Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Next Stop: Granada

Andalucia in southern Spain is one of the most mountainous regions in the Iberian penninsula. Situated in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada above Malaga lies the jewel-like city of Granada, a now thriving modern metropolis that nevertheless reverberates with the echoes of its rich and multicultural past, where once Jews, Moors and Christians lived in harmony, in a paradise of agricultural and societal abundance. The first picture is of Granada's former Jewish quarter, as seen from the parapets of the Alhambra Palace.

Conquered by Isabel and Fernando in 1492, Granada fell into Christian hands and Isabel ordered a cathedral built on the site of the Moorish mosque. The cathedral is a marvel of pinnacles and Gothic tracery; in its royal chapel lie the sepulchre of the Catholic soveriegns and of Queen Juana of Castile and her treacherous husband, the Archduke Philip. This picture show Juana's sepulchre.
The Moors held the city for over 500 years; however, it was not until the last 300 that they began to build the Alhambra. Subsequent generations of Moorish caliphs added to the palace, amplifying its halls and apartments, and constructing a summer palace for the king and his royal family. This picture shows the Alhambra as seen from the Nasarid summer palace.

The beautiful gardens we see today are from the 16th century; the Moors, with their respect for water, a scarce resource, had orchards and vegetable gardens in the areas where now the modern visitor can bask in sumptuous fountains and greenery. However, the interior patios of the palace, such as the famous Patio of the Lions, were adorned with fruit trees and flower pots, designed to imbue the palace with coolness and fragrance in the heat of the summer months. One of the seven wonders of the world, the Alhambra is truly a spectacular testament to the ingenuity, grace and tenacity of the Moors' dominion in Spain.


Marg said...

I would love to visit the Alhambra at some point in time! Looks gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know how much I'm enjoying the travelogue of Spain and your wonderful photos. I dream of going to Spain one day. It looks like your trip was great!

C.W. Gortner said...

Oh, thanks so much Marg and Frances. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I'll post more this coming week.

lizzy J said...

Inspiring, if I lived in a place like this i would do nothing but paint the scenery.