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.
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!
A covered arcade looks down over the gardens. I imagined Spanish queens sitting here on rainy days, looking over the gardens while sipping Amontillado!
The pools are not the reflecting pools of traditional Moorish architecture. However, the Moorish baths provided still water for a reflective photograph.
We walked back through the inner courtyard before finally spotting the peacock that had disturbed our peace in the English Garden!
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