The Enchanting Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar Seville

The Enchanting Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar | Seville

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links

In the midst of evergreen magnolias, fan palms, jasmine and myrtle, wisteria, trees of lemons and oranges is the enchanting Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar in Seville.

A distinguished destination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the sunny Andalusian capital city of Seville, the Royal Alcazar in Seville is a “must see” attraction for visitors to this part of the Iberian Peninsula in Spain.

the enchanting Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar Seville

Recommended read: The Real Alcázar of Seville | A Guide to the BEST 22 Unmissable Highlights in the Alcázar Complex


About The Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar

Mercury's Pool Alcazar Seville
Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar

The enchanting Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar was built at the height of the palace. Therefore, it is located at the highest point of the gardens at the Royal Alcazar of Seville, thus giving visitors a strategic vantage point of a broader perspective of the surrounding gardens. It is usually the first point from whence you would begin your garden walk at the Royal Alcazar.

The Mercury Pond is a large pool with a fountain filled with fish. Formerly it was a storage point supplying water to the palace brought from Carmona, a town on the outskirts of Seville. Water crashes from a spout about eight metres high from the upper building into the basin below. The Pond takes its name from the bronze statue, a Renaissance addition. It is also famously known as Garden of the Pond.

the mercury pond at Royal Alcazar Seville
statue of Greek god, Mercury at the Mercury Pond, Royal Alcazar, Seville

Accenting the pond is a statue of the Greek god, Mercury, a deity of industry and commerce. The bronze statue was sculpted in 1576 and have been credited to Diego de Pesquera and Bartolome Morel. Surrounded by railings, figures of lions holding shields at the angles and 18 balls with pyramidal spikes.

The Mercury Pond was important to King Philip V. It was at this very pond where the king would listen to the famous Italian singer, Farinelli until late hours of the morning.

Backdrop to the Mercury Pond is Galleria de Grutesco.

An overview of Galleria de Grutesco — the backdrop to the Mercury Pond

The Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar in Seville
Galleria de Grutesco — the backdrop to the Mercury Pond, Royal Alcazar, Seville

Behind the Mercury Pond is a long wall of 160 metres that runs northwest-southeast direction which make up the Galleria de Grutesco (Grotto Gallery). The wall is covered with a series of various stones, plastering and frescoes of classic mythological scenes together with some Renaissance paintings. The original foundation to the Galleria de Grutesco (Grotto Gallery) dates to the 12th century when the Almohad were rulers of Seville. Then, the wall was built as a defensive wall against flooding of the Tagarete River. However, in 1612, the architect Vermondo Resta set out to transform and built upon the defensive wall into a Grotto Gallery. The work continued into the 19th century, giving the wall an appearance it has today.

The Grotto Gallery has an upper corridor, all through the 160 metres via some narrow steps. The views from the upper gallery over the gardens of the Royal Alcazar are incredible, one not to miss.

How to visit the Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar Seville

The Royal Alcazar in Seville is a very popular attraction and the waiting time to purchase a ticket and entry can run into hours. In addition, there is a capacity limit of 750 visitors a day. So , if this limit is reached, it is reached! You may have to return on another occasion to experience the Royal Alcazar. To avoid disappointment, you could book your tickets with alcazarsevilla. org or you may wish to combine your visit to other attractions in Seville on a skip-the-line guided tour tickets.

Skip-the-Line Tickets:

Seville Alcazar Priority Entrance + Guided Tour

Guided Tour of Seville Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

Skip the Line Ticket to the Real Alcázar of Seville


Spain Travel Advice

Seville Spain 37.3891° N, 5.9845° W
Seville Spain
37.3891° N, 5.9845° W

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

http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/

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:

Visitor capacity

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.

Skip-the-Line Tickets:

Seville Alcazar Priority Entrance + Guided Tour

Guided Tour of Seville Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

Skip the Line Ticket to the Real Alcázar of Seville

More ticket options >>


What’s new on TTS


TTS logo
In the midst of evergreen magnolias, fan palms, jasmine and myrtle, wisteria, trees of lemons and oranges is the enchanting Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar in Seville. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/In the midst of evergreen magnolias, fan palms, jasmine and myrtle, wisteria, trees of lemons and oranges is the enchanting Mercury Pond at Royal Alcazar in Seville. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

The rich Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville

The Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville

To have the best experience, book online well in advance of your visit to ensure you are not disappointed on the day as the Alcazar operate on a maximum capacity rule.

The Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar

The Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville | El Palacio Gótico

The Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville
Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville

The Gothic Palace was built by the Castilian King Alfonso X, also known as Alfonso the Wise. Alfonso X succeeded Ferdinand III of Castile who reconquered Seville from the Islamic rulers in December 1248.

The Gothic Palace consists of two rectangular rooms sitting parallel to each other and two smaller rooms at each end.

These rooms were built in the 13th century over what was the Almohad’s palace. Alfonso X found the caliphs palace to be cramped and unsuited to his lifestyle. He preferred high, airy spaces and Gothic art. Gothic art and architecture was popular during this time as it closely related to Christianity and the Crusades. Furthermore, opting for a Gothic architecture along with the construction of the Gothic Palace over the Almohad’s palace symbolised the Christians triumph over Islam.

All four rooms were covered with vaults supported by pillars but in the 16th century, the pillars were replaced with large windows that open to the garden while the walls and floors were decorated with tiles.

The El Palacio Gótico’s four rooms are Tapestry Room, Garden Room, the Vault Room and the Chapel.

This section of the Royal Alcazar palace complex is accessed through the porticoed gallery crossing connected to the Hunting Courtyard or from the southeast side of the Maiden’s Courtyard.

Recommended read: The Real Alcázar of Seville | A Guide to the BEST 22 Unmissable Highlights in the Alcázar Complex

The rooms in the Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville

The entrance to the Gothic Palace was added in the 18th century, after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. The following are the highlights of the Gothic Palace.

1 | The Tapestry Room

the Gothic palace at the royal alcazar
the tapestry room: Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville

The Tapestry Room is an impressive salon decorated with a collection of tapestries (copies of the originals) depicting the military conquest of Tunis by Charles I, made in 1730s. The work is extraordinary and details the ships, sailors, smoke from cannons and African towns.

2 | The Vault Room also known as the Great Hall or the Party Room

The Vault Room is a typical Gothic cross-ribbed vaulted ceiling which were originally held by full height columns, but were replaced in the 16th century to allow for tile work.

The room is emblematic of traditional Sevillano albero yellow and the stunning Renaissance tiles depict allegorical figures from mythology and exotic birds. Embedded also are historical figures of Charles V and Isabella of Portugal whose wedding is believed to have taken place here.

3 | The Chapel | Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar of Seville

The Chapel in the Gothic Palace has its original Gothic roof, medieval rib vaults and pretty wall and floor tiles of Renaissance style that was added in the 16th century. The Chapel’s key attraction is the 18th century painting by Diego de Castillejo on the altar featuring the Virgin of Antiquity (Virgen de la Antigua). The original of the Virgin of Antiquity is at the Seville Cathedral.

Archaeological mysteries at the Chapel in the Gothic Palace at the Real Alcazar – 2021

In early 2021, work was undertaken to restore the 16th century Renaissance tiles at the Chapel. During this restoration, a coffin with the remains of a young child was found under the floor tiles near the main altar of the Chapel in the Gothic Palace at Royal Alcazar.

Visiting the Gothic Palace at the Royal Alcazar

There are several options to visit the Royal Alcazar but the following have been carefully picked for you:

1 | Best Ticket for Priority Visit to Royal Alcazar Seville

Breeze by the long queues and enjoy the oldest royal palace in Europe still in use with the best in priority visit to Royal Alcazar in Seville. The Royal Alcazar Priority gives you priority access and includes a live tour guide, in a small group to ensure you have the best experience.

More information and check availability >>


2 | Best tips for the Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda of Seville

Visit the best of historic Seville in half-a-day — The Alcazar and Cathedral + Giralda Tower of Seville, Spain. Tickets from £42.00

More information and check availability >>

Spain Travel Advice

Seville Spain 37.3891° N, 5.9845° W
Seville Spain
37.3891° N, 5.9845° W

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

http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/

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:

Visitor capacity

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.

