Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sevilla, Spain

Sat 23/8/14

Real Alcazar

We started out at Real Alcazar today, the royal palace of Sevilla. Alcázar is taken from the Arabic word Al Qasr meaning "the Palace". Admission fee is EUR 9.50 A bit of history excerpted from Wikipedia, Unesco Heritage site and Real Alcazar website:

In the early tenth century, the Caliph of Cordoba Abderrahman III ordered the rise of a new government, the Dar al-Imara, on the southern flank of the ancient port town known as Banu Khaldun. The Almohades built the palace of al-Mubarak, the Blessed which is the site of the modern day Alcázar. It became the center of life and literary; the works of poets such as al-Mutamid becoming part of the history of Sevilla. 

During the later tenth century of Umayyad rule, the New Fortress of the abbadíes was added to the palace. Subsequently, the almorávides government would close the space extending to the Guadalquivir river (Arabic Wadi Al-Kabīr)

The Spanish conquest of the territory in 1248-49 gave the Real Alcazar the condition that remains to this day. It became a royal residence and was renovated under the reign of Peter the Cruel. The work of decoration of the apartments, the fountains and the pavilions undertaken between the 15th and 17th centuries,  respected the original palace, its general layout, and the traditional refinement of an Andalusian palace. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence. 

facade of Real Alcazar from outside

facade at the inside entrace

beautiful interior carvings and inscriptions

ceiling decoration


the fountain
Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla (Baths of Lady María de Padilla)

Islamic influence

geometric tiles and Arabic inscription


Cathedral of Sevilla / La Giralda

It was originially a cathedral during the time of the Visigoths, then in 712 the Arab conquerors (Almohads) condemned to destruction, evident from the Chapel of Granada, then built the Great Mosque. In 1147, Sevilla became the capital of a Muslim empire that covered the whole of the Maghreb (Morocco).  

The Giralda, which was formerly the minaret of the Great Mosque (built in 1172-98 by the Emir Yaqub al-Mansur), escaped destruction and was turned into a bell tower after the reconquest of Seville in 1248. The only other part of the cathedral which preserves the memory of the Great Mosque is the Patio de los Naranjos on the north, a marvellous interior garden. The Christians began the destruction of the mosque in 1401, replacing it with a cathedral in the Gothic style.

Cathedral of Sevilla
La Giralda

Seeing the architectural remains first hand made me more appreciative of the richness of history and wide range of styles of the Muslim empire from 711 until the Christian Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century. Both the Cathedral of Sevilla and Real Alcazar are Unesco World Heritage sites.

It was then time to recharge. We had our lunch at one of the nearby cafes - of seafood paella and lasagne vegetal, with drinks of glass bottled water and iced lemon tea which cost about RM 120 (quite expensive).

seafood paella

lasagne vegetal
our glass bottled drink. plastic bottle drinks are not allowed to be consumed, only take away

After recharging, we proceeded by walking to the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza. We didn't go inside the bull ring though.

Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza

Not far from the bull ring is the river Guadalquivir where we took pictures of the Puente de Isabel bridge.

rio Guadalquivir
Puente de Isabel bridge

We then continued to walk to the Metropol Parasol, a unique (mushroom) looking wooden structure which offers a viewpoint of the city. Thanks to Shawn for recommending this to us. Entrance fee is EUR 1.35 which comes with a complimentary drink. Very welcoming under the scorching hot sun!

the unique looking metropol parasol

on the panoramic terrace
city view from the parasol

Train Sevilla - Cordoba

We then walked back all the way to our hotel and took the taxi to the Sevilla Santa Justa train station to catch our train to Cordoba at 5.30pm. The train ticket cost EUR 13.30/ person and is sold with the designated seat number so there is no need to rush to secure seats, unlike in Morocco. The train has 4 seats in a row with the aisle in the middle. The journey of about 150 km took 1.5 hours

Santa Justa train station
inside the train station
the train
the seats
can do your own thing here
the ticket

We were in Sevilla only for 1 night which was not enough. We reckon you to stay at least 2 nights at this city to explore the rich and diverse historical places. We hope to see you again Sevilla



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