Thursday, September 29, 2011

0070: Alhambra, Granada

Tomorrow I am off on a 20-day vacation throughout Spain!! Our first stop is Granada and therefore the Alhambra. From what I have read, there is simply no better place then the Alhambra to step back in time and appreciate the art and architecture of the Islamic people who ruled Spain for hundreds of years. This place looks absolutely beautiful!!

So, a few tidbits just to sound like I know what I'm talking about when I get there :-)

"On a hill overlooking Granada, the Alhambra—a sprawling palace-citadel that comprised royal residential quarters, court complexes flanked by official chambers, a bath, and a mosque—was begun in the thirteenth century by Ibn al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty, and was continued by his successors in the fourteenth century. Its most celebrated portions—a series of courtyards surrounded by rooms—present a varied repertoire of Moorish arched, columnar, and domical forms. The romantic imagination of centuries of visitors has been captivated by the special combination of the slender columnar arcades, fountains, and light-reflecting water basins found in those courtyards—the Lion Court in particular; this combination is understood from inscriptions to be a physical realization of descriptions of Paradise in Islamic poetry."
— Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism.

To supply the Alhambra with water for fountains and pools, the Nasrid king Ibn
al-Ahmar diverted the River Darro to the palace hill. The style of the Alhambra
reflects the Moors, who occupied Granada.
Photo: Shutterstock
"They" say this is the best-preserved medieval Muslim palace in the world. Of the early Alcazaba, or fortress, little remains but hulking red ramparts and a bell tower overlooking the fabled city of Granada. 
The Tower of Justice (Puerta de la Justicia) is the original entrance gate
to the Alhambra, built by Yusuf I in 1348. Photo: Wikipedia
As you go in you will first pass through public rooms where the sultans received visitors. Farther inside are the private quarters that were open only to the sultan, his family, harem, and servants (mostly eunuchs...). 

Palace of the Lions
Adjacent to the palace is the Generalife, where one of Spain's finest gardens spellbinds with sprays of water, terraces of roses, lily ponds, shrubs trimmed like crenellated castle walls, and shady cypress trees. 

It will be amazing to see such a site in person. I will of course post my original shots once I am able to. Until then, Ole Amigos!!

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