But for a turn in the weather (and a tip from HB) I might have missed this jewel! It was so hot yesterday that I just felt like heading for the sea to escape. But today the temperature fell to 32°C and there were beautiful white clouds high up in the sky that brought occasional relief from the blazing sun, just enough to make visiting the gardens of the Alcázar possible and therefore a visit to the palace itself worthwhile.
Having been built by the Moors as a fortress early in the 8th century, it was transformed into a palace for the Arab rulers later in the same century. This is the same vintage as the Alhambra in Granada. After the Christian reconquest the palace was much transformed as each succeeding régime put its mark on the place... but you can read the history elsewhere.
It is a magical labyrinth of patios, passages and palaces, where the style changes as you turn each corner, reflecting its thirteen centuries of existence. The gardens are extensive and contain almost as many different styles from straight alleyways lined with trimmed hedges to semi-wild "natural" looking patches. Unfortunately the water organ was not on view today.
An afternoon well spent — and no sunburn!
(Click on the thumbnails for larger views.)