Real Alcazar, Sevilla

The Real Alcazar, the royal residence built in 1364 by Pedro the First within the Almohad palaces of Spain’s former Moorish rulers, is a place of breathtaking beauty, the subtlety, the delicacy, the perfection of its spaces a song for the soul.

A long outer wall curves along the boundary of Santa Cruz, the Juderia or Jewish ghetto, concealing from view the Gardens of the Alcazar: one morning, as we sought its shade, the sunlight seemed to strike like a scimitar or blade.

Outer wall, Gardens of the Alcazar

Santa Cruz, Sevilla

My guidebook – the estimable DK Eyewitness Travel volume on Spain – says of the Santa Cruz district of Sevilla that it represents Seville ‘at its most romantic and compact.’ I would agree. A maze of narrow alleys and quiet plazas, Santa Cruz was once a Jewish ghetto, but now is a tourist mecca – the cross-cultural pun intended. The neighbourhood is almost too pretty, almost too touristy – and yet it manages somehow to maintain a sense of reality, of life as it is still lived and enjoyed, in an old quarter of the city. You can’t afford to miss it.

Here are four images.

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