Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Seville - The Real Alcazar and Flamenco

Not quite the sunny scene that was in the photo of the Lion's Gate from the previous day! We have passed through that and this is the Patio del Leon - the Lion's Courtyard which has always been a military compound. We were unfortunate not only with the weather but also because a good deal of the Alcazar was closed because they were filming 'Game of Thrones' there. Still, we soldiered on and saw what we could.  The word Alcazar derives from the Arabic al qasr which means palace or fortress.
Beyond the triple arches stands the Patio de la Monteria where the court met the king before going out hunting. This is the original part of the palace built in the 11th century.

The Patio del Yeso with its beautiful stucco work. This is also in the oldest part of the Alcazar and dates back to the 12th century. It is one of the few remaining parts of the original Muslim Alcazar. 

Real Alcazar was built on the site of a Moorish palace known as Al-Murawak. It was built in the Mudejar style around several patios and over the centuries it has been extended many times. I love the colour of the walls and the fountain in this room.

The entrance to the Alcazar which stands at the back of the Patio de la Monteria. This part of the palace was built in the mid 14th century by King Pedro I  - known as both 'The Cruel' and 'The Just'.

This is the central part of the magnificent facade with more wonderful stucco work.

The Patio de las Doncellas or Courtyard of the Maidens with its central rectangular reflecting pool flanked by two sunken gardens. This was the old centre of public life in the palace of Pedro I. It is said that the name refers to the legend that the Moors demanded 100 virgins every year as tribute from the Christian kingdoms of Iberia!

Now I confess that I don't really remember quite where we are here but I think it's the Dormitorio de los Reyes Moros or Bedroom of the Moorish Kings.

This one of the archways leading from the Dormitorio into the Patio de las Doncellas. I love all the colours and textures in this photo.

The Patio de las Munecas or Courtyard of the Dolls was the centre of the residential part of the Alcazar. It's small but absolutely beautiful.

I really like this tapestry although I have no idea where it was - I really must keep a diary on my next trip!

The Hall of the Tapestries - these wonderful pieces were first painted by Jean de Vermayen and then transferred to tapestry in the workshops of Guillermo Pannemaker of Brussels betweeen 1549 and 1554.

A closer look at the one of the ships in port - I regret that my Latin isn't up to translating what it says at the bottom of the tapestry but possibly the scene is depicting something to do with the conquest of Tunis by Carlos V

A tantalizing glimpse of the area that we weren't allowed into because of the filming!

Let's face it - gardens in the rain aren't a whole lot of fun so there is just one photo to give you a glimpse. Most of the gardens were in the area that was closed off anyway. I really would like to go back to the Alcazar again and see all of it - preferably in the sunshine! I think it's one of those places that you would gain a lot from seeing a second time anyway.

We had booked to see a flamenco show in the evening so we decided to combine an exploration of the old Jewish quarter of Seville with an attempt to find the location of our destination for the evening.

We eventually found Calle Meson del Moro where the Casa de la Guitarra is located. It turned out to be quite close to the cathedral and easy to find when we were ready.

Happily we also spotted this restaurant a little further down the street and booked a table for after the show.

It was very attractive inside. This is the lower dining area but we had a table on the upper floor which was even nicer.

The venue for the flamenco show was small and intimate. We were seated upstairs which gave us a better view.

The guitarist was excellent and also bilingual so was able to explain what we were hearing and seeing in both Spanish and English. Flamenco is a type of Spanish folk music and it originated in Andalucia which is why we wanted to hear it in Seville rather than anywhere else.

I have to confess that flamenco singing does nothing for me, in fact a little goes a very long way! The fault is in me though and not the lovely and elegant lady who was singing. I suspect that it is an acquired taste or perhaps you have to grow up being familiar with it to really enjoy it.

The dancing on the other hand is fantastic - full of life and emotion and a great art. To my surprise there was no sign of castanets although there was a lot of finger clicking and rythmic clapping. It was a real cultural experience. After the show we went back to our little restaurant which was absolutely full. We had a wonderful meal - veal marsala and profiterole in my case. An excellent end to the day.


Lowcarb team member said...

Enjoyed reading this post and all your lovely pictures.

I've always liked the sound of a guitar and flamenco is so exciting.

All the best Jan

Mac n' Janet said...

Great post, how interesting that they were filming Game of Thrones there. I love flamenco music, not the singing particularly nor the dancing, but the guitar work.

Marqueta G. said...

What gorgeous photos you've shared! Thank you so much for coming by my blog, so I could come and visit Seville with you. The architecture is just so beautiful, and I'm sure the food (except for maybe sea urchins) was wonderful, too!



Cheryl said...

I love flamenco, although my husband isn't quite so keen.
Beautiful restaurant. Was the food good I wonder ?

I love the glimpse of the garden, oh how I would loved to have seen beyond.
Beautiful post, with lots of information and images.

Barb @ Bella Vista said...

Oh, the pictures are just so grand. What a lovely place to visit and so colorful, too.

Happy Sunday!


Acornmoon said...

I would love to visit these places, maybe one day! I enjoyed reading your post and your photographs have increased my desire to see more.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

What a wonderful tour and great adventure you took us on. The garden, even in the rain, looks lovely. The flamenco would have been rather enjoyable, I think. Thank you for sharing and for your visit today. Have a lovely week, Rowan.


Elizabeth Musgrave said...

What fabulous pictures. The proportions of the Moorish arch are so perfect. I have never been to Seville and you have made me want to go. Might even put it on a list!

Gracie said...

So happy you're back blogging! And with such beautiful now, don't get lost again, please...

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Well your photos are just wonderful! They bring to mind my own visit here before I had a digital camera. But never mind that because all my film went missing with my bag on that trip. I don't have a single shot from Seville. But it is a mind blow. Every bit as memorable were all those courtyards one can peer into. Enchanting. And the food! Such a soulful place. You really are good at keeping it all straight. I am never good at getting down the history. Doesn't detract from the experience for me though! So nice to have a visit from you to my humble back yard! Haha!