SEVILLA, SPAIN. The Royal Alcázar de Sevilla is a gigantic, enchanting official residence of the Spanish Heads of State. It is the oldest royal palace that is still in use in Europe, and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a great place to spend an hour or two, and walk around to appreciate many different styles (Mudéjar, Gothic, Italian) of rooms, courtyards, gardens, and art.
It was built on the site of the Islamic quarter of Sevilla. The structure is full of many different architectural styles, since many monarchs added their own additions to the building, but the Mudéjar style dominates, reflecting the buildings original Moroccan influence (the first palace on the site was Al-Muwarek which was built by the Almohad dynasty in 1161).
You first walk into the Patio de las Doncellas section, which was built for King Peter 1 (who first rebuilt Al-Muwarek in 1364 after the Reconquista). The upper section was an addition by King Charles 5, and has an Italian Renaissance style. Branching off of this opening courtyard is another courtyard with a reflecting pool and sunken gardens.
The journey to the Americas was planned in the Casa de la Contratación. Queen Isabel 2 later refurbished the palace.
My favorite part of the visit was walking around and looking at the decorated plasterwork, tiles, and tapestries. The gardens were stunning, with many fountains, orange trees, and reflecting pools. Check out the hedge maze in the garden. With its grandness and diversity of styles, I felt like I was in Versailles.
For students, it costs two euros to enter (with a student ID card). Regular tickets are 9,50 euros. It is free if you are under 16. It is next door to the Cathedral of Sevilla, a very central point in Sevilla.
Tel. +34 954 50 23 24
Hours: October to March: Monday to Sunday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
April to September: Monday to Sunday 9:30 am to 7:00 pm