Thursday, October 23, 2014


One of our major tours in Seville was of the Alcazar, an Arab fortress originally built in the 1360s by Muslim craftsmen.  It has seen various additions and modifications over the years and now serves as the palace for the Spanish royal family whenever they spend time in Seville.  Its architecture is very characteristic of the Moorish style, with very complex lines and an absence of representational art.  I found it challenging to photograph.

I'll start with a couple of photos of a lovely courtyard that give at least some indication of the predominant architectural style.

Although the arches above are not purely circular, most of the other archwork in the Alcazar is semicircular or even horseshoe-shaped, as in the following.

A close look at these latter photos reveals that, while they are intricately patterned, they are wholly abstract, without any representational qualities.

I found myself trying to capture multiple layers of archwork--arches within arches--and perhaps partially succeeded in the following photos.

You could call these abstracts of abstracts.

Following is another shot of a portion of a room that also illustrates the intricate, abstract patterns and archwork that appear throughout the palace.

And here is a detail shot of some of that abstract work.

Perhaps this is highly stylized Arabic writing . . . and perhaps not, but it is representative of the amazing degree of craftsmanship that 650 years ago had gone into both the planning and the execution of this UNESCO World Heritage site.



  1. Dear John
    I would like to congratulate you on these fine photos. You have excellent appreciation for arts and culture and it shows through your detailed selections of the Alcazar.

    1. Thanks you, Hashim, for your kind words. The Alcazar is amazing.