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It would be possible for a casual visitor to miss Seville’s Alcazar – the royal palace complex – hidden as it is behind a small gate near the Cathedral. The entrance gives no clue to the extent of the palaces and gardens within, or of their splendour. Yet there is much here that is reminiscent of the more famous Alhambra palace in nearby Granada.

The Alcazar features a mixture of Moorish and Renaissance design, the two styles often coexisting in layers of the same wall.  The palace offers room after room of intricately designed arches, tiles and decorative features.

 

Moorish arches of the Alcazar, Seville

Typical Moorish arches of Seville’s Alcazar

Renaissance arches, Alcazar, Seville

Moorish architecture topped with later Renaissance arches

Then there are the acres of formal gardens. We walked past trees just coming into blossom, and others groaning under the weight of last year’s ripe oranges. There were lots of tour groups so we escaped into the cool seclusion of the English Garden, where it was just us and the birds. It was cool and shady here, with many trees and a trickling fountain.

We sat for a while and listened to the sound of collared doves and a peacock in the distance, before going to investigate the maze. In contrast to the usual design, we had difficulty in finding the way in (walking all the way around before finding a tiny gap in the hedge), but managed to walk directly to the centre!

 

Gardens of the Alcazar, Seville

Formal gardens of the Alcazar

 

Garden entrance, Alcazar, Seville

Entrance to the gardens

There are lots of small buildings dotted around the gardens, including the Lion Bower.
Lion Bower, Alcazar, Seville

The Lion Bower

A covered arcade looks down over the gardens. I imagined Spanish queens sitting here on rainy days, looking over the gardens while sipping Amontillado!

Covered arcade, Alcazar, Seville

The covered arcade overlooks the gardens

 

The pools are not the reflecting pools of traditional Moorish architecture. However, the Moorish baths provided still water for a reflective photograph.

Moorish baths

The Moorish baths

 

We walked back through the inner courtyard before finally spotting the peacock that had disturbed our peace in the English Garden!

 

Inner courtyard, Alcazar, Seville

Inner courtyard

 

Peacock

A rather proud looking peacock

 

This post is linked up with Travel Photo Mondays – have a look for some great photographs from other travel bloggers
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