Skip-the-Line Tickets:

Seville Alcazar Priority Entrance + Guided Tour

Guided Tour of Seville Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

Skip the Line Ticket to the Real Alcázar of Seville

More ticket options >>


What’s new on TTS

Stay Connected with TTS for more Inspiring Destination Guides to your inbox for a hassle-free read.

TTS logo
The Gothic Palace was built by the Castilian King Alfonso X in the 13th century and is home to a wealth of architectural curiosities and rich  archaeological mysteries. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/The Gothic Palace was built by the Castilian King Alfonso X in the 13th century and is home to a wealth of architectural curiosities and rich  archaeological mysteries. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

The Real Alcázar of Seville

The Real Alcázar of Seville | A Guide to the BEST 22 Unmissable Highlights in the Alcázar Complex

Written by: Georgina | We may earn a commission from affiliate links

A rich history, stunning architecture, exquisite tile work and glorious gardens, the Real Alcázar of Seville is a breathtaking spectacle and a joy to explore.


Visiting the Real Alcázar of Seville

The Real Alcázar of Seville is an exceptional and the most popular attraction in the Andalusian city, therefore long queues at entry are expected. To reduce waiting time, pre-purchasing a ticket is advisable at www. alcazarsevilla.org/

In either case, this perfect guide has all the information you are looking for to plan and accompany you on your visit to the Real Alcázar in Seville. So, come, walk along with me …

The Real Alcázar of Seville


The Real Alcázar of Seville, Andalusia

Part I | A brief history on the Real Alcázar in Seville

Let’s begin with a brief history …

The Alcázar was born as a fort to the then Cordoban governors of Seville but an angry revolt in 913 led to its destruction and the occupation by the first caliph of Andalusia, Abd al-Rahman III. He built a stronger and dominant fort on a site where a Visigothic church had once stood to protect the city of Seville from attacks. The major rebuild came in the 11th century when the fortified construction was enlarged, stables and storage facilities were added along with a palace, known as Al-Mubarak which means “the Blessed” was built. The Al-Mubarak is on what’s now the western part of the royal palace complex.

When the 12th century came along, another palace was added to the east of Al-Mubarak by the Almohad rulers, and what is now known as the Patio del Crucero.

There are still some archaeological remains of the Almohad palaces and these are preserved under the slabs of the Montería Courtyard (Patio de la Montería), the main courtyard of the Real Alcázar of Seville.

In the mid 14th century, between 1364 and 1366, King Pedro I built the magnificent Mudéjar Palace, which remains to this day as the core of the Real Alcázar complex. He was known as Pedro the Cruel and lived in the palace with his mistress, Maria de Padilla. Some referred to him as Pedro the Just because he defended the Muslims and the Jews. Whether he was Pedro the Cruel or Pedro the Just, he left a remarkable legacy in the form of a majestic palace for all to relish.

Later, the Catholic monarchs, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and his wife, Isabella I, Queen of Aragon came to rule Seville (1474 – 1504). They extended the upper floors and converted these into their main residence. These upper floor royal apartments are still in use and open to viewing by the public with a special timed ticket.

What is in the ‘name’ – Real Alcázar

The word “alcazar” originates from the Arabic word “al-qasr” meaning “the castle” while “Real” means “Royal” in Spanish. Hence, Real Alcázar means Royal Castle/Palace.

The official name is “Reales Alcázares de Sevilla” or Royal Alcázar of Seville. The palace name aptly represents the very many palace complex and gardens that evolved over time reflecting the rich history of the Muslim and Christian cultures in its architecture.

No matter how you reference it, Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Royal Alcázar of Seville, Real Alcázar of Seville or simply as the Alcázar, the royal palace in Seville is one of the most exceptionally enchanting places to visit.

Part II | The Best 22 Unmissable “see and do” in the Real Alcázar palace complex in Seville

The Royal Alcázar of Seville is vast! The gardens alone are said to be over 24,000 acres plus the 4.2 acres of opulent and historic buildings, though not all is accessible to the public. It can take almost half a day, if not more to explore this majestic place to your heart’s content. Every part of the palace is absolutely wonderful but there are some sights which you must not miss. From its many architectural styles, grand halls, majestic courtyards to mystical secret baths, the Royal Palace of Seville will captivate you and take you on a journey through the ages.

