Seville’s Magical Alcazar

10021205 gardens superbThe Alcazar is a complex of buildings and gardens built in the AD 900s  for the governors left behind by the conquering Moors as they headed east claiming Europe as their own as they went. After the re-conquest, the governmental campus was re-built for the Christian king, Pedro I in the 1300s. It is still in use today. Whenever Spanish royalty comes to Seville for a visit, they stay here.
10021204 more color than I remember at Alhamb interlocking courtyardsWe  work our way through several courtyards, patios with colorful tiled arches, and gardens, never sure whether we’re indoors or outdoors. Bubbling up from several fountains and flowing across the floor in little channels is water designed to cool the area in southern Spain’s hottest days. It’s never difficult to find shade and pools of cool water – these north African invaders obviously knew more about how to keep cool in the desert than we Europeans have figured out even 1100 years later. For example how many places can you think of where even the outdoors is shady, breezy, and never far from at least a little water?
10021204 n kirk reminded of southern italy sure enough sicilian ceramicistWhen we enter the Palacio Gótico, we remark how similar the design of the wall tiles is to tiles we’ve seen in Sicily and around Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Sure enough, we learn that the tiles were made by a ceramicist from Sicily.
Another room, the Chapel of the Casa de la Contratacion houses an exact three 10021203 indians in the dark under marys capefoot replica of one of Columbus’s three ships. On the wall is the first depiction in art of native Americans, shown protected under the arms and long shawl of the Virgin of the Navigators.

10021204 exquisite gilded dome


Other rooms feature thick walls and tall ceilings with gold lacey domes.

10021206 baths of dona maria de padilla


Underneath one section of the gardens are the Baths of Doña Maria de Padilla. These arched ceilings are works of art that cover the rainwater baths built for King Pedro’s maidens.

10021206 pavilion bubbling fountain just sound is cooling

Just inside the Garden of the Dances is a small stone pavilion with all the typical Moorish features : tall, domed ceiling, open walls, a little bubbling pool with channels over the floor – a very peaceful, cool place to be in the blazing sun. 10021207 patterns from another angle

Throughout the gardens are precisely mathematically perfect symmetrical spaces bounded by hedges and mazes.
What a glorious place – worth spending hours longer than we have today!
2009 Anne and Kirk ViasThe best way to describe us (Kirk and Anne Woodyard) is that we’re interested in the stories that make the places we visit come alive.
We’ve visited Europe more times than we can count, learned some entertaining stories there, and met some warm and helpful people who also enjoy the wonders of music and life in Europe.
Between our music-related travels, we split our time between our homes near Washington DC and the south of France. We look forward to sharing these stories and friends and experiences with our Music and Markets guests.
While both of us have experience in organizing travel and music groups Kirk’s background is in project management and competitive writing, and Anne is an accomplished pianist with over thirty years of teaching experience, and a travel and food writer specializing in France and Italy.

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