If you Google Sevilla, Spain, you can see hundreds of pictures of the Plaza de España, the Torre de Oro, and the Cathedral (and also a few pictures of the Mezquita and the Alhambra, just to keep things interesting). From the pictures, Sevilla looks like a place full of life and energy, and I had the incredible opportunity to experience that for myself a few weeks ago.
For our first overnight trip, all of the students studying abroad with GEO spent a long weekend in Sevilla with the University of Oviedo Art Professor, Professor Laura. We walked all over the city, went on boat tours, saw a flamenco show, and ate way too much paella (a Spanish rice dish with seafood that’s super common in Sevilla). It would be impossible for me to choose just one aspect of Sevilla to talk about so expect a “Sevilla: Part II”, coming soon! For my first post, though, I decided to focus on one of my favorite memories: the day we spent wandering around the Real Alcázar.
The Real Alcázar is a royal palace that was originally developed by Muslim kings. However, every time a new leader came into power, he would make the palace his own by commissioning another garden, study, or bedroom. Because of this, the palace is a winding maze of courtyards, hallways, and late additions. It’s been shaped by a mix of Muslim and Christian influences, making it seem as though you are crossing centuries of history and culture every time you walk into a new room. Needless to say, it’s amazing!
We spent hours walking around, exploring and getting lost (both in the maze of rooms and in the actual maze in one of the Real Alcázar’s many gardens). We saw arches typical of Arabic architecture of that time, and huge tapestries typical of the Christian kings. However, my favorite part about it was that it’s not a palace confined by its walls, but instead defined by them. Professor Laura explained that Arabic architects of that time had something called “miedo del espacio vacío”, or fear of empty space. Because of that, each wall is intricately carved and decorated, and that makes walking through the halls of the palace an unforgettable experience.
Until next time,