* The architectural styles of the Real Alcázar in Seville

While there still exists some remnants of the ancient architecture of the Al-Mubarak, the Real Alcázar of Seville has seen many architectural styles succeed one another throughout the centuries.

1 | A unique blend of architectural styles

the Real Alcázar of Seville
horseshoe designs - Moorish architecture the Royal Palace of Alcazar

The Moorish style encompassed rectangular centre with four corners of living spaces. Decorated with horseshoe and interlacing arches, intricate ornamentation of Islamic art with arabesques, calligraphy and geometric patterns using plaster and tiles.

Other parts of the Real Alcázar underwent a series of 19th century renovations, including the alluring Courtyard of the Maidens.

Added to the Alcázar’s unique architecture, is its tile decorations.

2 | Intricate designs on the Tiles

The Royal Alcázar exhibits one of the best tile decorations in the world combining three traditions: Islam, Gothic Europe and Renaissance Italy. A distinctive melting pot of cultures is evident in the art of arista and majolica ceramics developed in the 16th century.

The arista style was developed in the early 16th century during the Renaissance period. An aesthetic of Andalusian architecture especially during the reigns of the Catholic monarchs (Ferdinand II and Isabella I) and the Emperor Charles V was one of colour! Bold, rich colours of green, yellow, and blue were brought together to form a design on either a single tile or four tiles. The body of the tile has different motifs, sizes and shapes with each segment having raised ridges. The tiles were placed on walls and decorated to form either vertical or horizontal panels.

A beautiful selection of the timeless pieces are exhibited as part of the Carranza Collection at the Real Alcázar in the House of Trade.


* Entering the Royal Palace of Seville

The palace complex is accessed through the historic 12th century gate, Puerta del León (The Lion’s Gate) located at Plaza del Triunfo.

3 | The Lion’s Gate | Puerta del León at the Royal Palace of Seville

Above the doors, there is a depiction of a lion with a crown, a cross in his claws bearing Gothic script across. A grand reminder that despite the influences of Islam represented by the Mudéjar style, it is a palace very much owned by Christians.

4 | Patio del León at Alcázar Seville

Once you are through the Lion’s Gate, a beautiful corridor welcomes you, Patio del León leading to an ancient arched wall structure. This was the garrison yard of the original Al-Mubarak palace. Just before the arches, on the left, is the Sala de la Justicia (Hall of Justice), and beyond this, is Patio del Yeso which was part of the 12th century Almohad palace.

Beyond this ancient arched wall, you shall enter into a large courtyard. This courtyard is known as Patio de la Montería or the Hunting Courtyard).


Begin with the Hall of Justice

5 | Hall of Justice, Alcázar Seville

The Hall of Justice was the first Moorish work in the Alcázar and was built in 1311 by Alfonso XI. The walls have stone benches, providing seating spaces, a feature that do not exist in any other room of the palace complex. There is a delightful fountain in the middle, and inviting sense of calmness in the room. The Hall of Justice connects to Patio del Yeso.

6 | Patio del Yeso at the Royal Palace of Seville

The Real Alcázar Seville

Patio del Yeso is a small courtyard which was part of the Almohad residence from the 12th century. It is believed to be the oldest part of the palace. Also, it was the residence of Pedro I before the Mudéjar Palace was built. The courtyard was rediscovered in late 19th century and restored between 1918-1920.

There is a sense of calmness here despite there being several people around.

7 | Patio de la Montería | The Hunting Courtyard

Below the slabs of the courtyard lies archaeological finds of the Almohad palaces from the 12th century.


* Casa de Contratacion | House of Trade

The House of Trade was established in 1503. The current front patio was added in the 17th century.

Casa de Contratacion was the centre from whence the Spanish Empire once ruled from early 16th century to 1717. This was the headquarters where ‘top secrets’ were stored, voyages were planned, crews assembled, contracts signed, navigational maps and charts drawn up. It was here that Christopher Columbus signed his famous contract to sail to the Indies with Queen Isabella I of Aragon in 1492.

