Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987
It is located on the outskirts of the Old Town of the city of Seville, next to the Barrio de Santa Cruz. The interest it arouses among the inhabitants and tourists is demonstrated by the large number of visitors it receives each year, which is estimated at approximately one million. And it is that thanks to its architectural beauty and its historical and cultural value, the Real Alcázar was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.
The fortress has been the setting for many films and series
The Alcázar has been a splendid setting where parts of the following movies and television series have been shot:
1 Where are you going, Alfonso XII? (1958).
2. La femme et le pantin (1958, France).
3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
4. The Wind and The Lion (1971).
5. 1492: The Conquest of Paradise (1992).
6. The Kingdom of Heaven (2004).
7. Night and Day (2010).
8. Game of Thrones (5th and 6th seasons, HBO, 2015-2016).
9. The White Princess (2017).
The Legend of Spilled Blood
The story that concerns us is, in essence, a crime of passion that took place in the mid-fourteenth century. King Pedro I “the cruel” was married to Blanca de Borbón, but, according to gossip, the marriage was only consummated twice for reasons that were not very clear. There were those who thought that Pedro I had no interest in her because he was really in love with another woman (María de Padilla). It was also rumored that the failure of Blanca de Borbón’s family to pay the stipulated dowry infuriated the monarch. And a third theory also coexisted, which was the one that gave rise to the legend.
According to this version, Blanca de Borbón had sexual relations with Don Fadrique, her husband’s stepbrother. The idyll reached the ears of the king, who immediately summoned Don Fadrique. Both saw their faces in El Alcázar, engaging in a heated argument that ended in tragedy, as Pedro I stabbed Don Fadrique with a dagger until he died. Since the marble floor was still raw and unpolished, it completely absorbed the huge bloodstain, which can still be seen in the tile room.
The Courtyard of the Maidens
The Patio de las Doncellas is perhaps the most famous and photographed place in the Alcázar. According to legend, the Muslim rulers of Seville asked the Christian kingdoms of the north for an annual tribute of 100 virgin maidens, in addition to large amounts in cash. The reason why this room received this name over time is unknown. What is clear is that the 100 virgin maidens were a very popular myth in the Middle Ages that were widely used to justify and popularize the wars of the Reconquest among the Christian population.
It is known that the Reconquest did not mean the expulsion of Muslims from Spain, which did not take place until 300 years later. They continued to work as architects and craftsmen, giving rise to Mudejar art. One of the Castilian kings who carried out the most Mudejar reform works in the Alcázar was Pedro I el Cruel. And so, in the same Patio de las Doncellas you can see beautiful arabesque inscriptions on the walls that define it as “sultan of believers”. An example of political realism and adaptation to the terrain.
The Dolls Yard
The so-called Patio de las Muñecas also has its history. It is a patio decorated mostly with columns and capitals from the Medina Azahara palace that hide some small human faces. It is said that there are nine faces of the dolls and that discovering them without help brings a lot of luck.