Andalusia Travel: The Wonders of Seville – the Giralda, Real Alcazar, Plaza de España, the Archivo de Indias
After a stroll past the Cathedral I visited one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Seville: the Archivo de Indias. Housed in the former merchants exchange, this impressive building is home to extremely valuable archival documents about the history of the Spanish Empire in its overseas possessions. Started in 1572, the building features a large central patio and holds about 80 million pages of historic documents.
Across the Plaza del Triunfo is the Real Alcázar, the Royal Palace of Seville. A visit to this palace would be the perfect program for a rainy afternoon. The royal residence was created inside the palaces that had had been built by the Almohades, a Berber-Muslim dynasty, during the 12th century. The palace has numerous unique and fascinating areas, including the Patio de las Doncellas with its intricate plasterwork, and the Salon de Embajadores which boasts a magnificent dome of carved and gilded wood – just a breathtaking space.
Many attractive interior courtyards make up the complex and rooms are decorated with beautiful azulejos (traditional Spanish tiles) and complex plasterwork. With their terraces, fountains and pavilions, the Gardens of the Alcázar are equally impressive and provide a green oasis in the heart of Seville.
As the light drizzle continued, I left the palace, crossed the scenic Jewish Quarter and had a late lunch at an Italian restaurant before capping off my sightseeing in Seville with another visit to the stunning Plaza de Espana. In the evening I explored the historic town of Carmona.
Built on a ridge about 33 km north-east of Seville, Carmona was already an important town during Roman times. The Moors created the dense downtown area with narrow, winding and cobblestoned streets. The Alcázar del Rey Pedro has been turned into a parador, a luxury hotel, that offers a gorgeous view from the hilltop. As the locals were leaving the churches after evening mass, I strolled through the narrow streets of downtown Carmona and took in the warm ambience of this medieval town before heading to bed and rest up for my last two days in Andalusia. Two more days in Cordoba were waiting for me…