5:46 PM

 Grotto - An artwork from Italy in #Seville Alcazar

 I could have easily picked one - had I not listened to what dear Susana had to say.She pointed towards the leaves - “You tell me are they bitter or sweet?" The fresh smell of Light - Fragrant Orange Trees planted across the pedestrian walking street everywhere in Seville was a new concept to me.I was left confused,thinking about what answer could that possibly be.If the Oranges were sweet,they wouldn’t be hanging on the trees or may be people in Seville don’t pluck Oranges.When the Spanish cuisine is oh so delicious,who needs Oranges anyway?Just when I was in a dilemma of my own kind,Susana said the leaves you see,the pointed ones are bitter ones.The ones which are round are Sweet.These are bitter,used for Marmalades that are exported to England and used in-house.You can find them in many cities in Andalucia - Malaga,Granada.In fact,the love for fruit isn’t just confined to streets.We have the popular name ‘Granada' based on Pomegranates,although now not as much used as previously but still used in Salads and Cakes.

   Previous Posts on Spain:

 As I checked in Hotel Inglaterra which was located in the centre most part of Sevilla facing the city center,I couldn’t have asked for more.As I tap in my keys,I see a room with the cutest chandelier of its own,the colors resembling almost like me living in a Barbie House.I was tired,and jumped into my bed almost in an instant.

 High Speed Train(Renfe) from Madrid-Atocha Station was the convenient transfer between Madrid  and Sevilla.The cost for the train ticket was Euro 40

Flashes keep coming in -

“Right,I packed my bags,13 kgs,boarded the 10 hour long flight,stopped at Zurich and then boarded a flight again.As soon as I reach,I go to Madrid-Atocha Railway Station.Railway Station is where we have burgers and beer.And then the journey to Seville from Madrid by train.I love train journeys - it takes you to landscapes in a completely slow motion - like a 60’s movie on screen (even though initially I admired the clouds more and even though the speed of trains in Spain are super fast) - I still prefer trains anyway.Reached Seville and Woke up to the Balcony in front of my room - and there I was where the history awaits me."

Who is he standing in front,when did the trams come,do bull fights still happen,and the river we passed by while driving what was that.I decided to take a quick stroll around at night.The trams still were running,the ladies were in their best flamenco dresses(I wonder why was the Cinderalla outfit so common that day!),and the random musicians still played,and further ahead was a mall with brands such as Mango and Zara.

The Railway Station with Shops,Eateries,a Park and Turtles!

                                                Admiring the wait with Burger and Beer

Spain Tip: Seville is pronounced Sevilla in Spanish (Seviya - literally)

Next Morning was when the history looked more radiant and compelling.I mean,I was surrounded by the most magnificent buildings around and it was time to know how and when and what made this transformation.King Ferdinand the third,conquered the city of Seville from the Moors(Muslims) in 1248.Since Spain was under Arabic domination for 800 years(711 - 1492),and Seville for 500 years,the Arabic Influence in Spain has been significant.

Watch the video below for a 30 seconds trailer on Spain(what do Spanish people like about Seville) and behind the Scene “one Shot"

The Sevilla Cathedral 

Built over the remains of a Mosque post Earthquake in 1402,the Seville Cathedral(Santa María de la Sede) is the third largest Cathedral in the World which comes just after St. Peter in Rome and St. Paul in London.The tower of the cathedral was once the Minerat of the Mosque.The Cathedral is also famous for in it lie the remains of the famous Christopher Columbus(Yes! the one who discovered America).The opening timings for the Cathedral are 11-5 and is closed on Sundays for Tourists as every morning the mass or the misa is conducted for services.The day we went,as you all guessed was a Sunday.However,the beauty and history of the Mosque is interesting and when you pass by this place,don’t be surprised if you encounter Gypsies with the rosemaries.

Spain Tip: The alphabet “J” is pronounced as “Kh” in Spain.I.e Mijas = Mikhas,Mudejar = Mudekhar like that.

The “Cracking” Tram

                         Trams are convenient for inter-city travel but this too has a story!

 The Walls of Seville was a military parameter surrounding the old town of Seville from the Roman period.It survived till the 19th century until it was partly demolished after the revolution of 1868.Seville originally surrounded by these walls,was hindrance for the cars to come in.A proposal was then made to construct an underground system in 1992 during expo ,which started creating cracks in the Seville Cathedral as the first line was being laid.So the plumbing for trams started and ever since Trams are the most convenient way of transfer taken by many till date.

                Fnac Seville : An Interesting Portrayal on Bull Fighting on the Outside Walls

The Palm Reading Gypsies

 “They consider unlucky if you give them coins and they are not poor - they are clever”. The Gypsies which are very much part of Spain are in this particular area and for first timers like us or even for people who live there,it is difficult to not get into their trap - they are charming individuals who know their way out.An interesting story that goes in Spain is,they have the rosemaries and they take your palm to convince you into how efficiently they can predict future.It will look like a good will gesture,but nothing comes for free in this world my dear.Once done,they want money in exchange and they wouldn’t except coins.If you give notes,do not expect change back.So your future now indeed might lie in their hands figuratively.

Hiralda and The Wind Which Moves

                  Can you see the tower at the extreme back with a figurine - and the women on front
                                                         They both are Identical Hiralda

 Remember the tower I was talking about? Hiralda is a heavy women almost 2000 kgs and is a symbol of Seville.Situated one on the top of the Cathedral and another replica on the bottom; with the top one holding like a bulb leaf she moves with direction of the wind and is never in the same position. Hirar in Spanish means turn and hence the tower is also called Hiralda Tower.

