THEAlcazar of Seville, in Spanish Royal Alcazares of Seville, is a royal palace located in the city center, designed and built by the Moors. It is a perfect example of Mudejar architecture, and is the oldest royal residence still in use in Europe. Together with the Cathedral and the Archive of the Indies it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
The palace is actually a monumental complex which includes buildings with a total area of 17.000 square meters and a garden of 7 hectares; it developed from the 11th to the 16th century, becoming over the years a real fortified citadel.
Today theAlcazar it is one of the most famous monuments of Seville, and certainly cannot be missed in a visit to the city.
What to see in the Alcazar
Visit the Alcazar it means taking part in a guided tour through its main elements, including patios, palaces and lush rooms. Here are some of the more interesting elements.
La Lion Gate it is the entrance door to the palace, obtained from the Arab walls of Seville dating back to the twelfth century. It takes its name from the mosaic placed just above the arch dating back to the 19th century, which portrays a lion holding a cross in its claws.
Patio del Yeso
Il Patio del Yeso it is a quadrangular courtyard with a swimming pool in the center. On the west side are the remains of the old entrance arch to the Hall of Justice, an area where the city council met at the time of the Moorish denomination.
Patio of the Maidens
The "courtyard of the virgins”Acquired this particular name due to the legend according to which the Moors asked for 100 virgins every year as a tribute to the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula.
It is one of the most beautiful elements of the Alcazar of Seville, adorned with arches in Islamic style and with a large fountain in the center arranged longitudinally. It is surrounded by arcades, while the upper floor dates back to 1540, and is built in the Italian Renaissance style.
The "house of commerce”Was built at the beginning of 1500 by the Catholic kings to regulate trade with the new world, after the discovery of America. It is a collection of administrative buildings while inside the chapel located here have been painted frescoes and paintings that celebrate the travels of the great navigators of those times.
What survives today of the Casa de Contratacion is only part of the original, which included several buildings including the Admirals' rooms and several warehouses and warehouses.
The Mudejar palace
On the south side of the Alcazar is the Palazzo Mudejar, strongly desired by Pietro di Castiglia around the mid-1300s to be a private wing, but without losing its sense of representation: it was in fact used for various court meetings.
Its façade is perhaps the most characteristic image of the entire Alcazar, inspired by the Islamic tradition but also by Christian principles, and is dominated by a richly decorated wood.
Hall of tapestries
La tapestry room it was rebuilt from scratch after the earthquake of 1755, which had its epicenter in Lisbon, by order of Charles III.
It has a rectangular plan with vaulted ceilings decorated with Baroque motifs. It takes its name because at the time of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, it was decorated with a series of tapestries representing the conquest of Tunisia in 1535, made starting from 1546.
But in the 18th century the tapestries were so damaged that in 1740 Philip V commissioned some copies, which were present in this room until 1929. The originals, owned by the Spanish National Heritage, were restored in 2000 and are now part of the palace's collection royal of Madrid.
High Royal Room
Another of the most interesting constructions of the Alcazar is undoubtedly the High Royal Room, that is the upper floor: on the north wing were the main rooms, while on the south wing there were apartments overlooking the garden.
The main apartments, accessible via two staircases, were characterized by a vestibule, a long room parallel to the corridor and a square room, with a balcony that opened onto the main facade on the Patio de la Monteria.
Luis de Vega, in the sixteenth century, reorganized the Cuarto Real Alto by converting it into winter palace of Charles V, adding a second perimeter gallery with richly decorated balustrades and semicircular arches, and supported by Ionic columns.
The garden of the Real Alcazar
I gardens of the Alcazar date back to over 1000 years ago. They represent about 75% of the total area of the complex, and bring with them not only a rich historical background, but are also an important natural element for the entire city, as they represent just under half of the entire green of the historic center of Seville.
They originally provided food for the residents of the palace, as well as having the aesthetic function of bringing pleasure to those who visited them. L'water it was and still is a fundamental element for gardens, both in the form of irrigation channels and in the form of ponds and swimming pools.
The entire structure has undergone numerous changes over the centuries: in the 16th century, during the reign of Philip III, the Italian designer Vermondo Stay introduced the Italian Mannerist style into the gardens of the Alcazar. He was in charge of the Grotto Gallery, transforming the old wall dating back to the period of Islamic domination into a loggia from which to admire a splendid view of the entire complex.
The gardens house beyond 20 thousand plants which belong to about 200 species, some native to the Americas. This makes them a unique infrastructure for regulating the biodiversity, climate and atmosphere of the city.
Here is some useful information for one visit to the Real Alcazar of Seville:
- October to March: Monday to Sunday from 09:30 to 17:00
- April to September: Monday to Sunday from 09:30 to 19:00
The Alcazar is closed for New Year's Eve, Epiphany, Good Friday and Christmas.
The entrance for the visit to the lower floor of the Alcazar costs 9,50 euros, while for pensioners and students up to 25 years the cost of the ticket is only 2 euros.
Finally, to visit the Cuarto Real Alto you have to pay an extra 4,50 euros.
Admission is free for children up to 16 years and for those born or resident in Seville.
We remind you that the maximum capacity of the Real Alcazar is 750 people. Once this limit is reached, access to the monument will no longer be possible.
Admission is free every Monday: from April to September from 18:00 to 19:00, and from October to March from 16:00 to 17:00.
L'Alcazar al cinema
Being a truly unique architectural ensemble, the Alcazar of Seville has been used several times by directors from all over the world as a set for films and feature films.
In 1962 he was chosen to shoot the film Lawrence d’Arabia, while the Patio de las Doncellas became the courtyard of the King of Jerusalem in the 2005 film The Crusades - Kingdom of Heaven.
Finally, part of the fifth season of the popular TV series The throne of swords was filmed in Seville, with some scenes inside the Alcazar.
Tickets for the AlcazarSee all Alcázar of Seville: fast track and guided tour 395 reviews Skip the line to enter the Alcázar and head straight inside to admire this cultural and architectural marvel. Learn about the history of the city and this UNESCO World Heritage site as you explore the monument with your guide. from 29,00 €
Seville Cathedral and Alcazar: 4-hour tour 144 reviews Explore the historic center of Seville on a shared or private tour with an expert guide. Visit the most important monuments of the city and learn about the role these sites play in the history of Seville. from € 54,00
Seville: Alcazar Skip-the-Line Tour 1893 reviews Avoid the long lines at the Alcazar of Seville on a 1-hour guided tour and travel through the history of one of Spain's most beautiful buildings. Learn about the time of the Almohads and the great kings of Spain who lived here. from € 36,63