Visit theAlcazar and the Cathedral of Seville without queues
The guided visit to both of these monuments is practically mandatory for anyone who wants to get to know Seville, especially if you want to receive plenty of information about what you see and avoid long entrance queues.
We will begin our tour at the Royal Alcazar, the residence of the Spanish royal family since 1249 when Seville was reconquered from the Arabs. In fact, the Alcazar has Arabic origins, dating back to the 10th century, although as we will see, the palace is the result of construction, transformations, renovations and restorations that span centuries.
Some of the rooms that we will tour might look familiar, since films like Lawrence of Arabia and television shows like Game of Thrones have been filmed in the Royal Alcazars.
We will begin our tour before the famous Puerta del Leon (Lion’s Gate), an exquisite sample of the Almohad architecture that allowed the palace walls to be crossed.
After approaching the Lion’s Gate, we will head toward the charming Patio de la Montería, which leads to some of the most beautiful buildings within the complex: the Casa de Contratación de Indias (Indies Hiring House), the Gothic Palace, and the Moorish Palace (also known as the Palace of Pedro I).
In the Moorish Palace we will visit places like the Hall of the Ambassadors, one of the main rooms in the palace, spectacular for its decoration and its semi-circular vault.
Also in the Moorish Palace, we will see the royal bedchamber, the Prince’s room, the impressive María Padilla Baths, and patios like the famous Patio de las Muñecas (Patio of the Dolls).
In the Gothic Palace, also known as the Palace of Carlos I, we will discover the extraordinary framenco tapestries that illustrate the Tunez conquest by Carlos I.
Before finishing our tour through the Alcazar, we will head toward the garden area where the Mercury Pond is located. From here, we will be able to contemplate part of the 70,000 square metre gardens of the Royal Alcazars.
Upon leaving the Alcazar, we will get to know the nearby Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede, the largest gothic temple in the world and the second largest Christian temple after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
During our guided visit to the cathedral, you will discover that it was built over the city’s largest mosque. Of that mosque, its Patio de los Naranjos (Patio of the Orange Trees) and minaret remain. Part of the minaret was turned into the bell tower, one of the other major symbols of the city that is known as La Giralda.
Inside the Cathedral you will see true jewels. Among them is the enormous high altar, made of gold leaf, were the life of Christ is shown in 44 different scenes.
You will also be surprised by the grand oval vault in the Chapel room. This area is truly an extravagance of art, since everything was decorated by one of Seville’s most illustrious painters, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. One of his famous Inmaculadas paintings is here, occupying the centre of the vault.
Obviously he is not the only great painter who has magnificent works in the Seville Cathedral. Here there are also works by Jordaens, Zurbarán and Goya. Many of them are displayed in the Cathedral Treasure rooms, where some valuable historic crowns and other gold jewelry are also displayed. The tomb of Christopher Columbus might also be considered another jewel. His remains have been entombed here since 1899.
Other extraordinary works of art are the gothic choir stalls, the grandiose organ to the east and the portable silver altar, which goes out on procession during Holy Week.
The perfect place to end your visit to the cathedral will be La Giralda, the famous bell tower, from which you’ll have magnificent views of the city centre.
That is the perfect finish for this guided tour, which began in the elegant Royal Alcazars and ended in the Seville Cathedral, specifically in the highest part of its bell tower, La Giralda, which offers a privileged point from which to contemplate this beautiful Andalusian city.