Monday, February 8, 2016

El Alcazar – Erich

The wall and the gate through which we enter
In Seville, Spain there is a castle. But that is hardly the right way to describe El Alcazar. Yes, it is a castle, but it is really more like castle upon castle next to castle abutting castle with extensive gardens surrounding this complex of castles. 

It all starts with the Moors of about a thousand years ago. They built a castle. Since that time, other kings have built new castles that connect to existing castles. Or sometimes, the castles are built on top of existing castles.

I know we didn't see everything. It would easily take a day to see it all, maybe more. But what we did see was amazing.

Once in an improv comedy sketch I had to be a character in a movie called "Under the Pillar"
First, there are walls, arches, pillars, and entire castles in very different architectural styles built at different times. But all of it is decorated with so much detail, some of it so elaborate, other places simple and geometric. Why just build a stone wall when you can build a stone wall in a brand new architectural style? Why have a gate when you can decorate every centimeter of the gate?
This wall was using exposed natural rock in a style with a name like grutanesca or something
Okay, maybe there is a centimeter unused
Even the ceiling is fancy
There is a part of the upper floor of one of the castles that is still used by the Spanish Royal Family when they visit Seville. That makes El Alcazar the oldest still used castle in Europe. (I don't think we got to see the rooms where the royal family actually lives.)
Look at the characters on the border. They aren't Arabic. I'm not sure they are even letters. A code?
El Alcazar has fountains, some of them inside a building, some of them outside. And what's more, there are huge gardens that take up several city blocks around the castles.
A fountain inside
A fountain outside (with a statue of Mercury in the middle)
We particularly enjoyed Jardin Labyrinto or the Maze Garden. It is a great place to play hide and go seek. Though for some reason, Syarra seemed to always find me quite easily. Maybe she has placed a radio transmitter tracking device on me.
Do you mind?!
We did see one of the residents of El Alcazar, a peacock. He seemed not to be inclined to socialize with us much, but did pose for some pictures. Can't blame him though. He must be a believer in that old adage: a man's home is his Alcazar.

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