Two Palaces of Sevilla – The Alcazar and The Casa de Pilatos

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.

Puerta del Leon is the entry to the Palace.

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.

An access-gates to Salón de los Embajadores in Palace of Peter of Castile

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:

A beautiful vase

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.

Patio overlooking one garden.
A small section of the gardens.
Water stored underneath. It keeps the Palace temperature consistently cool, especially with Sevilla’s hot summers.
Amazing painted tiles line the walls of the palace.

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.

The rather subdued entry.

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.

Beautiful marble sculpture surrounded by fantastic arches and tiles.

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.

One small portion of the gardens.

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.

Very few people were touring this fantastic palace. And the tile work goes on and on.
Tile work literally goes to the ceiling and touches a masterful ceiling.

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.

Every palace needs their dragons.

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