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The Alcázar Réal (Royal Palace) of Seville is one of the city’s most enchanting, and most popular, historic monuments. Along with the Cathedral and Archive of the Indies, it is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. The word alcázar actually means fortified palace, and this one is hidden behind castle walls on Plaza del Triunfo opposite the Cathedral.

The grounds of the Alcázar are extensive and fascinating, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to wander around the whole palace and gardens - two to three hours minimum. These were the orchards of the palace in Moorish times, providing food for the royal court, as well as aesthetic value.

This was the main central courtyard of the Renaissance-era Alcazar, where Spanish nobles met to go hunting with the king. This was built over the residence of Moorish rulers. Ahead is Peter’s Palace, and to the right is the Renaissance period part of the Alcazar, altered from the original Gothic.

This section of the palace complex is reached through the Crossing Courtyard (see Moorish Alcazar), which is connected to the Patio de la Monteria (Hunting Courtyard) by a porticoed gallery, or from the Patio de las Doncellas.

This part of the Alcazar is the most famous, and is often shown in photos of the palace due to its astonishing visual impact, especially the Ambassador’s Hall with its mirrored gold domed ceiling, and the Patio of the Maidens with its beautiful stucco arches and sunken gardens.

In the 10th century, the seat of power in Andalucia for the ruling Ummayad caliphate was Cordoba. From the 11th century the region devolved into taifa states, of which Seville was one, ruled at first by Abderraman III. In 1147 the Almohad dynasty arrived, aiming to return the region to stricter adherence to Islam, and declared Seville as its capital.

You enter the Alcázar though the red Puerta del Leon (Lion’s Gate) situated at the corner of Calle Miguel de Mañara and Calle Santo Tomas. The exit is on Patio de Banderas, which leads back onto Plaza del Triunfo, and also into Barrio Santa Cruz via Calle Juderia.

Day visits
October to March: 9.30am - 6pm
April to September: 9.30am - 8pm

Night visits (see below)
March and October: every half hour from 7.30pm to 9pm
April to September: every half hour from 9pm to 10.30pm

There are a good amounts of hotels located almost within touching distance of the famous Seville Alcazar Palace (Reales Alcázares de Sevilla). A lot of them feature spectacular roof terraces offering unrivalled views over the cathedral that dominates this area.

The Alcázar of Seville was used as a location for the hugely successful HBO TV series, Game of Thrones. The palace stood in for the Water Gardens of Dorne in various scenes in four episodes of Season Five and one of Season Six. The private estate is owned by Prince Dorian Martell, the wheelchair-bound head of House Martell and ruler of Dorne.