The Royal Palace of Alcazar, Seville
It is understandable a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its origins go back to before the 8th century BC. To say it has had a chequered history is perhaps an understatement and after much religious turmoil it is rather surprising that anything remains. Most of the Palace you see today is based upon the Castilian construction of the mid 1300AD. But much of the foundations are upon the much earlier Abbadid Muslim Residential Palace and Fortress.
But Alcazar is in fact more then one Palace, several are seamlessly inter-linked.
The Architecture incorporates much of the Mudejar style and design. The stonework is creative and skilful in its execution in places replicating intricate Lace work, in others much more like stalactites from a cave. The colour will also leave an impression, all heavy and vibrant, Ochre, Yellow, Red , Blue and of course Gold. The tiles themselves are yet another art form to be admired… they are much more than a decorative feature but tell a religious Muslim story. It is though the ceilings that are so spectacular, the rich gold and jewels reflecting light to the darker interior.
Alcazar is till used as a Royal Palace by the Spanish Royal Family, so occasionally there are visitor restrictions. At other times you will find it very busy but not unpleasantly so. The best advice is to book your tickets in advance top avoid the long queues and if you can, join a guided tour to maximise your visit.
30th September 2018
On Stanton Moor, Derbyshire
So it was chilly…. the wind has started to come from a northerly direction, but the late summer sun was just strong enough to make walking very very pleasant. It was also low so there were lots of long deep shadows and despite a haze on the horizon expansive views were still on offer and giving you that ‘Top of the World’ feeling.
The charm of Stanton Moor is that despite being a heather moorland, it also has several Birch and Oak woodland groves, together with old quarry workings, sandstone erratic’s and bracken, bracken that is starting its autumnal die back, all add to the moorland magic. It was also a dramatic change after recent travels to much hotter climes….a joy to be back on home turf.
There were a few other folk out enjoying the freedom of the moor, but on such a great day one could have expected many more. The big advantage (and a welcome surprise) there was no one ‘ cluttering up’ the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, a Bronze Age reminder that life existed on this very spot so many centuries ago. So we could pay our respects in peace and solitude…. Yep, not a bad day by any score, and nearly the end of the month.
(C) David Oakes 2018
Seville is renowned for its Palaces, Cathedral, Grand Architecture, extensive Parks and colourful Waterfront. Certainly any visit must include all those locations but should also include a visit to the Jewish Quarter a part of the old town in the shadows of the Alcazar Palace. It is a network of narrow streets and tall buildings which even on the hottest and sunniest of days provides the shade for a cool walk. Interesting certainly but it will also be busy and that is half the fun.
The summer/autumn Equinox has now passed. Temperatures have fallen to a rather pleasant 18c to 20c…..cool by the standards set this summer but rather enjoyable. The daylight hours are getting noticeably shorter but the feel is still very much of summer rather than a decline into autumn. In fact rather than leaves turning, dare I say that, they are now spring green in vibrancy.
Some Oak leaves do have the first hint of autumn, which in itself is surprising as they are usually the last to change and remain over winter till the new buds push the old off the branch… perhaps just another indicator of the strange climate we are now experiencing.
Just another lovely late summer day 🙂
(C) David Oakes 2018