The Serene Courtyard of the Maidens at Royal Alcazars Seville
Exuding a serene feeling, Courtyard of the Maidens at Royal Alcazars is captivating. Entwined with myths and legends, this enticing patio features simplicity with intricate and tasteful design. A perfect embodiment of Mudéjar architecture and an unmissable courtyard at the outstanding Royal Palace of Seville.
BOOK YOUR VISIT IN ADVANCE
To visit the Courtyard of the Maidens at Royal Alcazar Seville, you must book your tickets in advance of your visit. The Royal Palace operate a maximum capacity policy and there is no guarantee that you will get to enter. Imagine queuing up for hours and not being able to enter! Avoid a disappointing experience and book in advance of your visit.
1 | Courtyard of the Maidens at Royal Alcazars
Set within the magnificent and one of the most splendid royal palaces in the world, Courtyard of the Maidens or El Patio de las Doncellas is attributed to the Castilian King Pedro I (Peter the Cruel) of the 13th century. Inscriptions found here refer to him as the reigning sultan.
1.1 | Legend associated with the Maidens’ Courtyard
This serene courtyard is unfortunately associated with a legend. Apparently, the Muslim Emirate of Cordoba at the time demanded one hundred virgins from the Christian rulers of Andalusia as an annual tribute. Built in memory of the virgins, one can imagine the profound effect this degraded legend had on the psyche of the people living at the time and those building the courtyard.
Though fictional, I can’t help but feel that the patio laments the sorrow of all those who may have lost their daughters, with each piece of its intricate work representing a poetic rhythm in their memory.
1.2 | The Maidens’ Courtyard today
Today, Patio of the Maidens is a tranquil haven. It has a beautifully laid out sunken garden, with an elegant long pool in the centre. Surrounded by twenty-four arches supported by white marble columns, assiduous plaster work and tiling. There are sculptures of knights, coats of arms, hands and masks which were added during the Renaissance period in the 16th century.
The lower courtyard is bewitching with ceramic tiles in lattice patterns with vibrant colours of turquoise, royal blue and orange. Handmade and painstakingly crafted with coloured pieces inserted into them. The designs feature stars and linked by ribbons to represent divine infinity. The plaster works feature motifs such as flowers and shells linked to fertility while the lion and castle stucco are associated with Spanish monarchy.
The upper floors were added during the reign of Charles V and includes Renaissance and Mudéjar decorations. It took about thirty-two years to complete (1540 to 1572).
2 | Recent discovery of the sunken garden at the Maidens’ Courtyard
When the Castilian King Pedro I died in 1369, the sunken garden was paved over with marble coverings in 1570s and a fountain was placed in the centre. It was recently uncovered by archaeologists in 2004, and the original layout was restored.
However, the sunken garden was temporarily paved over again with marble as it was needed as a set for the movie, Kingdom of Heaven. The Maidens’ Courtyard was reconverted after the filming was completed.
3 | Tip: Visiting Courtyard of the Maidens
When you visit Courtyard of the Maidens, do so unhurriedly. Take your time to walk around, enjoy the tranquility and the beautiful architecture of the building. Look up and admire the wooden carved ceilings.
just I, Georgina – couldn’t stop clicking away…
Around the patio, are royal rooms such as the Infant Room, Philip II Ceiling Room, Charles V Ceiling Room and access to another grand room, the Ambassadors’ Hall.
** all photos and video © timelesstravelsteps.com
I sincerely hope this article has all the valuable information you were looking for on the Maidens’ Courtyard. You may find the following articles helpful also as you plan your trip to Seville:
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Have a splendid time in Seville, xoxo
Essential Information on the Real Alcázar of Seville :
UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Seville Cathedral, & General Archive of the Indies.
Where: Plaza del Triunfo
Nearest Metro station is Puerta de Jerez.
Phone: 954 50 23 24
Hours: Apr-Sept: 9:30 am to 7 pm | Oct-Mar: 9:30 am to 5 pm
Essential Information you need to know before your visit:
The Palace has a maximum capacity of 750 visitors. When it is full, it is full! Waiting times can be extremely long during peak times. Avoid the queues, save time and book ahead your skip-the-line tickets.
More ticket options >>
OUR BEST SELLING ACTIVITIES FOR SEVILLE
1 | For an all-round experience of the sultry city, opt for a food walking tour
2 | Buy a combo ticket to visit the Royal Alcazar, Seville Cathedral + Giralda.
3 | Enjoy timeless experiences on the Guadalquivir River.