8 | Staircase to the Upper Palace of the Alcázar Seville

Take the staircase that leads to the upper palace. It is an important part of the palace that was built in the 16th century during the reign of King Philip II. The decorative tiles that adorns the walls are copies of the originals, presently at “Madre de Dios” Convent, in Seville.

9 | Admirals’ Room at the House of Trade, Real Alcázar Seville

9.1 | Virgen de los Navigantes (Virgin of the Navigators) at the Royal Palace of Seville

At the northern end of the Admirals’ room, is the Chapterhouse (Sala de Audiencias), which was restored in 1967. The central altar piece is the celebrated Virgen de los Navigantes (Virgin of the Navigators) by Alejo Fernandez from around 1536. Sailors pray to her before embarking on their voyage. She is surrounded by four saints. Saint Sebastian and Saint James on the left; Saint Telmo and Saint John the Baptist on the right.

Also displayed in the Admirals’ Room is a model of “Santa Maria”, Columbus’ flagship. The Fan Room houses some rare fans made of ivory, feathers and pearls. As well, at home here is the Carranza Collection (mentioned above), a little museum dedicated to a collection of 171 priceless Moorish ceramics.


Next explore the resplendent Pedro’s Mudéjar Palace.

* Pedro’s Mudéjar Palace, Seville

The facade to Pedro’s Palace is the quintessence of Mudéjar architecture. Moorish features such as arches, columned windows and Arabic lettering sits harmoniously along Christian words and Kingdom of León coat of arms. The inscriptions declares in Spanish that the palace’s creator as “the highest, noblest and most powerful conqueror Don Pedro, by God’s grace King of Castilla and León” while in Arabic, it indicates “there is no conqueror but Allah”

Unusually, oriental styles are incorporated as well. There is the square roof and projecting portico with carvings in green, red and gold which gives a somewhat Asian feel. The fascinating combination of styles sets a tone to what to expect when you venture indoors — splendour, magnificence and a walk through various centuries.

10 | Courtyard of the Maidens | Patio de las Doncellas Real Alcázar, Seville

Courtyard of the Maidens is an enchanting rectangular patio with a sunken garden, an elegant long reflecting pool, painstakingly crafted marble columns and 24 elaborate arches with intricate designs, surrounded by lavish royal rooms. The delightful details on each arch and the carvings are akin to delicate lace. The layout is balanced and geometric in design, displaying harmony. Utterly spellbinding.

The Maidens’ Courtyard was built in the 13th century when Christians returned to rule Seville. The upper floors were added in the 16th century by King Charles/Carlos V. These were primarily of Renaissance design and some mudéjar decorations were incorporated also. It took some 32 years to complete, from 1540 through to 1572.

The sunken garden was discovered recently in 2005 by archaeologists and restored to its original 14th century form. It was paved over in 1570s after Pedro’s death.

“Courtyard of the Maidens” takes its name from rather a degraded old legend. Apparently, the Moors demanded 100 virgins every year from the Christian rulers!

Take your time to walk around.


11 | Royal Quarters around the patio

Around the rectangular patio are royal quarters. All rooms feature stunningly beautiful ceilings, tiles and stucco.

The Infant Room looks out to the Galley Garden, has wooden shutters with metal works that carries Arabic calligraphy. Charles V Ceiling Room was designed as a chapel, and has a Renaissance ceiling from 1543. The Royal Chamber has a winter room designed to receive sunlight and a much cooler summer room with a barrel-vault ceiling.

Across the Maidens’ Courtyard is the spectacular Ambassadors’ Hall.

Stay tuned to Read more on the Courtyard of the Maidens here to be published soon

12 | Hall of Ambassadors | Salón de los Embajadores at the Real Alcázar

The Hall of Ambassadors is a melting pot of Seville’s historic cultures and has its origins in the 11th century.

One can see the influences of both the Islam and Christian religions as well as their cultures. A squared room, symbolises the earth and the dome above, the night sky, the universe. Remarkable decorations forming a star joins the circle to the square, upholding the Mudéjar aesthetic delights. The arches have frieze work, along with motifs of castles and lions. The architect was inspired by the Hall of the Pleiades, built by the poet-king al-Mutamid, ruler of Seville in the 11th century.

The room was the centrepiece of the palace during the reign of King Pedro I. Known as the ‘Throne Room’, it was here that Pedro received his elite guests.

