It’s all about the details: the Seville Alcázar

Details. The Alcázar of Seville is a great work of architecture, and we think we know why: details.

Everywhere we stood in the Alcázar gave us a magnificent view of the many artistic and architectural details. No matter how long we looked, it was too much to take in, so we snapped a great many photos in the hopes of spending more time later studying the rich details.

Our favorite space was the Courtyard of the Maidens, constructed between 1540 and 1572. The Courtyard was designed in an Italian Renaissance style with semi-circular arches and marble columns. The decoration was Plateresque plaster work (extremely decorated façades, that brought to the mind the decorative motifs of the intricately detailed work of silversmiths, the “Plateros”)

Tiles were a primary decoration in the Alcázar. The tiles repeated their patterns across walls so vast that sometimes we missed seeing their complex design.

We have no idea how many different tile designs were used throughout the Alcázar, but it was beyond our counting.

The architecture and decoration style of Seville’s Alcázar is Mudéjar – a fusion of Muslim and Christian styles in Portugal and Spain. The style lasted from the 12th to the 17th Centuries employing brick as a main building material. “The dominant geometrical character, distinctly Islamic, emerged conspicuously in the crafts: elaborate tilework, brickwork, wood carving, plasterwork, and ornamental metals. To enliven the surfaces of wall and floor, Mudéjar style developed complicated tiling patterns.”

The colors and patterns of the wooden doors gave the impression of a tapestry or carpet.

The same effect was repeated on many of the ceilings.

After seeing the elegant designs on the ceilings in the Alcázar, particularly in the sleeping quarters, we wondered why so many contemporary buildings leave ceilings in solid expanses of white?

Each part of the Alcázar’s decorations was beautiful all by itself. When we looked at each room, the transition between rooms, and the whole building, the saying is apt: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” For us, that is the definition of great architecture.



October 2017


About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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12 Responses to It’s all about the details: the Seville Alcázar

  1. Lovely photos, Beth and Joe! We were totally blown away by the Seville Alcazar the first time we visited and the wow factor for our second visit was just as great. The quote at the end of your post is exactly perfect. Every room in the Alcazar is a feast for the eyes from the ceiling, walls and windows to the floors. This is not a place you rush through because it takes time to shift the whole overwhelming ‘big picture’ to focus on the perfect details before you. Anita

  2. I love the intricate details of the various patterns. There is so much beauty.

  3. How beautiful. I’m a bug fan of symmetry and the patterns in these tiles are divine. Great inspiration for quilt making too!

  4. Missgitravel says:

    Those tiles give me LIFE! Thanks for sharing.

    • We so loved the tiles and took lots and lots of photos. Wasn’t it amazing how they put the huge expanses together of different tile patterns and colors?

      • I actually participated in a workshop trying to emulate the patterns with tiles and it was super tough. Very very complicated. Have to admire the hard work they put into planning and installing those designs.

  5. I love this place! Awesome photos 🙂

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