The Garden of the Moorish king

Having lived in Seville for almost ten years I thought I knew pretty much everywhere in the old centre, but a few days ago while walking up Calle Enladrillada in the Macarena neighbourhood I stumbled upon a quite large open space with a short street frontage, now being used as a resource by the local community, with spaces for recreation and also vegetable gardens.

It turns out the place has a history, too. It’s known as the Huerta Del Rey Moro (the orchard or kitchen garden of the Moorish king), and was once the private garden attached to the Casa del Rey Moro, now the headquarters of the Fundación Blas Infante, which has an entrance in Calle Sol. Legend has it that in the period after the Reconquista of 1248 it was the home of an exiled Moorish prince, from which it gets its name. The house was later a “patio de vecinos (neighbours)”, and is thought to be the oldest surviving example in Seville. The garden itself fell into disuse, and despite the house and garden being declared a site of cultural interest in 2001, was earmarked for redevelopment.

At present it’s in a kind of legal limbo, occupied and utilised by the local community, but still with the threat of being used for housing if funds become available. Although in need of refurbishment, I think it would be a shame if one of the few green spaces in this part of the city were to disappear, and with it a piece of the city’s history.

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