Story and photos by Manos Angelakis

Andalucía 2016 Alcázar Panoramic

Real Alcázar de Sevilla

My love affair with Andalucía started in the late 1950s, when I heard for  the first time Andrés Segovia play Enrique Granados’ Danzas Españolas  (Andaluza) on a guitar and then I heard Arthur Rubinstein play Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain (Noches en los jardines de  España), a symphonic impression piece for piano and orchestra.

Andalucía 2016 Spanish Guitar

At the time, the Athenian neighborhood of Plaka was the center of cultural life and entertainment for the “upper class” € Athenians, and a number of the bars and boîtes in the area were owned by expats from other  European countries. One of the boîtes I used to hang out at was  Arturo’s.€. Arturo, the owner, was Spanish and a classic Spanish guitar  aficionado and at the end of the evening -- around 2 or 3 in the morning -- he would take out his guitar and start playing. I always admired his virtuosity and I was hooked by the divine melodies!

Ever since, my dream has been to spend some time in Andalucía and visit the  gardens referred to in the de Falla work: Palacio de Generalife in  Alhambra; an unidentified distant garden in which there is an exotic  dance; and Los Jardines de la Sierra de Córdoba.

Andalucía 2016 Alcázar Gardens 1

A few weeks ago my dream was, in a way, partially fulfilled. On a trip to Seville, we visited the Alcázar gardens that, even thought it is not  mentioned as part of de Falla’s musical description of Spanish Royal  Moorish gardens, is a truly delightful way to spend time in Seville in a notable example of the Spanish patrimony, and revel in the emotional  impact of an exotic Andaluz setting. And during the visit, the music I  had loved for so many years played in my mind as we wandered through the spaces and trees.

Andalucía 2016 Alcázar Garden

The initial palace dates back to the time when North-African Moorish  sultans ruled over Andalucía, and is now a small part of a notable  monumental compound with numerous esthetically delightful buildings and  varied gardens and water fountains in a city and country full of  monumental buildings dating from the Arabic period to the Baroque era  and the end of the 19th century. In actuality, the current Moorish-style main building was built for a Christian king Pedro the Cruel of Castile who lived there with  his mistress Maria de Padilla, starting in the 1360s. The upper floor  of the Alcázar is still part of the Royal Residences when the King of  Spain visits Seville.

Andalucía 2016 Alcázar Moorish Arches

The beauty of the graceful arches, brilliant tile work, reflecting water  pools and diverse statuary is such that one could and should spend days  there exploring and admiring.

Andalucía 2016 Alcázar water fountain

In the gardens themselves the aroma of jasmine perfumes the atmosphere;  the tinkling of the water flowing through the air in the fountains lulls the senses; the breeze through the palm tree fronds cools the languid  air; and my mind was filled with striking beautiful Spanish harmonies  and rhythms.

It was a spellbinding afternoon in one of the most beautiful Andaluz settings.

With great thanks to the Tourism Office of Spain www.spain.info as well as the Tourist Board of Andalucía www.andalucia.com.

 

 

 

© October 2016 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.

 

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