October 9, 2014

Moorish magnificence

On my last real day in Sevilla I rose into the, persistently blinding, day bright & early. 

Sevilla is amazing in the sunlight. The rays drench everything in a clean, airy light and the facaded colors stand out in cheerful patterns.

It's easy to wind through the narrow streets of the city, popping in and out of gift shops, greeting the exuberant spanish woman who run the stores and usher you in; they flit around you with helpful encouragements as you look at their crafted trinkets.  

There is so much charm in Sevilla, but as you emerge from a narrow walkway below the, albeit miraculous, Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, there is a prevalent atmosphere of overrun tourism.

The tourist and devout Christians stand in delirious lines to see the inside of the grand cathedral. 

Meanwhile, this poor sweet baby waits outside, too thin, old, and strained. It broke my heart to see what this fella, and many of his horse-pals, were going through. Especially when I gave the old boy a good pet and he was still so kind, despite his obviously poor condition. There is a lot of injustice in the world, but I think animal cruelty has got to be one of the worst.

Eventually the carriage man shooed me away, and I begrudgingly left, knowing there was nothing I could do. 

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, 
and wisdom to always tell the difference" 

UPDATE: You can visit Euro Animal 7, at this link, where seven animal activist groups across Europe are rallying to gain recognition in the EU for animal rights on the continent. I found a similar article to what I saw in Sevilla at this link, which was published by those trying to solve the issue with mistreated buggy horses. Let's hope they succeed. 

Forfeiting my desolation, I went on to find some more wonderful things about Sevilla (thought to be fair, a darker past could be argued here as well, but isn't that all of history). 

The Reales Alcázares de Sevilla was originally built by the Almohades in 913 CE, and went through a multitude of transformations over the centuries. 

Sevilla was luckily one of the last cities to go through the Spanish Inquisition, and the Muslims were not expelled until around the 13th century, even after a period of mudéjar when Christians and the Moors cohabited.

Though the marvelous architects of the fort were eventually subjected and tortured under the returned western European rule, what they created has lasted today as the oldest in-use palace in Europe; the royal officials still use the upper floor of the building when they come to Sevilla.   

By the time I reached the Alcázar, I had seen a lot of amazing buildings during my four months around Europe, but never had I seen something like this. 

The intricate details of each curve and carving is unreal.

There are loops and arches, points, swirls, colors, and beauty at every turn. 

The Islamic tradition believes in what is known as "aniconism". In its least complicated explanation this belief holds that images of divine beings (in this case, Allah) cannot be created by man. So in Moorish architecture, the scriptures are depictions of the divine, hence why they appear so miraculous. 

There is so much ornate precision to look at in the palace that it is nearly overwhelming. 

Just look at this gate: I cannot think of anything else as delicate and embellished at the same time. 

I, quite literally, walked around the halls of the palace mouth agape and reverential. 

I found a set off alcove and sat down for awhile. I looked up at the palatial ceiling, adorned with stars, and just reveled in how magnificent the ancient work was.   

I tried to bust out my sketchbook and doodle the patterns I saw, but they were just to perfect, that nothing seemed to compare.

I can still sit her today, and stare at this design on my computer screen and be completely stricken. How is it fathomable that over a millennia ago they could craft stone like this? 

Exiting the palace through the rear, I entered the Prince Garden, which is in a word: spectacular. 

Frolicking about the lawn are regal peacocks.   

The fancy feathered Kings also have their dashing brides, and their teeny tiny little peeps. I'll be truthful, if I hadn't not wanted to get my butt kicked out of Spain, I would have likely tried to steal one of the little nuggets. 

I had been gaping around the Alcázar for several hours, so I decided to have a sit and bust out my new copy of The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, (which I highly recommend). What is more appropriate in Southern Spain than a novel about the corrida de toros?

After a few chapters of simplistic prose, I tromped back into the royal gardens. 

If you know me well, you know that I couldn't resist a few Princess Kenna moments strolling down the lengthy walkways. 

I should really stop forgetting my tiara at home. 

I doubt you noticed, it's not like I took over seventy photos of it or anything, but I really, really loved the Royal Alcázar and the moorish designs. And with that in mind, guess whose desire to go to Morocco has grown triple-fold? 

Yep, this girl right here

Yours, Kenna


  1. Gorgeous photos. I visited Cordoba earlier this year (highly recommend it too, it's not a big place and so you really don't need more than two days there but it's wonderful) and now really want to visit Seville.

    1. I scheduled to spend a week in Andalusia, leaving around 2 days for each place, which seems about perfect timing...I only wished I'd planned 2 weeks so I could go to more cities! Cordoba and Granada are on my next go-to list, and I do hope you can make it to Seville! xx

  2. can't believe I went all over Spain but never to Seville. Your pictures give me serious wanderlust!

    1. Just a great excuse to go back, Sienna!

  3. Thanks for sharing, this looks amazing! Great post

    Beth x


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