Seville, located in the Andalucía region of southern Spain, straddles the Guadalquivir River. Founded by the ancient Iberians, the city had a long history of conquest and settlement by the Phoenicians, Romans, and Visigoths, before a combined Arab and Berber army conquered it in 712 CE.
During its five hundred years of Islamic rule (between 712-1248 AD), Seville (Arabic: Ishbiliya) expanded beyond the confines of the Late Antique walled city.
The core of Islamic Seville included the area on the east bank of the Guadalquivir where the Cathedral (constructed on the site of the twelfth-century Almohad Great Mosque), the Christian Alcázar, and the medieval quarter known as the Barrio Santa Cruz are located today. The city center included the palaces and government buildings surrounded by residential quarters, each with its neighborhood mosques and public baths.
Under the rule of the North African Almoravids and then the Almohads, beginning in 1147 AD, Seville replaced the Umayyad city of Córdoba as the capital city of al-Andalus. During the course of the tenth and eleventh-centuries the city expanded beyond the confines of the Roman walls, requiring the construction of new walls and fortifications. A remnant of this period of refortification is extant at the city's once vibrant commercial port on the Guadalquivir River, the Torre del Oro (completed 1220 AD). This tower exemplifies the Almohad's approach to guarding the ports' southern end.
Seville's most famous Islamic monument is the Giralda tower, formerly the minaret of the Great Mosque constructed in the late twelfth-century under the Almohad caliph Abu Ya'qub Yusuf. It and the Patio de Naranjas that served as the courtyard of the Great Mosque, are all that remain of the Almohad monument, which was destroyed to make way for the Cathedral, which follows the footprint of the old mosque.
The Alcázar, or palace, includes within it parts of the old Islamic palaces. As it exists today it is mainly the product of building campaigns carried out during the rule of the Christian ruler Pedro I. The Alcázar is marked by its Islamicizing visual language, which is similar to what later developed at the Alhambra during the reign of the Nasrid Emirate of Granada.
Valencia, Rafael. 1992. "Islamic Seville: Its Political, Social and Cultural History." In The legacy of Muslim Spain, edited by S. K. Jayyusi and M. Marín. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 136-148.
----. "El espacio urbano de la Sevilla árabe." 1988. Premios de Investigacíon. Ciudad de Sevilla. 1986. Seville: Univ. of Seville, 241-93.
The Moroccan Pavilion was built for and opened at the Universal Exposition of Seville (Expo ’92). The main entrance is on Calle Max Planck, with Calle Charles Darwin to the north and Camino de los Descubrimientos on the opposite side. The pavilion was gifted to Seville, and now houses the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation (Fundación Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo), founded in 1998 by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Junta de Andalucía.
Designed by Michel Pinseau, the structure combines Moorish elements with a contemporary sensibility, combining glass facades with arcades, elaborate Maghrebi motifs, and a green tile cupola. Hundreds of traditional handcraft workers completed the zellij tiling, elaborate woodwork, intricate stucco that decorates both the interior and exterior.
The central courtyard on the ground floor is centered on a fountain basin, bordered by glass in the form of an 8-pointed star, surrounded by a marble edge, and elaborate zellij outlining the pattern. While the fountain fixture in the center is decorative, and not a working fountain, the glass around it creates the illusion of such. Through this glass, a working fountain is visible in the basement below. A glass sculpture descending from the ceiling in the basement created the illusion of water cascading from above.
While the basement is largely clad in marble and wood painted with arabesque motifs, the floors above are decorated with stucco, musharabiya, and carved wood. The carved, stained wood ceiling of the cupola is remarkably intricate.
The facility also has office spaces, exhibition halls, and a large marble terrace with a central fountain.
-Michael A. Toler, Archnet Content Manager
!5 September 2020
Hassan II Pavilion (Alternate)
Fondation des Trois Cultures de la Méditerranée (Translated)
Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation (Translated)