El Alcázar

18 Sep

I have been living in Sevilla for two weeks now. I have seen a lot of this city, mostly in the city center. I have visited the University of Sevilla (one week til I start classes there!), I have seen the Metropol Parasol, I have eaten the best ice cream in the city (RAYAS!). I have seen the Festival de las Naciones in the beautiful Jardines del Prado de San Sabastian (park) across from the Plaza de España, from which we live approximately 5 minutes walking. However, until Friday, I didn’t even realize that we lived so close to the Alcázar and that the beautiful gardens were just moments away from the university.

We got out of class a little bit early on Friday, and headed with María Jesús and Mauri to the Alcázar. We stopped to look at a pretty cool (and super old) tree. Then we waited (in the blazing heat) to get in to the gardens. Turns out, the Alcázar isn’t just one building, but actually a series of buildings, that once ranged from the Guadalquivir through the city center to where it now stands. This might be hard to understand the scale if you don’t live here, but it is a good ten to fifteen minute walk from the Alcázar to the riverfront. This was a city in itself.  We started walking through the gardens. We came to an area that was still part of the original gardens- a cute little maze area that made for wonderful pictures and fun games of hide and seek.

After that, we went to a small building that was decorated with beautiful tiles made in Triana, part of the city that is across the river- they’re famous for their tile work! There was a little fountain inside. Originally, this was a place of prayer for the Muslim people who originally lived there. When the Christians took over and built on top of the original Muslim structures, they decided to use this building as a place to eat dinner. The tiles (always with the symbols) represent the kingdoms of Castille y Leon, and the Plus Ultra was a symbol of the fact that Spain had gone further than thought the world even existed- a sign of power and accomplishment.

Next, we stopped by a beautiful wall- part of the original wall that surrounded the Alcázar. It was built because the Queen at the time wanted to able to enjoy the gardens at any time, including when it rained or was windy. If you go up the stairs, you can see almost the entire gardens, and it is absolutely beautiful. On the outside, there are spaces that used to be paintings and a few of them you can still see the remnants of  portraits. These are my favorite parts of the tours we take- I can look at this wall and appreciate its structure and beauty, but I would have never noticed these paintings if María Jesús hadn’t pointed them out. Love that.

After a quick walk on top of the wall, we found a beautiful fountain. There were huge carp in the pond surrounding it. Seriously. Monster carp. Apparently people have been feeding them.

After a quick look at the pond, we went inside a private bath house, which is basically like a private swimming pool, where one of the King’s mistresses always swam. Apparently no one liked her because she had the King wrapped around her finger, so she always made someone taste the water for poison before she swam. This was a beautiful place, I loved it.

After leaving the bath house, we made it outside to a beautiful plaza. We saw a peacock in the gardens (apparently a young one, because he wasn’t very pretty…). María Jesús told us all about the different styles of architecture, and I took pictures of the bushes and the sky. P.S. it has not rained one single day since we’ve been here. It’s always sunny, and always really really hot.
Next, we headed into the private area where the King would sit. There was a room that was decorated all in an Arab style. It was beautiful, but according to the Muslim culture, you cannot make human faces or sculptures, nor animals I believe, because only God can create. In this room, however, there are two small hidden faces in the carvings. Found them! = Win.

Last, we came to a garden with a pretty pond in the middle. We took pictures and then headed out.

As we walked out, I finally realized where we were. Literally across the street from the University. I live here. Savannah and I repeat that often- We live here. In this city. In the beauty and history of southern Spain. How lucky are we?




On the agenda for next week:
Final exam.
Essay due.
Cirque du Soleil.
Bull fight.
Horseback riding on the beach.

Chyeah. Esta es mi vida.


2 Responses to “El Alcázar”

  1. homemadeelegance September 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Wooty. So many pictures! I love love love reading about your adventures. I especially like the private bathtub. Yes please!

    • Jess September 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

      So glad you’re enjoying it 🙂 Yes, I definitely wouldn’t mind a private bath like that one!!

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