First, “El Patio del León”. This is the old courtyard of the garrison at the time of the Palace Al-Mubarak. In this patio, we can admire a kapoc, an exotic tree that produces a vegetable fiber that is used for example to fill cushions. From the second courtyard, “Patio of Monteira” we have an overview of the three buildings that form the Alcazar. In front of us is the Mudejar Palace, the Gothic palace in the left and the Chamber of Commerce in the right. And it is once inside the latter that the magic begins!
The Chamber of Commerce was founded by the Catholic Monarchs in 1503 in order to monitor trading activities. At the time, Seville had monopoly concerning transports of gold between Europe and America, and this was achieved through thanks to the Guadalquivir river, the only navigable river in Spain. By transiting through it from the west to the Strait of Gibraltar, gold transports were protected from pirates. In this building we visit the Admiral’s salon and admire the paintings depicting events or known people of the city of Sevilla. Then we go through the Hearing Room decorated with tapestries, coats of arms and a painting of the Virgin Mary dating from 1530. There we start our tour of the Palace Mudéjar.
If there is more perfect representation of the association between Iberian and Muslim architecture, I don’t know it. The Mudéjar style, omnipresent in the palace and of an impressive beauty, is the symbol of tolerance between Christians and Muslims. Among the different rooms, we can admire among other the Court of Dolls, a patio decorated with stucco moldings and mosaics. The place was once reserved for ladies and its ground floor was accessible only in summer. Its name comes from the small doll heads which are represented in the decorations on the pillars.
The Patio of the Maidens, one of the other patios, is for me one of the most wonderful places in the Alcazar. This courtyard, beautifully decorated with stucco lace, is composed of several arches and walls are covered with mosaic of five different colors: ocher (representing the desert sand), blue (representing water), green (representing vegetation) white and black (representing good and evil, and also the color of Islam). The second floor of Renaissance style was added in the 16th century by Charles Quint.
Our visit continues with the Throne Room, probably the most decorated room of the palace. The ceiling, made of larch wood and gold, dates from the 14th century and a frieze from the 18th century, which represents different Spanish kings, decorates the walls. The small Renaissance balconies were added by Charles Quint. We finish our tour of this building by visiting the Dining Room of the Kings where we can see some moucharabieh which are purely decorative. Indeed, these windows were not used to perform any spy activities, but to ventilate to the Throne Room. We can thus describe this decoration as the ancestor of air conditioning. We leave now this building to visit the Gothic Palace, restored for the marriage of Charles V, and where we see the Chapel, the Hall of Celebrations and a few tapestries exposing the greatest Gobelins in Spain.