As places to live, castles are cold, uninviting places.  That’s probably the reason the gardens at the Alcazar are so magnificent.


They’re also large.  The picture above shows maybe 5%.  This picture gives a better idea of the size, though it also shows only about half of the gardens.



I really don’t have the words to describe what we saw, so I’ll just show some pictures.



Parts of the gardens are still ruled by kings.



Columbus is here, imploring the king and queen to finance his crazy dreams.



Lots of the garden is formal, and meticulously cared for.  Here are some of the topiaries.



The castle makes an impressive background…



…but some things require a closer look, like these pigeon niches in an ancient wall.



The Alcazar floor-plan is square with towers at each corner.  Three towers still exist, and are all different shapes, round, square, and octagonal.  They were built at different times for different purposes, and evolved, just like the rest of the castle.  My favorite tower was not one of those, though.  Instead, I loved this one.



It’s another topiary, but this one is a sort of tree house, or tree castle.  Here’s the entrance.



If you were an adventurous kid, and who wasn’t, you could climb up inside of this living castle, and rule the world.



I can understand why the entrance is blocked, but it’s kind of a shame that no kids live here to enjoy this creation.

No one lives here anymore, except maybe the castle cats.



It seems only Siamese cats live here.  Maybe they were the favorite of the monarchs and these are descendants of feline royalty?

The current decorative gardens are where the Muslim rulers grew their vegetables.  They were irrigated by the Albufera mill in the river just below the Alcazar.   For some reason, the mill is the other place inhabited by the Cordoba cats.



The monsoon season continues here, and we’re seeing the river like few others have.



It’s running high and muddy, and the rain keeps coming.

Still better than snow, though…