Every leader would want to leave legacies. Some prefer management revamps, or policy changes. Others focus in building infrastructures, or transforming the economy. And also true for many, monuments were built for one reason or another. Oftentimes, it was the monument that would be permanently associated to these leaders.
In my recent trip to southern Spain, I managed to accommodate a few days to visit some of these monuments – all of which were stunningly beautiful in their own respect. There were many places to visit within a short time, and only a few can be included.
We arrived in Seville after a long journey with an overnight stop in Doha. Sevilla airport was small and the public transports available were busses and taxis. We took a taxi. As the driver spoke only Spannish, communication was interesting. It got more interesting when the taxi swiftly negotiated the narrow cobblestoned street that fit only one car with some clearances. And I didn’t see any signage saying that it was a one-way street. They knew it anyway. But then, you start to wonder, was he going to your actual destination? He did.
We finally got to Miguel Manora 2, precisely as the address said, only to realize later that it means No 2, Miguel Manora. There was no sign saying that it was Suites Murillo that I’ve booked on-line. So, I had to ask around, and the address was confirmed by the nearby shop. I called the number on the booking sheet and a lady answered and asked me to wait for 5 minutes. A friendly lady arrived promptly with everything that I needed and took us upstairs to the studio apartment that we booked. She warmly welcomed us and excited to show us the best part of the bargain – a nice view of the cathedral from the window.
The room was neat and nicely furnished and the view was great. What more can you expect. Despite being tired, we went for a walk and found a kebab outlet and had our welcome dinner.
Every evening after attending the conference sessions, we walked touring the narrow cobblestoned streets in the historic parts of Sevilla. In certain ways, it reminded us about one of our favorite city in the world – Istanbul. The narrow streets, the kebab outlets, the tram… While Istanbul is beautifully blessed with the Bosphorous, Golden Horn and the surrounding seas, Sevilla has a river running across.
There are many interesting places in Sevilla, but since I was busy with my work, I had little chance to explore the city except of a routine evening walk.
In Sevilla, there were two major monuments – The palace (Real Alcazar) and the Cathedral.
“Reales Alcázares de Sevilla” or “Royal Alcazars of Seville” is a royal palace in Seville, Spain, originally a fort during the Muslim rule in Andalusia. It is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe and was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as World Heritage Site along with Seville Cathedral and General Archive of the Indies. Originally, it was constructed in the 10th century as the palace for the Muslim Governor for the region. Today it is still in used by the Spanish royal family.
The palace is huge with delicately crafted decor, vast gardens and courtyards. The concept is somewhat similar with other palaces in the Andulusian cities. It has calligraphy, wall decor, gardens with greens and flowing water, and bright courtyards.
In Real Alcazar, the garden is really beautiful, with plenty of citrus trees, dates and variety of flowers and mighty trees.
The gardens are nicely separated for nice walk, any time in the day or night.
Typical of an Andalusian palace, the walls are decorated with calligraphy and tiles of common motives.
The Seville Cathedral
Founded in 1403 on the site of a former mosque, the Cathedral, built in Gothic and Renaissance style, covers seven centuries of history. Majority of the mosque was demolished to make way for the cathedral. The Giralda, which was formerly the minaret of the Great Mosque was turned into a bell tower after the Christian king conquered Seville in 1248. The only other part of the cathedral that preserves the memory of the Great Mosque is the Patio de los Naranjos on the north, a marvellous interior garden.