Real Alcázar, Seville, Spain
A magnificent marriage of Christian and Mudéjar architecture, Seville’s Unesco-listed palace complex is a breathtaking spectacle. The site, which was originally developed as a fort in 913, has been revamped many times over the 11 centuries of its existence, most spectacularly in the 14th century when King Pedro added the sumptuous Palacio de Don Pedro, still today the Alcázar’s crown jewel. More recently, the Alcázar featured as a location for the Game of Thrones TV series.
The Alcázar started life in the 10th century as a fort for the Cordoban governors of Seville but it was in the 11th century that it got its first major rebuild. Under the city’s Abbadid rulers, the original fort was enlarged and a palace known as Al-Muwarak (the Blessed) was built in what’s now the western part of the complex. Subsequently, the 12th-century Almohad rulers added another palace east of this, around what’s now the Patio del Crucero. The Christian king Fernando III moved into the Alcázar when he captured Seville in 1248, and several later monarchs used it as their main residence. Fernando’s son Alfonso X replaced much of the Almohad palace with a Gothic one and then, between 1364 and 1366, Pedro I created his stunning namesake palace.