moorish kings by Christian leaders. A sunken garden in the center is surrounded by yet more stunning plasterwork and tiling.
Look for the two tiny faces on the inside of the arch in the Patio de las Muñecas (Patio of the Dolls), where plasterwork was brought from Granada’s Alhambra to complete the decoration. In the Salon de los Embajadores (Ambassadors Room), admire the horseshoe-shaped arches decorated with tiles and intricate plasterwork.
Complete your visit with a stroll around the gardens, where the baths of Pedro’s mistress María de Padilla, along with a number of other water features, create a serene ambience.
Alcázar is in Seville’s historic district, the Old Town, on the east bank of the Guadalquivir River. Enter Alcázar from the Plaza del Triunfo next to Seville Cathedral. The site is open daily, except public holidays, and there is a small charge for entry.