It is considered the first civil building in the city and one of the most complex monuments in terms of volumes, chronology and functionality.
Historically it has been the headquarters of the Muslim dignitaries and princes of the Islamic Seville and from 1248 to the present day of the Castilian kings in the city of Seville.
The Alcazar of Seville, the usual residence of the Kings of Spain in this city, consists of a series of palatial buildings built and rebuilt from the High Middle Ages to the present day. Due to having this quality, habitual residence of monarchs and heads of state, the rehabilitation of the Alcázar has continued intermittently until the twentieth century, being little rigorous carried out in the Romantic era in the time of Isabel II, and that especially affected the Patio de las Dolls.
It is a building complex in which we can find the traces of the Islamic and Christian periods, in architectural or landscape, being the profile that offers us the result of a series of constructions and destructions made through history, as a synthesis of what has been the evolution of the city of Seville itself.
As the headquarters of the Royal House, the walls of the Alcázar, have hosted innumerable episodes of the history of Spain, including births, weddings and deaths of members of the monarchy. For example, the birth of King Ferdinand the 4th, the firstborn of the Catholic Monarchs, the Infant María Antonieta, daughter of Felipe the 5th. The death of Fernando the 3th the Saint, Alfonso the 10th the Wise and María de Padilla. Between the weddings the one of Isabel, daughter of the Catholic Kings with Alfonso of Portugal, Fernando the Catholic with Úrsula Germana de Foix, the one of Charles the 5th with Isabel de Braganza, etc.
On the other hand we cannot forget that its dependencies were used for other functions such as troops barracks during the French occupation or store of objects and works of art from the measures of disentailment carried out between 1835 and 1836 by Mendizábal.
Since 1931 it is municipal property, so it is a continuation of the Town Hall, cultural forum, university classroom and tourist monument, managed by the municipal autonomous organization called Patronato del Real Alcázar de Sevilla.
The Royal Alcazar of Seville was built outside the city walls, at the southern end of the urban fence of the Caliphate city, standing on the remains of the old Visigothic basilica of San Vicente, perhaps destroyed by the Normans, the first construction , germ of what is now this great palatial Alcázar.
From the outside they resembled the defensive walls that surround it, with the main door to San Gregorio street, and canvases of walls attached to towers, blinded doors and terraced houses, at the same time that due to the reduction of the same other towers are conserved and exempt houses that once belonged to the palatial complex. They are walls made of masonry and stone ashlars, topped by cap merlons. Inside you can see the superposition of volumes according to the time of construction of the buildings, which include staircases covered by four waters, as well as gabled roofs. As a rule, it is a building that tends to be horizontal, with two well-defined floors, although larger than the surrounding village. It also highlights the exuberant vegetation of its gardens that are separated by a wall of the Paseo de Catalina de Rivera and the Murillo Gardens.
The original nucleus is the rectangle of walls of large stone ashlars that opens to the Plaza del Triunfo and the Plaza de la Alianza and that constituted the Dar al-Imara or the Governor's Palace in the 10th century, during the time of Abderramán the 3th. This first construction was made following the trace of Abdallah ben Sinan the Syriac around 913-914. It was a quadrangular plant similar to the contemporary Alcazaba de Mérida. The wall fence of that Caliphate period is what today is surrounding the Patio de Banderas.
Subsequently, already in the Taifa period of the eleventh century, the Al Qasr Al Mubarak was built, whose hall of the Pleiades of the poet king Almutamid subsists under decorative forms of the Hall of Ambassadors, and the palace al-Qasr-al-Zahi. During the Almorávide period, the palatine group was occupied, according to some plundered, without any extension works or reforms being known.
In the 12th century during the Almohade stage (1147-1248) a series of works were carried out, expanding the enclosure creating a new military space with a triangular plan, delimited by the Tagarete channel, creating what would later be the area of gardens. They also built new palaces of which vestiges remain as the so-called Patio of the Plaster and the garden of the transept, in the courtyard of a building in the Contratación Square.
With the reconquest in the middle of the 13th century, Alfonso the 10th ordered the construction of a Gothic palace with a U-shape, encircling an old Muslim cruiser courtyard that was rebuilt with ribbed vaults, as well as the great halls that later were named Charles the 5th. It was composed of four rooms, two parallel to the Almohade Cruise yard and two other perpendiculars, located at the ends, covered by vaults of Gothic ribs and a terraced that constitutes the parade ground. Externally, it presents large buttresses treated as beacon towers and the four angles are occupied by as many larger towers that contain the staircases.
The Hall of Justice, cubic space covered with splendid Mudejar plasterwork, correspond to the works made in the time of Alfonso the 11th, in the first half of the fourteenth century, but it will be Pedro the 1th, the Cruel or the Justice, his son, who conferred to the Alcázar of Seville the Mudejar character that it has today.
The palace of Don Pedro the 1th, made between 1364 and 1366, summarizes all the most significant characteristics of Mudejar art. It follows the scheme of the popular house-patio, with two main nuclei, one around the Patio of the Doncellas, centre of public life, and another around the Patio de las Dolls, centre of private life.