Pro tip: When visiting here, don’t forget to look up (pictured above) and use the angled mirror in the room to see the designs close-up.

The dome was added in 1427 and is distinctly regal, exuding a touch of dominance.

On the western side of the Ambassadors’ Hall sits the beautiful Peacock Arch (Arco de Pavones) named after the peacock, animal and floral motifs introduced to decorate this flamboyant room.

The Arch leads onto Felipe II Ceiling Room. The ceiling is Renaissance, known as “half round.” Decorated with geometric motifs from 1589 – 1591. Beyond this is the Prince’s Garden.

From the Ambassadors’ Hall, you will reach the Patio de las Muñecas.

13 | The Courtyard of Dolls | Patio de las Muñecas Alcázar Sevilla

The Courtyard of Dolls is much smaller than the Maidens Courtyard but is equally exquisite. The Courtyard gets its name from the doll faces that adorns the arches.

If you find a doll’s face on the arches, you are lucky as it is said to bring good fortune when found.

Each of the columns are unique, and originate from Italica, an ancient Roman settlement outside of Seville. The tops of each column bears inscriptions from the Quran, and comes from Medina Azahara, a Moorish palace abandoned by the Caliphs outside the city of Cordoba.

This small courtyard was designed to accommodate the palace’s private quarters, for the use of the king and his family. It opens to 3 bedrooms and the Prince’s Garden.

The Dolls Courtyard had undergone extensive renovations over the years. The top two floors are 19th century additions with plaster work brought in from Alhambra. The rooms were also completely refurbished. It has an awesome glass ceiling that lights up the room!

13.1 | The Catholic Monarchs’ Room | Salon de los Reyes Católicos

Also known as the Moorish Kings’ Bedroom, the Catholic Monarchs’ room has a beautiful wooded ceiling, decorated with ribbons and heraldic symbols.

13.2 | Prince’s Suite

The Prince’s Suite has one of the finest Renaissance styled ceilings, an elaborate gold ceiling creating a starlight night sky effect. Along with exquisite scalloped plaster arches, Arabic quotes and lattice tiles. The room was initially used as the Queen’s bedroom until the Catholic queen, Isabella I built the upper floors. Her son, Prince Juan de Aragon was born here, but sadly died at just 19 days. Hence the name of the room.

* The Gothic Palace at the Real Alcázar of Seville

The Gothic Palace can be reached via the porticoed gallery crossing connected to the Patio de la Monteria (the Hunting Courtyard) or via a narrow staircase located on the southeastern side of the Maidens’ Courtyard.

This section of the Real Alcázar is very different to the rest of the palace and does not encompass Mudéjar artwork. It underwent much remodeling in the 13th century by Alfonso X, over the remains of the old Almohad palace, turning it into a beautiful Gothic palace.

The echoing halls were designed for King Carlos V and were added in the 16th century. The stone baroque entrance was added in the 18th century. There are a series of rooms such as the tapestry room, garden room, party room and a Chapel. The most striking of them all is the Hall of Tapestries.

The remains of a child who lived 700 years ago was found in a coffin under the floors of the altar in the Chapel at the Gothic Palace early 2021.

Learn more about the rich Gothic Palace and the archaeological discovery >>

14 | Tapestry Room

tapestry room alcazar seville

In the Hall of Tapestries, there are a series of twelve large tapestries representing the invasion of Tunisia by Carlos V in 1535. It carries extraordinary details of ships carrying sailors, ranks of soldiers, emitting flumes of smoke from cannons. These tapestries are said to be one of the best in the world today.

The original vaulted ceiling in this room was damaged in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. It was later replaced by a baroque design.

Beyond the Hall of Tapestries, is the Courtyard of the Cruise.

15 | Courtyard of the Cruise | Patio del Crucero

The charming Courtyard of the Cruise owes its name to its cross-shape and is considered one of the the most important part of the Almohad palace from the 12th century. It’s initial design consisted only of raised walkways along its four sides and two crossed walkways that met in the middle. At the bottom, there was a central swimming pool surrounded by underground gardens. All kinds of fruits and aromatic trees is said to have grown here. The fruits were basically at one’s fingertips and could be plucked from the platforms.

