Real Alcazar Royal Palace and Gardens in Seville is located right next to Seville Cathedral, in the heart of the city, the Alcázar of Seville (Real Alcázar de Sevilla), is placed in Andalusia, south of Spain. It is an outstanding complex of buildings and patios, which, together, make up the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. The upper levels represent the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in Seville.
Originally built by the Islamic rulers of the region and later modified and enhanced by the Catholic monarchs of Spain, the Real Alcázar de Sevilla is known as one of the world’s best examples of Mudéjar architecture. It is part of Seville’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Seville Cathedral and the Archivo de Indias.
The construction’s stunning design features an intricate palette of styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque, but overall it is considered one of the best remaining examples of Mudejar architecture.
A little bit of history
The word “alcazar” comes from the Arabic al-qaṣr, meaning “the castle.” And the Royal Alcazar was initially a castle-fortress, the origins of which can be traced all the way back to the beginning of the 8th century. At that time, the Caliphate of Córdoba was established.
In the year 913, Abd al-Rahman III, the Caliph, built a fort here, on a site where a Visigothic church had once stood. Later in the 10th century, They also added the Al Mubarak palace, stables, and storage areas.
Over time, through the reigns of the Almoravids and Almohads, more than twelve palaces were built and demolished. Few remains survive to date. The biggest change in dynamics began when the Christians took over Seville. The Alcázar became a place of residence. The most notable change occurred during the reign of Pedro I, when they built the palace under a strong Mudejar influence.
In the 13th century, during the Spanish Reconquest, the Alcázar underwent important architectural changes, adopting a more Gothic and Romanesque element. The 16th century brought more Renaissance influence, resulting in what we see today: an impressive fusion of various cultural influences.
Currently, the Real Alcázar of Seville is one of the most important -and most visited- places in southern Spain. Visitors may recognize it as the backdrop to the Water Gardens of Dorne in the hit television series Game of Thrones, and as the setting for several notable films such as Kingdom of Heaven and Lawrence of Arabia. The palace remains the official residence of the royal family in Seville.
What to see in Real Alcazar Royal Palace and Gardens in Seville
Puerta del León
In Spanish, Puerta del León translates as Lion’s Courtyard, and it is aptly titled. The courtyard’s walls, which date back to the 12th century, are among the Alcazar’s oldest. The Plasterwork Courtyard and the Hall of Justice are on opposite sides of the courtyard.
Patio de las Doncellas
The Patio de las Doncellas, or Patio of the Maidens, at the Alcazar’s heart steals the show. Inscriptions referring to Peter of Castile as a Sultan may be seen on the Patio’s bottom story. It’s embellished with symmetrical arches, plasterwork, and period designs. The Patio has appeared in a number of popular culture films, including Kingdom of Heaven and the popular Game of Thrones series.
Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla
The name “Baños de Doña Mara de Padilla” approximately translates to “Lady Mara de Padilla’s Baths.” It is located beneath the Crucero Patio. This beautiful and picturesque spa belonged to Mara de Padilla, Peter of Castile’s mistress.
Salon de Embajadores
In the Salon de Embajadores, better known as Ambassadors Hall, you can see how the Moors ran their court. This is an Al-historic Mu’tamid throne room from the 11th century. The room’s feature is the ceilings and access gates, which appear to be almost entirely covered in gold.
Casa de la Contratación
The Casa de la Contratación, or House of Trade, is a 16th century Renaissance palace on your right. It was the palace’s commerce district.
The House of Trade was the principal hub for transporting items from the new world into the city. Officials approved cruises, collected taxes, and stored “top secret” information in this location.
The royal gardens
Finally, you arrive at the Alcázar Gardens, which are wandering and aromatic. Even in the dead of winter, they’re a peaceful haven. There are almost countless roads to follow, and you’ll be content to become lost.
Some gardens date back to Moorish times, while others are more formal English gardens from the nineteenth century. Many of the plants are native to South America, due to explorers who brought seeds back from their travels.
It’s a 60,000-square-meter lush, tropical, labyrinthine wonderland that takes up 80 percent of the Alcázar grounds. Palm trees, cypress, myrtle, mulberry, magnolia, orange and lemon trees, and cornflower-blue agapanthus or cerise-pink hibiscus can be found at the correct time of year.
Tickets and schedule
Hours from October to March: Monday to Sunday, access from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Hours from April to September: Monday to Sunday, access from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Closed on January 1 and 6, Good Friday and December 25
Best time to visit is during spring time, as you will enjoy sunny days and beautiful blue skies.
The Real Alcázar has a maximum capacity of 750 visitors. Wait times during peak season can be extremely long. Book Alcazar tickets online and skip the queue!
Tickets are in high demand and sell out rapidly. As a result, it is preferable to purchase them online.
You can sign up for a personalized guided tour of the Alcázar of Seville to skip the queues . Because the group entrance differs from the individual entrance, you will already be greeted by the guide. Without a doubt, this is the best option for learning about the palaces’ whole history, understanding the chambers and gardens, and reliving your time in the past.
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How to get there
As it is located in Sevilla, capital of Andalusia. you won’t have problems getting there, as Sevilla has an international airport.
Real Alcazar Royal Palace and Gardens in Seville, is in the historic center. Therefore, you can basically move around on foot.
It is also close to other main cities in Andalucia such as Jerez de la frontera or Cadiz.
In fact, you can also get to Seville from Jerez de la frontera airport, as it is only an hour away from Seville.
Cadiz is only an hour and 15 minutes away from Sevilla. Only 120 kilometers.
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