Hope you had a great weekend!
This week I ‘d like to continue my series of posts on our recent holiday in Spain with a look at the Real Alcazar Palace in Seville, the majestic and grand Alhambra Castle in Granada, and then end the week with a look at our fun-filled holiday in Barcelona.
Reales Alcázares de Sevilla
Reales Alcázares de Sevilla or Royal Alcazar of Seville is a palace in Seville, Spain with a rich history of Muslim and Christian conquests that have influenced this area for centuries. This confluence of religions and cultures can be seen in many of the architectures of the palaces in the South of Spain and Real Alcazar is one of these palaces. Alcazar in Arabic means “the palace” while Real in Spanish means “Royal”. What better name to describe the integral role both Muslim and Christian cultures played in this region than in the name Real Alcazar – Royal Palace.
Muslim and Christian Architectures Come Together at Real Alcazar
Real Alcazar was built by Castilian Christians on the site of an Abbadid Muslim (as the Iberian Muslims were called) residential fortress after the Christian conquest of Seville. Here one can see the influence the two religions and cultures have had over the course of over a thousand years.
The Lion’s Gate. The entrance to the palace.
The Muslim Influence in Palace Architecure
It is during the 12th century that the Arab Muslim dynasty that ruled the Iberian Peninsula started building the Alcazar palace that stands today. The Alcazar palace is an example of Muslim architecture that was prevalent in the Iberian Peninsula that include features such as beautiful ornate carvings in soothing colors, colorful tile work, extensive water features, and white marbled floors.
Salón de los Embajadores in the Palace of Peter of Castile. The Christian Influence in Architecture.
In the 13th century when the Christians invaded the Iberian Spanish region and Muslims fled to North Africa, a more Gothic and renaissance style of architecture was added on to the Royal Alcazar palace for then Kind Pedro l of Spain.
Today the Alcazar Palace is a vacation residence of the Spanish royal family where the upper level apartments are still used as the official family residence when they visit Seville and hold state events.
The Gardens of the Royal Alcazar Palace.
With thirteen separate gardens in this extensive palace it’s obvious nature was a big part of both Muslim and Christian architectural palace designs. Each garden designed for a different purpose is unique, peaceful, and beautiful.
The Courtyard of the Maidens. Patio de las Doncellas.
All the palaces of the Andulican Muslims in this area of Spain had gardens with orchards, vegetable gardens for produce, and a wide variety of fragrant flowers. The gardens and orchards not only supplied food for the palace residents but also had the aesthetic function of bringing fragrance, beauty, shade, and a soothing natural respite in this hot region of the country.
One of the key aspects of Muslim gardens is their extensive use of water features that was accomplished with advanced irrigation channels, jets, ponds, pools, and fountains in all areas of their multiple gardens.
Jardín Inglés. The English Garden
At the English Garden is where one can see the influence of Victorian style garden design with boxwood hedges, roses and lavenders as flower accents.
Galeria de Grutesco. Grotto Gallery
One of the unique features at the English garden that I found fascinating is the cobalt blue colored railings on the narrow balcony overlooking the English gardens. In the 16th century during the reign of Philip III Italian designer Vermondo Resta was hired to re- landscape the gardens and is credited with transforming the old Muslim wall into a narrow outdoor balcony from which one can admire the view of the palace gardens below.
The pictures here are just a fraction of the gardens, the ornate rooms, and the beauty of this historic palace in Sevilla, Spain. A visit to Seville isn’t complete until a visit to this cultural gem Real Alcazar de Sevilla.