Spain Tip: Hi = Hola (Spelt Ola) , In India when we are happy with something,we say wah wah , in Spain it is Ole Ole.

The Alcazar 

 Originally a Moorish Fort,The Royal Palace or Alcazar in Seville is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe.It was the house of the Muslim governance because before the Renaissance when the christians re-conquered Spain from Muslims.Granada(1492) was the last Bastian of Muslims and Seville was before(1248).When the christians were back,they used these buildings as their residents,that means kings used the same area as was used by muslims governance.Continuously till nowadays,the spanish royal family still use the palace,that is why it is considered the oldest royal palace still in use.

The palace is the best example of mix of cultures and various religions.It is applaudable on how peaceful things were at that time.The heart of the complex is the Palace of King Pedro I, who constructed his royal residence in 1364 at the site of a Moorish palace.One Part of The palace is Christians using Muslim Elements known as Mudejar done by Muslim Craftsmen.Different kings added different things,so one side is gothic and it was added at the time of King Carlos the first in Spain(Carlos the fifth in Germany because he was emperor in Germany) and one side was for the grandfathers of the king Carlos ; Isabella and Ferdinand - the sponsors of Christopher Columbus.

The top floor of the palace is still actively used by the Royal Family. But this is not the only castle owned by the Royal Family.They come here all the time but they love to go to Majorca. Majorca or Mallorca is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago, in Spain.

 Cordial Relations,Mudejar and Patios of the Dolls 

 The Moorish style Palace was built by the Christian King.When the Palace was built,Granada was still under Muslim Influence.This king maintained a very cordial relationship with the sultan of granada.They were enemies otherwise but shared a coexistent relationship.The upper floors were added later.This palace is clearly organised in two different areas,the official area and the private area.They always say its two patios.The word patio means courtyard.Two courtyards - official one and the private one.This is the same idea when you visit any other arabic countries.(it is there in palace of arab countries two different areas separated from the private one - the kings maintained the same tradition because he used the same artist from the muslims.

 Even the ceramic work used in the palace is by following the Muslim tradition - that is they are handmade,represents Geometrical figures,Colours of nature - black brown green blue white, but never represented human figures.

 An Interesting thing about this Palace is that the King and the Queen had separate bedrooms! The four small heads decorated on one of the arches,is assumed to represent Harem(Women who dance) as per Arabic tradition,and hence from where the name comes from Patio de las Muñecas - Patio of the Dolls.

All In One 

 The Stunning Gold Ceiling representing Universe with the stars
and the scripted walls in Arabic,Jewish and Christians symbols of faith.

 The King also had a special room for the visitors who visited the Alcazar.This room has gold leaf decorated on the roof , using Mudejar i.e Christians using Muslim Craftsmen and work.The Lion in the room represents Spanish Monarchy .The scribbles in the room chant wordings from Quran talking about Allah.You will also see Jewish symbols in here.The Hamriya (Muslim Calendar begins when Prop Mohammed went to La Medina) is also here.That means that the king respected Islam and believed in Allah at one time and respected other religions as well.This was an interesting period which came to an end when the king’s brother fought against him for the crown supported by the catholic church and killed the King.

                                                               Influence of Italy

 One reason I admire the palace is for its diversity,while on one end we have Italian artwork called ‘Grotto’ from the 18th century on another end we have the Roman Aqua-duct.Grotta is an italian word that means caves because it looks like a cave and they use lava volcanic stuff.Some people like it,some people do not like it.For me,it was new and yes,strangely likeable!A visit to the Royal Alcazar also allows entry into the royal gardens. The expansive area is divided into a number of separate gardens some of which are terraced. Gardens of the Royal Alcazar are laid out in number of diverse style including French,Italian and Arab.

The Love Story And Distorted Faces 

 Married inside the palace,without seeking permission from the Catholic church,many say it was true real love that made Isabelle from Portugal to marry Charles who was also her first cousin in the middle of the 16th century.Dig deep,and it was an agreement as per financial and dynastically reasons - as she bought large dowries to Spain.The letters of that time speak a different tune altogether - it implies it was a relationship based on love than convinience. Isabel from Portugal was considered the most beautiful princess in Europe in that time.

Look at this picture and you wouldn’t know if she was as she was (I mean beautiful really!).When we know the art of Graffiti now,trace back even then people knew the art of “distortion of faces”.The real beautiful face as was told is perfectly captured in the painting of Isabel by Tiziano.

                                                        Grafitti in the days gone by 
              and paintings on the wall (one of which is a 180 degree rotated map from Europe to Africa)

I hope I haven’t been boring.Uh ! But hey there’s much more interesting stuff coming in.Like the
Guadalquivir,Isabelle and Christopher Columbus,Maria Lucia Park,Gold Tower,Sevilla Feria,Toledo and Food.Not to miss the story of Flamenco… and plus a  full travel video and a few lovely captures.

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  1. Beautifully captured - the Spansh ambiance!!

  2. Colourful and informative. If only...

  3. Well written Ankita. My desires to go to Spain are enlivened :)

  4. Nice article Dear, I love to read this types of articles. Thanks a lot to share with us...... Click here for Gadgets, Tech news, Free Software, Money Making Tips and more....

  5. @Deepa Gopal Sunil:Thanks for dropping by,do visit spain,its a land of contrasts ,and its beautiful culture out there.

  6. Wow… felt like I went on a whirlwind trip of Seville with you! :)

  7. Wow… felt like I went on a whirlwind trip of Seville with you! :)

  8. Thanks for sharing… felt like I was on that trip with you to Seville.

  9. @Chaitali Patel:Thanks Chaitali,thre's more to come


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