Monday, July 16, 2012

Alhambra ... treasure of harmony & light

A paradise on earth.  That is what the Nazrid monarchs of the 13th Century intended when they created the palaces of the Alhambra on a hilltop at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in Andalucia, Spain.   And they surely succeeded to create a place of infinite dreams.  A place filled with deep mystery.

A complex of palaces that shimmers like silver under the moon and stars, yet it glows like copper when the sun rises.  What fascinating events and conversations could those richly embellished walls, arches and columns have been silent witnesses to?  Poets have described the Alhambra as a ruby on the temples of the city of Granada.  In the Arabic tongue, alqala al hamra means the red palace.  Red is certainly the colour that the Alhambra takes on at its most intense during sunrise and sunset.

Alqala Al Hamra

The complex today consists of the Alcazaba (the fortress), the Nazrid Palace (the official court, baths and harem), the Generalife (the summer palace with breathtaking aromatic gardens and fountains) and the palace of Charles V, which was added many centuries later.  To me, the Alhambra is one of the most breathtaking architectural marvels on the planet.  This is one man-made space where all the elements conspire together perfectly and powerfully to spark creativity and inspiration.  The air, the light, the infinite views, the architectural detail, the exquisite carvings and embellishments, the gardens, the sounds, the fragrances and the sense of silent mystery that lingers.  I am, and always will be in awe.

Alhambra Detail
 Gardens of the Nazrid Palace & Generalife

Nazrid Palace Interior

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