Sunday, October 5, 2003

Spain - Granada

Granada...until few months ago, I barely knew of its existence.
The focal point of Granada, in my opinion is of course Alhambra...although it really is steeped in history. This is where so many cultures existed and co-existed. One can almost feel the bygone spirits through one's skin.
Near Banuelo
Once old Arabic bathhouse...
We passed by this structure almost twice because the entrance is so unassuming and the structure is so small. Once we found, we entered drinking in the fragrance of the faraway incense and the still moist bathing rooms inside...
Unfortunately, the Cathedral was closed, but we still got the view of its beautiful outside.

The door leading to Cathedral. It was rather strange. Here was the door, in the middle of the block, seemingly an entrance to a small street in front, but an entrance of Cathedral as well.     

I am not obsessed with doors, but I had to show the view of Cathedral through these doors and the small street where I bought postcards...

It is hard to believe that this structure is part of Alhambra, but I suppose the kings can be somewhat tasteless and put this totally out of place palace in the middle of beauty of Moorish Castle.
Palacio de Carlos V
Alhambra sits on top of one of the mountains of Granada. From there, it is possible to the most stunning view of Granada.

View from Alhambra
This is the first site that greets visitors entering the Moorish part of Alhambra. I thought time travel is entirely possible when one walks into Alhambra.  
Alhambra, entrance
This is perhaps what the inhabitants of Alhambra saw without setting a foot outside the building. How different is this view from the ages past?

View from Alhambra
If I was introduced to Moorish architecture in Sevilla, I was buried in it in Alhambra. Despite the endless tourists, noises...I heard the building calling out to me. 
Behind the intricate shades, would there have been women of harem? I wanted to step inside the building.

The pond reflected what I knew to be women's quarters. Imagine being one of the few (or many depending on points of view. It seemed few surrounded by toursits, but...) inhabitants here cooling the summer heat by looking at the reflection. 
I heard that this intricate plaster design in bluish hue is inspired by waterfall. I could definitely imagine it. The whole building of cascading waterfalls.

View from the other side. One can't blame me if I would like to live in a place such as this. I almost believe I have lived in a place such as this. Perhaps I was one of many women of the palace in Moorish kingdom.
No matter where I looked, I felt like I was dreaming. I was told that this fountain structure is rare since it is of animal design. Moorish builders did not use animal symbols, but this had been donated by Jewish community.

I was rather unhappy that I did not read much on Alhambra prior to arriving there. We had a wonderful tour guide, who could amazingly enough, speak over 3 languages fluently... 
Alhambra includes the palace of Granada´s Moorish kings, which was principally under the Nasrite rulers Yusuf I (1333-54) and Mohammed V (1354-91). The latter was built by Mohammed V in 1238 in a shimmering red stone, which led to the description 'Calat Alhambra' (Red Castle).

Granada laid in relatively quiet ruin...not the palace itself, but the city...for hundreds of years until it was re-discovered. No one thought to vandalize or destroy it due to its beauty. 
We passed through the mazes of plants and quiet passageways and encountered this beautiful scene.

Alhambra Gardens
How had someone managed to create garden such as this in time long ago?
I don't believe it is even possible in this age of technology.
Alhambra Gardens
The picture speaks for itself.
Can you imagine yourself in it? 
The garden was leading to another. 
It was absolutely quiet!         

Alhambra Gardens
Alhambra Gardens
It might be hard to see, but this is view of Alhambra at night, all lit up, seen from the hill of Albaycin quarter.

Gypsies...We visited the Albayzin quarter to experience the oldest Moorish quarters with its narrow streets and then off to see Gypsy dancing.
It was impossible to believe they do not need any training to dance with such fluidity and passion. 
If guys can dance...!
Yes...they can in Gypsy world.


Books about Granada and Alhambra:
At Least One Balcony: Learning to Live in Granada 
Andalusia (Art and Architecture) Alhambra

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