Sail the Iberian Peninsula - 2019

The Real (Royal) Alcazar

Part of the UNESCO site along with the Cathedral, this building with its beautiful Moorish gardens is partly a palace and partly a fortress dating back a thousand years through many changes in religion, government, leadership, and power. The beginnings of this royal residence can be traced back to 712 when the Moors conquered Spain. The more “modern” features include Christopher Columbus’ Tomb Its earliest designs and architectural style was of course Moorish with the distinctive arches, calligraphy as decorations, arabesques, tile and mosaic work as well as geometric shapes. After the Reconquista, many changes occurred to align the building with the Catholic tastes of the Spanish. Now the styles reflected Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance designs. Today only 4 of the rooms of the Alcazar are purely Moorish. The new style which incorporates all of the different traditions is called Mudejar.

The Moorish Gardens with their reflecting pools, framing devices, and fruit trees and flowering shrubs have also been somewhat changed through the ages with some being labelled English Garden, Poet’s Garden, Ladies Garden and many other names. The Moorish desire was to imitate a sort of paradise in the gardens and indeed the effect is heavenly beautiful.

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