The lower level medieval garden was buried in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The present lower level of the patio, along with the corridor leading to the Hunting Courtyard as well as the facade to the Gothic Palace were built in the 18th century in the Baroque style.

Below the raised walkways are vaults that leads to the picturesque secret Baths of Doña Maria de Padilla, mistress to Pedro I.

Beyond the Patio del Crucero, you are met with endless, fragrant, serene oasis of the Alcázar Gardens.

* The Real Alcázar of Seville Gardens

The Gardens at The Real Alcázar of Seville are extensive, unique and reflect the passing of history. Home to at least 20,000 plants, and over 180 plant species to be found in this 60,000 metres square of gardens are some of Europe’s oldest, from Moorish times. The English Garden, the Poets’ Garden and Garden of the Marquis de la Vega Inclán are from the modern 19th century era.

Water plays an important role in the concept of the Alcazar gardens which are the epitome of Moorish garden design. The gentle trickle, gurgle sounds of the fountains and ponds invites you to slowdown and to appreciate the moments in the pleasurable greenery of orderly hedgerows, towering palm trees and oranges.

Linger among the palm trees, cypresses, myrtle, mulberries, magnolia, pomegranate, orange and lemon trees. The scent of oranges were noticeable even in late November when I visited. I can only imagine the scent of marmalade in spring when the orange trees drop their fruits and the ground is covered in them.

There are small courtyards with glittering pools, fountains, ponds, arches and pavilions wherever I turned! The Ladies Garden has an elegant fountain with a statue of Neptune which was totally mesmerising. Secluded shady corners with dainty colourful tiled benches to steal moments and be lost in my faerie world.

I assure you, you will be delightfully lost in this lush and exotic labyrinth of a paradise, soaking into the moments in quiet contentment. To thoroughly enjoy the gardens, give yourself at least 3 hours.

Here are some of the unmissable highlights of the Gardens at The Real Alcázar of Seville.

Begin your garden walk with Mercury’s Pool (Garden of the Pond).

16 | Mercury’s Pool | Garden of the Pond

The Mercury’s Pool is a large pool with a fountain filled with fish. Formerly it was a cistern supplying water to the palace brought from Carmona, a town on the outskirts of Seville. In the centre of the pond is a bronze statue of the Greek god, Mercury, sculpted in 1576. The pond is surrounded by railings and spikes.

On the east side of the Mercury’s Pool, is Galleria de Grutesco.

Recommended read: Mercury’s Pool at the Royal Palace in Seville

17 | Gallery of the Grotesque | Galeria del Grutesco at The Real Alcázar of Seville

Originating from the Almohad era, the wall of Gallery of the Grotesque was lavishly reimagined in the late 16th and early 17th century to as far as the 19th century, giving it the appearance it currently has. The Gallery was constructed using different stones, plastering and painting in between of classic mythological scenes, giving the wall a cave-like look. Known as the Italian Grotto, this wall has an upper gallery of 160 metres that can be accessed via narrow steps, offering incredible vista over the gardens. It was lovely to walk along the corridor, in the shade with the occasional cool breeze.

While here, you may hear tiny little notes of music coming from somewhere … follow it and you will be rewarded with a little treasure at the Fountain of Fame.

18 | Fuente de la Fama Water Organ | The Fountain of Fame at Real Alcázar of Seville

The Fountain of Fame is really something special. It’s a water organ or fountain organ and plays music every hour. The music is generated by the flow of water through its various pipes.

Water organs have been around a long time, since the 3rd century in Alexandria. This one at The Real Alcázar of Seville was built in the 17th century and is the only one of four in the world and the only one in Spain.

19 | Dance Garden at Alcázar of Seville

Next to Mercury’s Pool, on the west, via some stairs down, is the Garden of Dance, curated in the 1570s. The graceful little metal staircase dates from 1610. In the centre, there is a low fountain from the 16th century. The botanical elements constitute magnolias, acanthus, pitchardias, as well as Canary Island palms, trumpeters, spireas, celestinas and wire vines.

From here, you can access the secret Baths of Doña Maria de Padilla.

