We visited Seville with Chitra and Vincent. I had a longish list of things I had missed on my previous visit, in 1972.


This was successively the court of the Abbadids (1023 to 1091), the citadel of the Almohads (second half of the 12th century), the palace of Pedro the Cruel and his regal successors, and Franco's Sevillian pied-à-terre. As usual with Andalusia, we start with a ceiling. This is in the Sala de Justicia.

Here the Isabelline Sala de Audiencias, (aka the Navigators' Chapel), whose ceiling is inlaid with golden rosettes:

The retablo is by Alejo Fernández, and commemorates Christopher Columbus and Carlos V, and their role in evangelising the Indians of New Spain.

The Patio de las Doncellas (the Christians had to pay an annual tribute of 100 maidens to their Moorish overlord), seen from the Ambassadors' room. Here I had my first brush with the anti-tripod lobby. My advice to all tourists would be to carry a packet of lentils; they can't say anything about your using that as a camera rest.

Here entrance to the Ambassadors' room, from the dining hall.

A better view of the ornate walls and cupola of the Ambassadors' room.

A royal bedroom.

Here the Patio de las Doncellas from another angle, where you can see how harmoniously the original ground floor blends with Carlos V's first floor arcade.

I think this ceiling is in Carlos V's room.

And this one would be in Philip II's.

Carlos V married Isabella of Portugal in Seville, and this hall has his coat of arms in the tapestry at one end, and hers at the other. These are his:

And these hers:

Here the Pool of Mercury, built for Philip V in the early 18th Century.

The gardens are an interesting mixture of styles. The wall behind Mercury seems 17th or 18th Century, while this tree seems old enough to have been around before Pedro.

This is the Porte Cochère.

And this an aerial view of the Alcázar, taken from the tower of the Giralda.


The Guadalqivir is a big deal in Seville. Ships from the Indies came upstream as far as the docks here, and I had a plan to photograph the bridges, some of which are very modern, dating back to the Expo in 1992. This plan was derailed, in part because one member of the party was determined to spend the whole two days in the Corte Inglés. This is one of the modern ones, crossing from Triana on the left to the Plaza de Armas, where Chitra and Vincent were staying.

From this bridge, looking downstream, to the 19th Century Triana Bridge. The Torre de Oro, which used to be part of the Almohad citadel, is on the left.

Here is a link to one of those that got away.


The Cathedral is very big. According to our guide, "recent calculations .. have now pushed it in front of St Paul's in London and St Peter's in Rome". I have made no attempt to check the numbers. It certainly looked big from the outside.

It's also very Gothic.

You can't really imagine any statues standing on those inclined pedestals.

The central nave is enormous. I was standing by the main door, on the West wall, and there are three piers in front of me to the back of the Choir, in the centre middle ground.

Given the dual constraints of not being allowed to use flash (which would not have been powerful enough, anyway), and not being allowed to use my tripod - there were hundreds of chaps on the lookout, this was the best I could do for the breathtaking high altar.

> Climbing the Giralda tower (which used to be the minaret of the main mosque), you get to see bits of Cathedral architecture invisible from the ground level.

Once back on the ground, another view of the fantastic vaulting.

The North gate (Puerta del Perdón, and more oranges I never got to make into marmalade


The tower still dominates the Sevillan sky line.

Here from Triana, across the Guadalquivir, with the Torre del Oro in the foreground..

And here , resting my camera on the parapet of the bridge


While Chitra and Vincent stayed at the Plaza de Armas, we stayed at the Casas de la Judería, in the Santa Cruz area. The name derives from the fact that the hotel is made up of several houses, and is in what used to be a Jewish area before all the expulsions. Our room had some very authentic looking timbers,

and looked out on a patio

Like this

It also had more traditional patios, like this .

And a most unusual breakfast room

I must recommend this hotel to any one who has a celiac in the group. Most of the food in the hotel restaurant is gluten-free, and there was enough choice among the breakfast materials for Christine to feel she wasn't a freak.

Casa de Pilatos

This house was started by a leading soldier, whose son received the title of Marquis de Tarifa. It now belongs to the Medinaceli family. It has a typical Andalusian patio, around which the archeological remains were apparently all 'liberated' from the Roman remains of Italica.

As in the Alcázar, the plaster work is superb

As are the ceilings

Pretty snazzy, eh?

Every time you think 'That's the best possible!', you look up and there is another

And another

And another

This has to be the best, yes?

But what about this?

Nah, this is the best! It is in the staircase leading to the upper storey of the house.

Street Scenes

This is the Alfonso XIII hotel, built for the 1929 World Fair. It was (at 9 am) too early for us to go in and have a drink in the Moorish-inspired interior.

But for the time being, you can take a peek here.

A typical Sevillano pub where we stopped for a copita before lunch at the much to be recommended Essaouira restaurant not far from the Triana bridge

More Moorish revival architecture near the Plaza San Salvador

Square opposite the Casa de Pilatos

A typically narrow alley in the Barrio Santa Cruz

© 2010, Mike Murphy Last Modified: 2010-04-14