February 14, 2020
The Royal Alcazar
The Alcazar is the most popular attraction to see in Seville. This royal palace was built for the Christian king Peter of Castile and it boasts design elements of the Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque and Arabic influences. This was once the site of a Muslim fortress until it was destroyed by Christian conquests in Spain.
The upper levels of the Alcazar are still used today by the royal family of Spain and has endured over 500 years of construction. During this time, major gardens have been added and many water features. In 1755, the Palace received its latest remodel due to an earthquake and it incorporated more baroque elements.
A visit to the Royal Alcázar will definitely leave you in awe of this beautifully decorated structure and gardens. If you are planning to visit, then it is best to buy your tickets in advance or stand in a very long line hoping to get a ticket. We went through the official website and bought our ticket and audio guide for €18.50 pp. We then downloaded our .pdf ticket and we were ready to visit The Royal Alcázar. Be sure to arrive a few minutes before your entry time. The Royal Alcazar website: http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/
Plan to spend some time here. We spent 3 hours and could have sat in the gardens longer. There is a nice cafe (cafeteria style) overlooking the orchard garden. Bathrooms are just passed it, so it can’t be missed.
The Casa de Pilatos
The Real name for this palace is the Royal Ducal House of Medinaceli. It was built in the late 1400’s and is still used today by the Medinaceli family as one of their residences. It’s a bit off the beaten path and isn’t considered a major tourist attraction. What attracted us was the fact that this house was named after Pontias Pilot – due to the dimensions and layout similarities.
When Don Fadrique Enríquez de Rivera, the first Marquis of Tarifa, began renovating this palace in the 1500’s, he decided to use design influences from his travels to Italy and the Holy Land. His Renaissance style palace soon became a major influencer on the architectural scene in Seville.
The Patio Principal (central courtyard) was also changed as balconies, classic greek columns and a marble tiered fountain in the center were added. Four Roman and Greek statues were then added to each corner. The walls of the Patio, and many of the rooms of the house, were then tiled with beautifully hand crafted tiles that make up the largest collection of historic tiles in Portugal. The tile workers were delivering over 2,000 tiles per week to complete the project (remember, this was in the late 1500’s). A grand staircase was also added during this time to take their visitors up to the salons on the second floor.
As you step outside the palace, inside the guarded walls, you can enjoy two gardens with fish ponds, orchards, Italian loggias and several niches with statues. The gardens also boast a small grotto. It’s a lovely place to sit and enjoy one’s palace.
While this palace isn’t the size of the Royal Alcazar, it is able to stand on its own for the shear beauty of the tiles and the amazing ceilings. Work is still being done on the residential part of the palace to upgrade technology and add some newer features of comfort.
When paying at the entrance, make sure to include the small group private tour of the second floor. It truly is a home, just a bit different than what we conceive as home.