Spanish Royalty, Mudejar Architecture, Lush Gardens, and “Games of Thrones”
Why Visit the Real Alcazar in Seville, Spain
- A rich history
- Intricately detailed Islamic and Christian architecture
- Lush, manicured gardens
- Filming location for “Game of Thrones”
The immense royal palace and gardens of Spain in Seville amaze visitors with beauty and detail. Spanish royalty still live in the upper level. The rest of us can explore the lower level and grounds.
We love gardens and architecture and seek them out wherever we go. About a year ago, we binge watched “Game of Thrones” seasons 1 – 7. With Real Alcazar having gardens, architecture, and GOT, it was our most anticipated destination on our Disney TransAtlantic Cruise. Enjoy our photos and use our tips when you visit.
In the 8th century, the Real Alcazar was constructed by the Islamic Moorish conquerers. After the reconquista in the 13th century, the Castilian Christians under Ferdinand III from northern Spain built their palace onto and on top of it. Ferdinand died in the Alcazar and is buried in the nearby cathedral. The Real Alcazar still serves as one of the official residences of the Spanish Royal family. It is the oldest, European, royal palace still in use today.
Intricate Islamic and Christian Architecture
The Moors of North Africa constructed the alcazar (palace) using the intricate Islamic style. Only a small portion of the original Moorish palace remains. The Christian rulers hired Islamic artisans to build their new palace. The combination of European and Moorish design created what became known as Mudejar architecture. Details from Islamic architecture adorn much of the palace: arched doors and windows, repeating geometric design, tiles, and calligraphy. Gothic and Baroque styles were incorporated harmoniously.
Several stunning courtyards provide cooling, shady oases and continue the architectural detail.
The Moorish rulers initially constructed the gardens. The gardens of the Real Alcazar are some of the oldest in Europe. Over a thousand years of garden design and redesign cover acres of land and include ancient Moorish to modern English gardens (in Spain?). They are an absolute pleasure to explore.
Dorne in “Game of Thrones”
Season 5 of “Game of Thrones” heavily featured the Real Alcazar. It served as the Gardens and Palace of Sunspear, where the House of Martell ruled the Kingdom of Dorne. For fans of the show, this is a can’t miss destination. Scenes jump out at you and come alive as you wander the palace and gardens: plotting, the Sand-Snakes, treachery, and beheadings in an amazing setting that never could have been prefabricated just for a show.
- Purchase your tickets online well in advance. A set number of visitors are allowed at at time. Without a pre-purchased ticket, you will have to wait in a line that can be long, hot, and miserable. A ticket is like a Disney Fast Pass. You walk to the front of the line and enter; no wait.
- Consider skipping the audioguide. Once you have entered, most people line up for an audioguide. We walked right in with our tickets and then waited 20 minutes for an audioguide in an incredibly slow line. The guide was good, but not worth the wait. I wish that we had taken a printed guide like from a Rick Steves book, instead.
- Seville is hot! While the temperature in Cadiz, where we were docked, was about 80/ 28C, in Seville, the mercury soared to 95/35C. Dress appropriately and bring cold water.
- Give yourself plenty of time. One of my guide books recommended to plan for at least an hour. Even rushing through from room to room, garden to garden, will take at least 2 hours. To thoroughly explore, give yourself even more time.