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Real Alcázar - Historical Building Sevilla - Spain

The Alcázar of Seville was once a Moorish palace not unlike the Alhambra in nearby Granada, bit its history is significantly different. It was a palace-fortress under the Moors, specifically the Almohades. In 1248, the city fell to the Christian reconquest, and much of the fort was damaged, subsequently falling into ruin. During the reign of Peter the Cruel in the late fourteenth century, the palace was rebuilt over the ruins. Peter kept what could be salvaged and had mudéjar (Moors living under Christian rule) artisans rebuild the rest, so the fortress still has a distinctly Moorish flavor. The Alcázar of Seville has the distinction of being the oldest royal residence still in use in Spain: the Spanish royal family uses it when they visit the city.

The Alcázar is divided into several parts. The most impressive section is the Patio de las Doncellas, or Courtyard of the Maidens. This was one of the sections that King Peter had re-done, and it’s very striking. Much of the fine work on the walls is reminiscent of the Alhambra, but the colors have survived better over time and it is easier to imagine how it must originally have been.  If the courtyard looks familiar, it may be because director Ridley Scoot used it in his Crusades movie Kingdom of Heaven.

Be sure to check out the Casa de la Contratación, or “house of trade.” The alcázar was the headquarters for trade with the Americas during the Spanish colonial era. It included regulatory agencies and a school for navigation, the first director of which was Amerigo Vespucci, who gave his name to America. The chapel features images and scenes of ships and seas.

In addition to the attractions mentioned above, there are some extensive, well-kept gardens that you can see after the tour. Don’t let the gardens and beautiful courtyards fool you: the alcazar has a dark side. The Moorish sultan Abbad II al-Mu’tadid, who ruled there before the Christian reconquest supposedly used the skulls of his enemies as flowerpots, and Peter the Cruel had one of his half-brothers murdered deep inside the palace somewhere!

Central Sevilla
Sevilla, Spain

Historical Building

Travel Tips: Hours: Tues-Sat 9:30 - 5:00, Sunday and holidays 9:30 - 3:30. Hours expand from April to September, when it is open later in the afternoon (7:00, or 5:00 Sundays). Closed Mondays.

Price Description: €7 per person. Free entry to those born in  Sevilla, seniors, students, kids and handicapped.

Relative price: Mid-Range

Contact Information:
Phone: 954 50 23 24
E-mail: direccion(at)

Here are other activities in and around Sevilla that may be of interest: Giralda Tower,

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
16 Oct 2007

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