Back Home and Memories of Alhambra

I thought I would be back to regular blogging by now but after a wonderful holiday without any computers and feeling pretty exhausted it is taking me time to even wish to blog something.
It will take me a few more days to get back into the swing of things but I will tell you about one of the highlights of the holiday - 

Sometimes dreams really do come true and a visit to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain fulfilled a dream for me- it truly is one of the most exceptionally beautiful and magical places I have seen. 
Thank you to my darling Colin !!

The Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, built by the Moors in 1238, is thought by many to be one of the world’s greatest monuments to love.

It is a World Heritage Site, a culmination of the best Islamic art and architecture in Spain. 

It is a jewel of architecture, comprised of wood and plaster carvings enclosed by pools and sensuous gardens all created by Andalusian  and Moroccan craftsmen.

The views of the Alhambra against the backdrop of the  mountains of the Sierra Nevada were breathtaking. 

The poet Federico García Lorca was born in Granada and had a life-long love affair with this city.

A reading of Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra, who lived and wrote in Granada in the 19th century, is a good introduction to the spirit of the palaces and gardens.

He remarked, “It absolutely appears to me like a dream; or as if I am spellbound in some fairy palace.”
Despite the hordes of tourists I still could feel the magic and inspiration in this place.
I took so many photos and there are only a few here.

The two short videos at the bottom of the post replicate most of the main  parts of the palace and gardens that we saw.
"There's perhaps nowhere else in the world where gazing upon walls, columns and fountains is an exercise so similar to turning the pages of a book of poems,"
( Juan Castilla).

Here is a place where poetry speaks in the first person, endowing architecture for the first time with its own voice.

The motto of the Nazrid dynasty – "There is no victor but Allah" – is repeated hundreds of times on walls, arches and columns. 

This is a place where power and paradise sit side by side and it made me think that religions and all faiths truly should give gratitude for all the beauty they share and how I wished our divisions could be healed.

Isolated words like "happiness" or "blessing" recur, seen as divine expressions protecting the monarch or governor honoured in each palace or courtyard. 

Aphorisms abound: "Rejoice in good fortune, because Allah helps you," and "Be sparse in words and you will go in peace."

The poems are all at eye level and all of the poetry is by Ibn Zamrak, one of the last great poets of Muslim Spain.

The charm of the poetry lies in its style, how it anthropomorphizes the various parts of   the palace. The poems can be seen everywhere : on the fountains, inside  niches, and on windows. 

 For example, on the top of one of the lookouts,  the mirador of Lindaraja, reads, in part,
 "All the arts have enriched me with their own special beauty and given me their splendour and perfection… when you look into my splendid depths, you believe that the full moon has abandoned her mansions to live in mine and keep here her dwelling place… 

( the photo of this one is not  mine as there were too many people queing up!! -)

I look over a lovely garden; no eyes have ever beheld anything similar to it… Surely I am in this garden an eye filled with joy and the pupil of this eye is veritably my Lord."

The music in the second video is the wonderful musical tribute by the composer Tarrega called Recuerdos de Alhambra which you can listen to and fall into the Alhambra's spell, just like I did. 


Fran said...

Oh Phil!!! I love the Alhambra! I love Andalusia period. I have been to southern Spain twice, both times during Holy Week, what an experience.

You had great hols - and Casablanca too. Amazing!

travellermimi said...

nice, quite a few facts abt Alhambra
& your pictures really depict the magnificient architecture of the place!

Alhambra palace tour