Seville: A Game of Thrones Fantasy in the World Heritage Alcazar
Seville: Three World Heritage Sites in One Square!
We went to Seville for two days….and stayed for the rest of our trip. We fell in love with the city.
We found a charming hotel in Santa Cruz in the heart of the tourist neighbourhood, the former Jewish quarter.
We picked this area because it is a short walk to the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seville:
The Alcázar palace complex
The Seville Cathedral
The General Archive of the Indies
We arrived in time to enjoy a stunning sunset view of the Cathedral from the rooftop terrace of our hotel. It is the third largest church in the world. Many visit the Cathedral to see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The Giralda, or bell tower, is a former minaret of the mosque that occupied this site during Muslim rule.
The next morning, we set off on our short walk to the Cathedral. We got hopelessly lost. The streets are a complete labyrinth. We walked through many charming plazas, with tempting bars and restaurants. We took pics of the places we wanted to find again ….. but we never found any of them again. With the help of many locals, we eventually stumbled out of the maze and found ourselves in the plaza that is framed by 3 World Heritage Sites.
Is there any place else in the world where you can stand in the middle of a plaza and almost touch 3 World Heritage Sites?
It is hard to capture the immensity of the Cathedral. My sister posed for me in front of one of the massive columns. Her arms do not begin to span the width of the column. The next day, I took a similar picture outside our hotel. The street was so narrow that she could touch the buildings on both sides of the street.
Tip: travel light on a trip to Seville: many hotels are on pedestrian-only streets
My favourite part of the Cathedral was the Giralda, the Bell Tower. It is not a difficult climb to the top. The ascent is up a series of ramps, large enough to accommodate two guards on horseback. There are lots of spots to stop and rest and admire the spectacular view.
From inside one World Heritage Site, I had a commanding view of two other World Heritage Sites.
This vista was the perfect preview for our next stop: the magnificent Alcázar.
Tip: There was a long lineup to purchase tickets for the cathedral. We could jump the queue because we had already purchased tickets at a nearby church, Inglesia Colegial del Salvador. Admission to the Inglesia includes admission to the Cathedral.
We entered the magnificent Water Gardens Palace in Dorne. The fantasy-land in Season Five of the Game of Thrones is the real-life Alcázar of Seville. It was as if the Alcázar was designed for Game of Thrones, commented co-creator Dan Weiss.
This is a photo of the Maidens’ Courtyard, featured in the Game of Thrones. The Alcázar is one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain and an outstanding example of Moorish architecture. It is filled with grand reception halls, hidden chambers, secret passages, porticos, patios and pools. It is easy to imagine centuries of intrigue, deception, murder, love and lust within this fabled palace.
Director and producer, Ridley Scott, also used the Alcázar as a setting for his 2005 epic historical drama, Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom.
The Alcázar is still used by the Royal Family today.
Seville is located about 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. When Columbus set sail for the Americas, Seville capitalized on its strategic advantage of having the only river port in Spain. It established a monopoly on the influx and distribution of riches from the new world throughout Spain and the rest of Europe. All ships for the new world had to leave and return through the port in Seville. The city became the powerful economic centre of the Spanish Empire.
Look up, down, side to side….all surfaces are covered with carvings, tiles, art and other wondrous things.
As we were leaving, I was delighted with this view of the Cathedral across the square.
After touring two World Heritage Sites in one day, we saved the third for the following day. I was fascinated by what we discovered on our visit.
Please return next week for:
Ultimate Geocaching: Searching for Spanish Ghost Galleons in a World Heritage Site
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