The Royal Alcázar of Seville is one of the three monuments in the city that are listed as World Heritage sites. It is a truly unique landmark to visit. Alcázar, a word of Arabic origin, refers to “palace,” and here, we dig in to what is considered to be the oldest royal palace still in use in all of Europe.
The origins of this complex date back to year 844 aD, when the fortress was built after Norse barbarians invaded the moorish city of Seville. From that time on, it became the official residence of governors, rulers, and kings.
Visiting the Alcázar requires an open mind, as we deeply immerse ourselves in the mixture of cultures, religions, patterns, materials and architectural styles that this palace consists of. Over 12 centuries, many things change and all these changes are present in Alcázar, It is also interesting to see how the rulers who lived here continuously adapted them to the necessities and novel decorations of their different eras.
Seville was a Muslim city until 1248 aD, when the oldest part of the palace was constructed. However, what is really fascinating is the mudéjar palace, a new residence built in the 1360s by King Peter I.
Mudéjar is the name given to the Muslims who were allowed to stay in the area after the Christian reconquest, and refers to the style used by the Muslim artisans and workers at the service of Christian elites. Materials, patterns, and even inscriptions, will remind you of structures found only in northern Africa or the Middle East, but are still considered Christian buildings. Peter I used this palace as his residence so he also imbedded the symbols of his kingdoms and religion throughout the place, along with verses from the Quran.
Of the most impressive areas in the palace of Peter I include the Ambassadors hall and the Maidens courtyard.
PRO TIP: The first floor of the palace is actually off-limits to tourists, as it is reserved for the Spanish Royal family. this palace is still put to good use!.
Apart from the Mudejar palace, the building of “Casa de la contratación”, the house of trade. It was used for over two centuries as a logistic center for everything regarding the new world, as well as the gothic palace, the first Christian structure in the complex. and of course the stunning gardens and bathrooms of María de Padilla.
These exact gardens and bathrooms, together with the Ambassadors room of the palace of Peter I, were used as a set of Game of Thrones. During the fifth season, the Alcázar was chosen as the Kingdom of Dorne, a perfect selection, as no special effects were needed in the series, the set itself was already breathtaking.
The land of House Martell is a southern peninsula.It seems George RR Martin was already thinking about Spain when he wrote his books! The Alcázar is the setting of some of the most important scenes in the fifth season, with the conspiracy and murder of the prince of House Martell, the arrival of Jamie Lannister to rescue his daughter, and the fight of Jamie and Bronn against the Dornish soldier in the Watergardens.
Since being chosen as a set for the successful Game of Thrones series, the number of visitors to the Alcázar have been increasing in the last few years, reaching 2.2 million in 2019.
If you are planning to visit Seville, here’s our Buzziler recommended experience at the Alcázar, where you can enjoy this breathtaking palace in a small group guided tour. You won’t even need to worry about securing tickets in advance–we’ll skip the line to discover the history of the magnificent Alcázar.