To me, the Alhambra in Granada represents the pinnacle of Moorish architecture and design in Spain.
The Alcazar in Sevilla, on the other hand, demonstrates "Mudejar" craft -- the skill of Muslim artisans who remained in Spain after the Christian reconquest and used their skills (especially architecture and decorative arts) in the service of Christian monarchs and a Christian sensibility. Thus, for instance, a building that was built for the Christian king Peter I apparently contains Arabic inscriptions that describe Peter as a "sultan".
Personally, I prefer what I consider to be the pure Moorish aesthetic at the Alhambra. While I admire the fact that kings like Peter respected the Moorish traditions enough to incorporate their styles into his palace, the Sevilla Alcazar still seems somewhat ersatz to me.
(Peter himself had an interesting life. I find it interesting that he was known by the epithets of both "Peter the Just" and "Peter the Cruel". Guess it depends whether you agreed with his positions or not!)
The gardens of the Alcazar palace are extensive, but there just weren't very many plants or design elements that caught my interest or struck me as noteworthy. In fact, looking through all the Alcazar photos I took, I could only find two more garden-related photos worth posting:
|Lantana camara (popularly known just as Lantana) is treated as an annual plant where I live, but I was surprised to learn that it is actually a perennial hardy to zone 9b (according to Dave's Garden). Southern Spain had the most beautiful Lantana plants that I had ever seen, including this specimen in the Alcazar gardens. According to North Carolina State University, unripe Lantana berries are extremely poisonous, so please be careful with this plant! There are also reports that the leaves can cause dermatitis in people (and can be poisonous to cattle that eat large quantities of them) and Lantana camara can apparently also be very invasive, especially in warmer parts of the U.S. So while I like this photo, I guess I would discourage post people from planting Lantana in their yards.|
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