Patio de la Monteria, March 2017. Much like The Alhambra in Granada, a great deal of Seville’s tourism revolves around its amazing royal palace. With its architecture dating back to a succession of distinctive eras, it feels like there’s a surprise around every corner, with Moorish (11th to 12th century), Gothic (13th century), Mudejar (14th century) and Renaissance (15th-16th century) sections of the complex. This shot is of the palace’s main courtyard, where King Peter I and his posse used to meet before setting off on local hunting expeditions.
Courtyard of the Maidens, March 2017. The Alcázar’s most impressive courtyard refers to the legend that the Moors demanded a hundred virgins every year as tribute from the Christian kingdoms. If this is true, one can only imagine what went on in this courtyard and the numerous antechambers that run along its side. The courtyard was also used for the court of the King of Jerusalem in the Ridley Scott movie Kingdom of Heaven.
Hall of the Ambassadors, March 2017. This absolutely stunning hall used to be a throne room back in the days of the wonderfully named Pedro the Cruel. The room features triple horseshoe arches, Arabic inscriptions and portraits of fifty-six Spanish kings. But the crowning achievement is surely its majestic dome of gilded wood, with multiple star patterns symbolising the universe. The dome’s shape also influenced the hall’s alternative name, Sala de la Media Naranja (Hall of the Half Orange).
Palace Gardens, March 2017. The Alcázar includes a vast complex of beautifully landscaped gardens. It took me well over an hour to stroll through, pausing here and there to admire the work of various art students scattered around with their paintbrushes and easels. There are pools, fountains, pavilions, a sizeable maze and this incredible raised viewing gallery, Galeria de Grutesco. The covered viewing terrace features porticoes fashioned in the 16th century out of an old Muslim-era wall.
Mercury Pond, March 2017. The gardens are so vast that for the most part you can get away from the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet. But things do get a little hectic around this focal point; a former palace swimming pool presided over by the god of Mercury. Lion-embellished railings surround the pond, while a segment of the gallery walls forms the backdrop with painted birds and mythological figures.