Part 20: Sevilla Day 2: The Alcazar


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The Trip

Kathleen had booked us at a great hotel near the river.  Next morning, our objective was to see the star attraction in town which is the Alcazar.  Much to our surprise, it was raining when we decided to head out.   Steve wanted a down day, so he stayed behind as Kathleen and I headed out.  Aside from the obvious implications, the rain caused chaos in the transport system.  The sidewalks were very slick because the stones had been polished by the soles of hundreds of thousands of feet traveling over them.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Because it was raining, we decided to taxi to the Alcazar.  When we arrived there was a large line waiting for tickets.  Fortunately, we had purchased tickets online and we admitted immediately.  Above is the entry way into the inner courtyard of the Alcazar.

The Alcazar (Arabic name for castle or fortress) was built by the Moors during their occupation of Spain that started in the 8th century.  The majority of the architectural influences were Moorish.  Later, in the 11th century, Seville was reclaimed by the Christians and the architecture of the newer portion of the structure reflect that change in ownership.  The Moors were really good at detailed, intricate carvings into alabaster and wood.  The photo above is a carving on a wall. 

A slightly different pattern but just as intricate.

An early side courtyard with a pool.  Note the two different style arches.  On the left and right side of the pool.

Deeper into the building we came upon another courtyard.  This area is newer.  The Alcazar is old enough that it show influences from 3 Arabic architecture styles as well as the Gothic Christian style.

These designs were high upon a bell tower.

Inside, under an archway, I spotted these excellent carvings.

The walls of the earlier portions of the Alcazar had tile floors, different tile walls and alabaster carvings.  The Moors were big into geometric patterns.

This is a deeply carved wood ceiling in one of the chambers.  Note the interlaced geometrical patterns.

Exquisite mosaic tile in an archway.

This portion of the structure was 2 levels, another portion had 3 levels, with a basement.

Astounding detail in the carvings and it went on and on room after room.

This is the ceiling cupola in the main chamber with tile and carved wood.

This whole wall was covered with detail alabaster carvings.

These carvings had subtle color areas.  Note the interlocking design on the wood inlay in the ceiling.

The amount of time and effort required to produce something like this is remarkable.

This chamber had tile mosaic on the floor.

Truly breathtaking.

While some weathering is apparent, this arch shows a different style of carving with the interlaced geometrical patterns.

A carved and inlaid wooden storm door.

One of the interior gardens with an odd style overlay on the walls.  We would see this style several places.

A royal crest from the Christian era.

A rock-inlaid patio floor.  Tens of thousands of river cobbles placed on edge.

Later Christian-era painted tile on a wall.

A large fountain area in the garden.

A view of only a small part of the gardens.

Looking back toward the main Alcazar structure with the Cathedral of Seville tower in the background.

The cathedral tower was very tall, much taller than any structure in the Alcazar.

We left the Alcazar and traveled past the cathedral.

An exterior wall near the exit from the Alcazar.

A view of the Cathedral of Seville.

The main tower of the Cathedral.  The rain was starting again and we were hungry, so we ducked into a tapas place for chow and some wine.

When the rain abated, we hit the bricks and walked back to the hotel.  Above is a parting view of the cathedral.

En route to the hotel, we walked through some really narrow streets.  On one very narrow street, we came to this thing that appears to be a car elevator, only 2.1m wide.  Recall that 1.8 was our point of pain in Granada.

We were given the assignment by Steve to find some wine and we located a store across the street from the hotel.  It turns out that it was a gourmet store that also sold hams.  Hams range from 100 Euros to 500 Euros per ham and they take from 1-5 years to cure.  Above is a 3 year, 300 Euro ham.  We got a little taste, it was awesome.

This is a 5 year, 500 Euro ham.  Note that it is a darker color.  This tasted good as well, but for my tastes, I preferred the 3 year.

We headed back to the hotel for some chill time, wine and conversation out of the rain.  Later that night, we attended a Flamenco dinner show.  Very interesting; the food was much better than expected and it was a 2 hour show with some interesting and talented dancers.

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