One visit to Spain will never fulfill anyone’s appetite. After three trips, I am still amazed at the vast array of architectural styles. From Seville to Rhona; Barcelona to Mallorca; Deia to Marbella, each city offers its own palette of design.
Let’s focus on Seville, the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia in Southern Spain.
A bit of history: Seville was founded as a Roman City, Hispalis, and renamed Ishbilyya after the Muslim conquest of 712. It stayed under Muslim rule until 1248, when it was incorporated in the Christian Kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand II.
Many of the buildings in Seville incorporate a Moorish aesthetic belonging to the Mudejar style of Islamic art, developed as the people of Islamic faith spread from the Middle East to Maghreb, an area including North Africa, Spain and Portugal. It has these distinct characteristics:
Horseshoe arches, with a rounded top bending slightly inward
Lancet arches, a narrow, pointed arch having two centers
Murquarnas: A decoratively carved, honey-combed vault
Crenellated arches, with notches or serrations
Zillij tiles, consisting of handmade, hand-glazed, hand-cut geometrical clay mosaics forming intricate geometric patterns
You can see these distinct features at the magnificent Alcázar, the royal palace built for the Christian King Peter of Castile. The upper level is still used by the royal family. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 and is the oldest palace still used in Europe.
Here I am at the entrance to the palace. You don't really notice the vibrant beauty of the Real Alcázar when you first walk up to it. But, on the inside, it's a different story. As I began my tour, I thought of Game of Thrones and so glad the producers fell in love with this place and shot the Water Gardens of Dorne here.
And here’s me in the courtyard. Notice the arches with elaborate crenellation against Corinthian columns, representing both Eastern and Western influences.
My favorite was the golden dome inside the Hall of the Ambassadors. It's one of the most beautiful domes I have ever seen.
The Plaza de Espagna also boasts exquisite arches, columns and tiles.
And now, I am back at my luxury hotel, the Alfonso, enjoying a meal in the lovely courtyard, another feature of Moorish style. I chose this hotel because it has a good blend of location, opulence and history (it was originally built by the King for his guests). It’s as original as it gets and awe-inspiring.
What city have you enjoyed for its design or whose architecture has impacted your journey?
The Z Experience: Seville
Please note that these are all my personal recommendations. Nothing in this post is sponsored.