The main façade of the Mudejar palace closes the back wall of the Monteria courtyard. It is organized in two lateral bodies of double height, the lower with semicircular arches framed by alfices and on pillars of rectangular section built in brick, while the upper one is composed by a large central arc of half a point, supported by pillars of brick adorned in its spandrels with atauriques, flanked by individual groups of semicircular arches canted on marble columns, prolonged in sebka cloths. These tall galleries frame the windows of the main halls of the upper palace, adorned in turn with plasterwork. The central body of the facade is divided into three floors and three parts. It combines carved stone, ceramics, carved wood and brick unitarily. The first part of a central vain architraveted and veiled, framed, flanked by separate arches polylobulated marked by alfiz, on marble columns, with decoration in the spandrels and upper sticks and sticks like sebka. It has an upper part structured in three parts with decoration of polylobulated arches with friezes of Mudejar plasterwork. The second body is structured around three central openings polylobulated on columns of marble framed by alfiz with decoration in the spandrels. Flanked by two openings formed by two arcs simulated in all the central.
On this body a white and blue ceramic frieze with geometric Mudejar motifs on which several overlapping friezes that culminate in muqarnas under a large tejaroz.
In short the cover has large tejaroz, triple windows, Kufic and Gothic inscriptions, cloths of ataurique and sebka, represent an extraordinary synthesis of elements that evidence the labor of Toledo, Granada and Sevillian, being dated the work in 1364.
During the reign of Juan the 2th, the carpenter Diego Ruiz builds the lordial dome of Mudejar tracery responding to the Islamic typology of the Qubba loop on horns of muqarnas that crowns the Hall of Ambassadors. Part of four fronts, three of them configured from a triple horseshoe arcade on columns and capitals caliphs framed by alfiz, with Mudejar plasterwork. The walls have tiled baseboards, on which are arranged arabesques, atauriques and epigraphy in plaster, establishing a low body of four large blind arches that shelter on three of their fronts arches of horseshoes on Caliphate columns. In the upper part is the gallery of effigies of the kings of Castile from the time of the Goths to Philip the 3th.
Next to the Hall of the Ambassadors is the Patio of the Doncellas. It has a rectangular floor surrounded by galleries. The ground floor, built in 1366, has seven poly-lobed arches on the main side and five on the smaller side, the central one being wider and taller than the rest, with its spandrels decorated with sebka cloths topped by an architrave also decorated with plasterwork . On the cornice runs through the enclosure a tile roof on which the second body is arranged. This, made during the rebirth in 1540, presents a total of thirty-six arches of half a point that alternate in columns and double communes, with Renaissance decoration in its spandrels and entablature.
The Catholic Monarchs ordered the renovation of the roofs of the galleries of the Patio of the Doncellas, the beautiful oratory being raised on the upper floor, whose tiles are due to the Italian potter Niculoso Pisano and dated to 1504.
The private area of the palace is centered around the Patio of the Dolls. It is of small dimensions, but of great beauty and proportion. The ground floor corresponds to the Mudejar construction, being remodeled and expanded during the 19th century.
The wedding of Charles the 5th and Isabella of Portugal in the Alcázar meant a remodeling of the Courtyard of the Maidens whose pillars were replaced by Italian columns, plateresque plasterwork was also introduced and the central arches were banked. The splendid pavilion of Charles the 5th, work of the teacher Juan Fernandez was raised and the old Gothic palace was restored.
Among the important dependencies, made from the sixteenth century we can distinguish: the Hearing Room, the Admiral's Room. From the 17th century, in the hands of Vermondo Resta, the new hall was built, the halt and the new stables were built in the Alleyway of the Water. In addition, the Patio de la Montería was reordered and the new kitchens were built in the well-known place, later, as the Assistant's Room.
Throughout the 18th century the spaces will be consolidated especially after the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755.
The Gardens of the Sevillian Alcázar are a fundamental part of it, although over the centuries they have undergone profound transformations that have distorted their primitive layout. They have an area of just over seven hectares so it is convenient to differentiate spatially and chronologically. During the reigns of Felipe the 2th, Felipe the 3th and Felipe the 4th, the gardens of the Alcázar were embellished, directing the works the architect Vermondo Resta. The earthquake of Lisbon of 1755 destroyed part of the Garden of the Cruiser located in the Gothic palace, proceeding to its reconstruction Sebastián Van der Borcht, who raised an admirable portico of Ionic order that precedes the rooms called of Charles the 5th.
The Gardens closest to the palace were made in the Renaissance period and are divided by walls decorated with fountains and Mannerist covers.
The first is formed by a large pond presided over by a figure of Mercury made by Diego de Pesquera and cast by Bartolomé Morel in 1576. It serves as background the Gallery of the Grutesco, decorated by stony works in rustic, paintings and a superior gallery, in the one that took advantage of an old canvas of walls.
Other gardens are the Dance, the Prince, the Great, with a central fountain of Neptune, and the Naranjal, where the fountain of the Lion and a mannerist temple.
Opposite the orangery garden is the Charles the 5th pavilion, built by Juan Hernández in 1543. It has a square floor plan with porticos on its four fronts and is covered by a semi-spherical vault of coffered ceilings. It is decorated with tiles and plasterwork in which Renaissance and Mudejar motifs are joined.
The rest of the gardens are of modern creation, appearing in a sector of them the name and shields of Alfonso the 13th. At the exit of this sector is the so-called Marchena Door, work of the time of the Catholic Monarchs that comes from the palace that the dukes of Arcos owned in that town.
Fuente: bdi del Patrimonio Inmueble de Andalucía (Junta de Andalucía)