Royal Alcazar of Seville: Home to Spain's Medieval Kings

The wonderful thing about Seville is that the city is compact and highly pedestrianized; with all its tourist attractions within walking distance of each other.

Located in the area heralded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, next to the imposing Cathedral of Seville and impressive General Archives of the Indies, stands the Royal Alcazar of Sevilla.

* Also known as the Royal Castle of the Christian Kings.

* With its massive entrance known as the Puerta del Leon (Gate of the Lion), the Royal Alcazar was built by King Peter of Castille after the city of Seville was retaken from the Muslim Abbadids during the Reconquista, the war of reconquest between the Spaniards and Moors in the Iberian Peninsula.

* Originally an Abbadid Fortress, the structure was captured, repurposed and renovated by the Christians.

* Serving as the perfect example of Mudejar Art, the style of decoration across Iberia wherein Islamic and Christian elements are married to create a wholly distinct style.

* I mean just check out the Patio de la Doncellas, the perfect amalgamation of Islamic and European-Christian design!

* The Patio de la Doncellas, or Courtyard of the Maidens, was named after the legend that when the Abbadids controlled Andalucia, they supposedly demanded 100 virgins per year as tribute from the Christian kingdoms.

* Those were very dark times! And yet, sadly, normal for that period.

* Film buffs will be happy to note that the Royal Alcazar is also a famous film location; serving as the stand-in for the court of the King of Jerusalem in the Ridley Scott film, Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom. One of my favorite films of all time!

* And pop culture fanatics will also recognize the Royal Alcazar as being a set piece for several scenes of Game of Thrones Season 5.

* Finally, fans of classic cinema will be happy to recognize the Palace from several scenes in the history epic, Lawrence of Arabia.

* The centerpiece and most decorated area of the entire compound is the room referred to as the Salon de Embajadores (the Ambassadors Reception Room) where Peter of Castille held court.

* Make sure to look up to check out the astoundingly breath-taking ceiling! Centuries later, the room served as the wedding ceremony venue of Emperor Charles V, then the most powerful man in the world, and Isabella of Portugal. 

* It wouldn't be an authentic European castle if it didn't have an authentic European garden.

* Both the Muslims and Christians sure loved their flora and fauna, with the gardens of the Alcazar full of fruit trees and varieties of flowers.

* And the gardens have epic names too! Among them are Garden of the Poets, Gallery of the Grottoesque, and the snobbishly named Portal of the Privilege!

* This spitting beaver / bear / otter approves!

* A nice break from the Islamic-Christian fusion style can be found in the Sala de las Bovedas, built in the familiar Gothic design similar to the rest of Western Europe.

* Here, authentic medieval tapestries adorn all the walls.

* And proudly proclaim the glory of the Spanish Kingdom.

* With scenes of valor, heroism, and glory.

* I absolutely love tapestries and would happily spend the whole day staring at them, making up stories in my head.

* Today, the Royal Alcazar is still a lived-in royal palace, with the upper levels off-limits to the general public; serving as the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in Seville.

* But that didn't stop us from feasting on tapas and paellas right outside, like royalty!


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