Alcázar of Seville

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cathedral, Alcázar and General Archive of the Indies in Seville
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Patio de las doncellas.jpg
The Courtyard of the Maidens
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, vi
Reference 383
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1987 (11th Session)

The Alcázar of Seville (Spanish "Reales Alcázares de Sevilla" or "Royal Alcazars of Seville", Spanish pronunciation: [alˈkaθar])) is a royal palace in Seville, Spain, originally a Moorish fort. The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Spain. It is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, and it was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the Seville Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.[1]

Hall of Ambassadors

The Almohades were the first to build a palace, which was called Al-Muwarak, on the site of the modern day Alcázar. It is one of the most representative monumental compounds in the city, the country and the Mediterranean culture. It's influences held within its walls and gardens began in the Arabic period and continued into the late Middle Ages Mudéjar period right through to the Renaissance, the Baroque era, and the 19th century.[2] The palace is one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture. Subsequent monarchs have added their own additions to the Alcázar. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence and are administered by the Patrimonio Nacional. HBO confirmed on July 2, 2014 that part of the fifth season of "Game of Thrones" will be shot in several locations in the province of Seville, including the Alcazar.

Façade of the Peter of Castile's Palace in the Alcázar.


Patio de las Doncellas[edit]

The name, meaning "The Courtyard of the Maidens", refers to the legend that the Moors demanded 100 virgins every year as tribute from Christian kingdoms in Iberia.

Muslim architecture inside the Alcázar.

The lower level of the Patio was built for King Peter I and includes inscriptions describing Peter as a "sultan". Various lavish reception rooms are located on the sides of the Patio. In the center is a large, rectangular reflecting pool with sunken gardens on either side. For many years, the courtyard was entirely paved in marble with a fountain in the center. However, historical evidence showed the gardens and the reflecting pool were the original design and this arrangement was restored. However, soon after this restoration, the courtyard was temporarily paved with marble once again at the request of movie director Ridley Scott. Scott used the paved courtyard as the set for the court of the King of Jerusalem in his movie Kingdom of Heaven. The courtyard arrangement was converted once more after the movie's production.

The upper story of the Patio was an addition made by Charles V. The addition was designed by Luis de Vega in the style of the Italian Renaissance although he did include both Renaissance and mudéjar plaster work in the decorations. Construction of the addition began in 1540 and ended in 1572.

Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla[edit]

The "Baths of Lady María de Padilla" are rainwater tanks beneath the Patio del Crucero. The tanks are named after María de Padilla, the mistress of Peter the Cruel.

Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla.

La Casa de Contratación[edit]

The Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) lies off the la Monteria. It was built in 1503 by the Catholic Monarchs to regulate trade with the New World colonies. The Casa dealt with trade related legal disputes on trade with the Americas. The "Casa" includes a chapel where Columbus met with Ferdinand and Isabella after his second voyage. The chapel houses The Virgin of the Navigators, one of the first paintings to depict the discovery of the Americas and one of the earliest paintings to depict Columbus.

After the discovery of America, Queen Isabella decided in 1503, the creation of the La Casa de Contratación, an institutional agency to regulate relations with the Americas, and performing tasks of remittance and receipt of goods, actions technical scientific and judicial activities, including lawsuits arising between traders. In their rooms the most celebrated voyages of the discoverers, as the First World Tour Magallanes were also screened.

To accommodate that institution, the city of Seville was chosen. The same year of the creation of the institution, construction and arrangement of buildings necessary for the placement of it was ordered. What survives today of the ancient House of Trade, is only part of what eventually came to occupy, and which included a number of buildings that stretched from the current Patio de la Monteria to Plaza of Trade, where it had its main façade, this area included among others, the Fourth Admiral or chapter house, with two two-story buildings, a chapel, another area of warehouses and rooms around a courtyard, next to the Plaza of Trade, this part being demolished in the year 1964. In 1717, the agency moved to the city of Cadiz. Since 1793, when it was extinguished the Casa de Contratación, all parts of the Casa de Contratación were included throughout the Alcázar .

Other sections[edit]

  • Patio de las Muñecas
  • Patio de la Monteria
  • Puerta del León
  • Dormitorio de los Reyes Moros
  • Salón de Embajadores, 1427
The Alcázar Gardens


Giralda view from the Patio de Banderas (Courtyard of Flags) .

The palace was the birthplace of Infanta Maria Antonietta of Spain (1729-1785), daughter of Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese. The king was in the city to oversee the signing of the Treaty of Seville (1729) which ended the Anglo-Spanish War (1727).


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°23′02″N 5°59′29″W / 37.38389°N 5.99139°W / 37.38389; -5.99139