Santa Cruz is Seville’s Jewish quarter and contains many of the city’s best known sights. So, it’s a warren of picturesque whitewashed streets along side the cavernous Seville Cathedral and the splendid Real Alcazar.
If you visit Seville, you would definitely want to visit this historic and exciting area.
Winding streets full of shops and eateries are interspersed by bright squares where cafes spread out their tables.
Enticing glimpses of ornate bell towers peak over rooftops.
Highly decorated buildings are everywhere, colourful and tiled in the local style.
Charming narrow streets are lined with lime and orange trees.
Tall buildings and trees allow for shade in sun drenched days,
and round every corner people enjoy eating and drinking in the open air.
On reaching Seville Cathedral, it’s Gothic immensity is breathtaking.
We found an entrance, but discovered there are many. This part may be used by locals for worship today.
Look out for this simple cross, nearby we spotted people passing through some iron gates into the entrance.
Gothic architecture sets off this sculpture beautifully. It is actually the weather vane that was once on top of the bell tower. It depicts Faith and therefore is given the name La Giralda.
Inside there is a ceiling of gold.
Built on the sight of a great mosque, work on this Christian cathedral began in 1401.
Sunlight flows through the colourful windows and bounce off the walls.
The only way to tell that this is the largest cathedral in Europe is by looking up at the length of the ceiling. The floor space is full of enormous structures.
A breath taking sculpted river of gold.
The bell tower is called La Giralda after the bronze weather vane that was positioned on top.
Superb views over the city can be seen from it’s top. But, not for us today – too many things to fit in already!
We head through the Plaza Virgen de los Reyes, where horse drawn carriages trot round the fountain and giant oranges are ripening on the trees.
We pass the souvenier shops and tapas bars as we make our way towards the Plaza Santa Cruz.
This small but pretty square is a garden. Standing at it’s centre is an ornate iron cross from 1692.
We join an alley alongside the Alcazar walls. Washington Irving lived at number 2 and has attracted lots of tourists. It feels like a fashion cat walk and we strut our stuff.
Glimpses of enchanting gardens can be seen through gaps.
We follow twists and turns,
and pass through enchanting hideaway squares.
Until we find ourselves on familiar ground.
Next major tick for us is the Real Alcazar, Seville’s Royal Palace. I can’t wait.
I’m determined to think about the exquisite Mudejar craftmanship, regal grandeur and beautifully landscaped gardens, and not just ‘Game of Thrones’, which filmed many scenes here.
There was a queue through the Plaza del Triunfo, which gave us a minute to appreciate the statues.
This one celebrates the triumph of the city over an earthquake in 1755 (Lisbon was devastated). It was believed that the cities devotion to the Virgin Mary saved them.
Gorgeous horses work so hard to show us tourists the best of Seville and trot through the plaza regularly.
We queued through the Lion’s Gate (Puerta del Leon), set in an impressive defensive wall built during the 12th century. The heraldic lion poses over the entrance.
This old section dates to 1116 when a fortress-like palace known as the Al-Muwarak (the Blessed) was built.
We keep with the oldest sections and explore the Hall of Justice.
It was the first Mudejar construction, added in the mid-14th century.
Decorated with schematic plaster work. In the centre there was a fountain with a narrow water channel connected to a pool. Later it became a courtroom.
Through the ancient arch you see the newer Palace and the Patio de la Montería. It is named after the hunters (monteros) who met here with the King Pedro I before they went out hunting.
From the patio you see the original palace of King Pedro I. Its facade is decorated in Mudéjar style with lobed arched windows and blind arches.
Stepping inside James and I are blown away by the detailing. We take photo after photo.
‘Come see what we’ve found’
‘Come on, this way!’
We reached highly decorated Hall after stunning Hall.
This is the Hall of the Embassador used for ceremonial events. The stunning gilded dome is made of interlaced wood.
In the centre is the Patio de las Doncellas, the main courtyard of the palace. This was the hub of public life in the palace of Pedro I. From the patio, named after the ladies (doncellas) who spent much of their time here, you can reach several halls.
Charlotte hanging out like a doncella.
I loved the ancient wooden doors. They must have been so bright.
We find our way to the Flowers Garden.
This garden is separated into rooms and unripe oranges hang over head.
This enchanting gateway leads you to the larger gardens filled with lawns and trees.
All surrounded by the enormous protective walls.
James is the technical member of the family and achieves some wonderful intimate and arty photos.
The Grotto Gallery overlooks the Alcazar gardens.
The Mercury pond is an old swimming pool which collected water from the Roman aqueduct. By 1575 it was changed to a pond. Eventually, a renaissance bronze of the God Mercury was placed as it’s centre-piece.
Entering back inside through these imposing gates.
We enter a Gothic style hall full of tapestries and azulejos.
The complex is a maze of halls, where monarchs over centuries have expanded. We found a small chapel.
Some areas are still hidden. Today’s Royals regularly use the upstairs. I wonder if that’s why this petite courtyard is kept behind locked gates.
Another secret world are the numerous tunnels beneath the palace. Charlotte was convinced she could hear voices.
There are a number of intimate courtyards. Everything is designed with the blistering Spanish heat in mind.
We leave by the ‘Alighting Area’ where the old stables are found.
Back on the streets, heads crammed with new things learnt and tired legs, we are nearly ready to head back
The men are really enjoying learning about the locally reared and cured Iberico ham. We pass a rather masculine looking deli and they leaped inside.
The serious business of buying packs of ham to take home began.
Lots of samples were tasted and compared. Some were creamy, some intense.
We’ve never seen so many, but we are in the world famous area of the Iberico pigs.
Everything looked of a great quality but all attention was on the melt in the mouth cured ham.
A selection was made and gifts were bought. They have a year to eat them all, but I suspect it won’t last that long!
Heading back to Hotel Alfonzo XIII in the Parque Maria Luisa area we pass through grand streets full of shops,
and a tram that whizzed by in the wrong direction for us!
Santa Cruz, Seville is a must-do area when you visit this city. And compared with many other cities, we found Seville very good value for money!
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