The Royal City of Alhambra sits proudly on a hill above Granada. It is known as one of the most important architectural structures of the Middle Ages in Spain and the finest example of Islamic architecture left in the western world. Visiting on a cool, rainy day at the end of January it held our attention for the entire afternoon.
Water, rare and precious in most of the Islamic world, was the purest symbol of life to the Moors. Coming from the deserts of the south, the Moors celebrated water and its abundance in their new home.
The Alhambra was once a city of a thousand people and covers an area of over 32 acres. Its enclosed by more than a mile of walls reinforced by thirty towers, many of which are in ruins.
The Generalife was a retreat where the monarchs of Granada could relax, away from the bustle of the court. Yet close enough to the palace to attend to any urgent matters that might arise.
The Alhambra’s Palacios Nazaries, the Moorish royal palace, was built mostly in the 14th century.
I read that space in the Alhambra is open, like in the desert. The Courtyard of the Lions isn’t a house with a garden, but a garden containing a house. Refreshing water flows from the mouths of the twelve white marble lions.
The Tree of Life crowns the line of inscriptions written around the wall. This type of plasterwork motif spreading downward from an apex is an allusion to the inverted tree that sustains the celestial bodies in the heavens and buries its roots in paradise.
After an amazing afternoon at the Alhambra, our brains totally saturated with history, our bodies damp and chilled, we return to our slice of history – Hotel Casa 1800 Granada. Located at the foot of the Alhambra, in a charming Old Granadian house from the XVII Century, we are ready for a siesta.
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