We stayed at a charming hotel for 6 night called the Dona Maria, located in the centre of the city right next to the Torre Giralda. The hotel had been a former home of an aristocrat and was exquisitely decorated. Being so centrally located it made it easy for us to just pop in and out whenever we wanted.
|The centre of the city was a maze of narrow streets and as one walked one could peer into brightly coloured tiled courtyards through metal grills and see water playing from fountains. Everywhere you could see Roman columns, robbed from the old Roman city of Italica located just outside the city.|
|Torre Giralda. Turning a corner one in one of the nearby streets was soon comes across the Torre Giralda. This magnificent structure was originally built as a minaret in the Moorish period at the end of the 12th century, during the reign of the Almohad dynasty and a Renaissance style bell tower top was subsequently added by Spanish conquistadors after the expulsion of the Muslims from the area. The tower acts as the bell tower of the adjacent cathedral.|
|Cathedral. The Cathedral was built in the early 16th century. It is a bit of a monstrosity of stone and incredibly dark inside and lays claim to being the largest cathedral in the world. It houses the remains of several of Castilian monarchs, including Pedro the Cruel, as well as that of Christopher Columbus and his son Diego.|
|The Archbishops Palace is next to the Giralda and just around the corner from our hotel|
|Real Alcázar. By far the most beautiful monument in Seville is the Real Alcázar. This royal palace was completely rebuilt from a much earlier palace for Pedro the Cruel, king of Castille in the 1360's by Moorish craftsmen from Granada and Toledo. Pedro's Mudéjar palace forms the heart of the Alcázar as it is today and, despite numerous restorations necessitated by the ravages of time, the Alcázar offers some of the best surviving examples of Mudéjar architecture found anywhere in Spain..|
|The coat of Arms of Castile and Leon embedded in the floor|
|The gardens of the Alcázar are justly famous and we had some very enjoyable moments walking around them. The air was full of the aroma of oranges from the multitude of orange trees in the gardens. The oranges were all of the bitter variety and in one of the pictures below you can see somebody stealing an orange only to find out that it wasn't edible.|
|Torre del Oro. One of the most distinctive landmarks on the river is the military watchtower known as the "Tower of Gold". A companion tower was built on the other side of the river and a chain suspended between them to arrest traffic going up and down river in times of unrest. Built in the 13th century the tower was connected to a defensive wall stretching to the Alcázar and beyond. It was to see most of the gold from the America's landed here for onward transportation to the Alcázar.|
|Silver Tower. The tower was built as a defensive tower on the stretch of wall leading from the Tower of Gold to the Alcazar.|
|La Casa de Pilatos. A ducal palace, the building is a mixture of Renaissance Italian and Mudéjar Spanish styles and was built in the early 1500's.|
|Hospital de la Caridad. Founded in 1674 this charity hospital is still used today for the elderly and the infirm. The Charity Hospital is set up around two twin patios. At the centre of each one there is a fountain, one with a statue of the Charity and the other of the Mercy. the patio is decorated with seven tiled panels of 1700 from Holland, representing scenes of the Old and New Testament. The church is baroque in character and decorated with paintings by some of Seville's leading artists, including Murillo.|
|Archivo General de Indias housed in the ancient merchants' exchange of , the Casa Lonja de Mercaderes, is the repository of extremely valuable archival documents illustrating the history of the in the Americas and the Philippines.
|But, just in case you think it was all about buildings and eating we did manage to attend two flamenco shows|