The Royal Alcazar of Seville
Table of Contents
Brief History if the Alcazar of Seville.
The Royal Alcazar of Seville isn’t just a palace, but the result of mixing together different buildings serving a different purpose. Nowadays, what’s called Patio de Banderas is outside the premises, but long ago, there was a basilica dedicated son St. Vincent where the archbishops San Leandro, San Isidoro and San Honorato were buried. Later a mosque was built, destroyed by the Normand invasion around 844. Subsequently, here was erected the “Dar al Imara”, palace of the governor dependent of the emirs and khalifas of Cordoba.
At the beginning of the XI century, in times of the Taifa kingdoms, the Alcazar al Mubarak (Palace of the Blessing) was built. Complemented in Almohad times (XII-XIII) and having it’s neuralgic center the Throne Room and surroundings. From this period also is the Patio del Yeso.
After the Reconquista, King Alfonse X (1252-1284) sent to build the Gothic Palace with it’s typical nerve vaults.
Palace of Peter I. The soul of the Royal Palace.
The Palace of Peter I is the most important civil construction from the medieval Sevilla. It only took two years to be built. Rectangular in shape and re-uses some sectors from the former Al-Mubarak Palace.
The Façade of the Royal Palace.
Has a monumental façade that summarizes the Sevillian Mudéjar architecture. Shaped by the local tradition, plus the Nazarí (Granada) and the Toledo mudéjar. Mixed techniques were used here; Stone, brick, ceramic and wood. Finished with a splashboard supported by mocarabs originally painted in gold.
In the middle there is a ceramic inscription in Kufic calligraphy “There’s no winner but Allah” surrounded by information written in early Castilian about the owner of the Palace and when it was built.
Once inside you will notice that there’s no direct access to the palace. Instead, there’s a vestibule with bend access to the “Maidens Patio” and to the other side, access to the “Dolls Patio”.
Inside the Alcazar:
This one has suffered alterations throughout history. Originally in the times of Peter I, the columns were all in brick, replaced later in the XVI century with white marble from Carrara, worked by in Genovese workshops. Above the columns there is a rich plaster decoration called “sebka”. This plaster work is the result of a restoration process between 1983-1987.
The tile work from the plinth surrounding the patio are all original from the XIV century, but it’s technique and decoration style have a Nasrid origin.
The galleries are framed with eight point stars from the times of the Catholic Kings restored in the XIX century.
From this patio we have access to the most important room in the entire palace.
The Throne room, the center of the power.
The Ambassadors Hall, or the Throne Room. The doors or gates are representative of the fantastic craftmanship of the mudéjar carpenters.
The interior of this lavish room has a square plan covered with a semispherical dome. All carpentry work and decorated with glass atop. Finished in the XV century by Diego Ruiz. The Throne Room occupies the same space used by former king Al-Mutamid (XI century). Present on each side of the room, triple horseshoe arches englobed on a single alfiz.
Across the arches to the left, we have access to another smaller patio, a private patio if you like, called the Dolls Patio. This one also has suffered great alterations, most of them in the XIX century. The name comes from 16 little faces carved in the plaster work. The legend says that if you’re a maiden and you find all 16 of them you’ll find a husband. The Alcazar of Seville is full of legends.
From this patio, we have access to the Room of the Prince. In honor of Prince Juan, son of Queen Isabel of Castilla who was born here in 1478. The woodwork from this room dates back to 1543.
From the Upper Palace, Also was heavily adapted in the XIX century to accommodate the needs of Queen Isabel II. To visit the Upper Palace you must buy the normal entry ticket + a separate one. Tickets are only available through internet and only 120 tickets are sold per day.
If you’d like to visit the Alcazar of Seville, we organize daily tours in the morning, for more info click here.
Due to Covid19 restrictions, the monument only sells tickets via online. Please visit the official alcazar website and purchase them. Name and ID or valid passport number must be introduced and the day of the visit valid documents must be shown to security to access the monument.
Should I buy Alcazar tickets online?
Short answer, yes. Long answer, yes. Due to space restrictions at the moment there is no possible way of purchasing tickets on premises. The only option is to buy it through the official site. It is highly recommended to buy ahead during peak season as tickets sell fast.
Do I need a document to enter the Alcazar?
You must bring any form of valid ID. It can be your passport/ID and the name has to match the one on the purchased ticket. But I suggest bringing instead a copy of passport/ID or just a photo of it on your telephone. Tickets are not refundable and names cannot be changed.
When is the best time to visit the Alcazar?
Spring and Autumn are peak seasons, lots of festivities around and different holidays throughout the country and people travel, Seville is city highly sought after. Also Christmas time is busy. Low season is during winter time (last week of Jan-Feb-Mar) isn’t as busy. Summer used to be low season due to the heat but slowly we’re experiencing an increasing trend of tourist coming over.
How long do I need to visit the Alcazar?
A guided tour is around 90mins, it comprehends the main areas and you’re free to roam the gardens afterwards.
If you prefer to go on your own you can take as long as you wish, however, due to restrictions, security might ask you to move forward as the rooms get full. An enjoyable visit of the Alcazar of Seville is around 2 hrs with enough time for pictures and even a visit to the gift shop.
take this into consideration if you have to be somewhere at a certain time.