20 | Baths of Doña Maria de Padilla at The Real Alcázar of Seville

One of the most picturesque, sensational and an obligatory stop is the Baths of Doña Maria de Padilla when visiting the historic Real Alcázar of Seville. The fresh air, infinite arches, reflections on the water and the subject of many legends makes this mysterious underground bath an unmissable spot at the Alcázar.

Built around the 12th century to a medieval Almohad structure, the vaults were used to store rainwater and food. During Pedro’s rule, these were turned to underground bath and used by Doña Maria de Padilla, his mistress. The temperature inside is about 15°C lower than the outside. Sunlight seeps through the sides, and the reflections of the arches on its clear water makes this a surreal scene.

Recommended read: Baths of Doña Maria de Padilla at The Real Alcázar of Seville > coming soon

21 | Carlos V Pavilion | Charles V Pavilion at the Royal Palace in Seville

The square tiled pavilion in the lush gardens of the Alcázar was formerly a qubba (an oratory) and was known as Jardin de la Alcoba. It was converted between 1543 and 1546, in Mudéjar style. The Spanish Emperor, Charles V had his dinners here in the summer months. Home to splendid tapestries and is said to be the oldest building in the gardens. Its walls, as well as its benches are covered in 16th century tiles. The exterior is surrounded by four semicircular arches supported on marble columns.

Take a breather and sit on one of its beautiful benches for a moment or two. Soak in the nature and sanctuary this garden of eden bestows. You can’t go into the Carlos V Pavilion at the moment.

Nearby the Pavilion, there is an orange tree, said to be planted by Pedro I which makes it over 600 years old! Orange trees were favourite of the Arabs and were used for ornamental purposes. The fruits are sour and not for consumption. Don’t eat them.

Carlos V Pavilion was another location used for Game of Thrones .

22 | Garden Cafe

The Garden Cafe at the The Real Alcázar of Seville is hidden in the corner of the English Garden, obscured by trees and plants. Not a great selection of snacks but it is a nice place for a quick coffee and to watch a peacock or two strut their stuff.


There is so much more to the gardens at the Alcázar that I decided to dedicate an entire post on it which will be published soon. Stay tuned. Ensure you are Subscribed! Read > Gardens of the Royal Alcázar in Seville


Finally …

As autumn leads into winter, colour does not fade from the scene in the Real Alcázar gardens. The sky remains blue, the famed tiles glisten in the sun and brighten many a corner but the colour orange seems to prevail. Orange doors, orange steps, orange walls, orange gateways and oranges on the ground. There are orange structures peeking in-between the greens of the lush gardens, The view, from the corridors of the Grotto Gallery portray a surreal panorama.

So, when you are at the Real Alcázar of Seville, leave your hurries behind. Immerse in the surroundings, take photos for the Gram, daydream. Let your gaze linger on the palm trees, cypresses, orange trees, oaks … Do a perfect walk of the palace and the gardens — the paths once walked by the Spanish Kings themselves.

this is just me, found my happy corner … enjoyed my visit very much xoxo

Spain Travel Advice

Seville Spain 37.3891° N, 5.9845° W
Seville Spain
37.3891° N, 5.9845° W

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

http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/

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:

Visitor capacity

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.

Skip-the-Line Tickets:

Seville Alcazar Priority Entrance + Guided Tour

Guided Tour of Seville Alcazar, Cathedral & Giralda

Skip the Line Ticket to the Real Alcázar of Seville

More ticket options >>

TRAVEL ADVICE

Due to recent global health and safety issues, please adhere to travel guidelines in the country you are travelling to. While we at TTS work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out, as some attractions may be closed due to local restrictions.

For the latest on Travel Guidelines, please go to the following Official portals:

Travel abroad from England Advise

Travel abroad from Scotland Advise

Travel abroad from Wales Advise

USA Travel Advisories

Travel between European Countries

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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A rich history, stunning architecture, exquisite tile work and glorious gardens, the Real Alcázar of Seville is a breathtaking spectacle and a joy to explore. Read this complete guide to the best 22 highlights not to miss via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/A rich history, stunning architecture, exquisite tile work and glorious gardens, the Real Alcázar of Seville is a breathtaking spectacle and a joy to explore. Read this complete guide to the best 22 highlights not to miss via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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