Besides this having seen lots of Documentaries and Books about the greatness of what the Moors had created during their 700 years rule in Andalusia, Southern Spain -"I wanted me some of that!".
Off I flew to Madrid and a bus journey later I was living it 'Moorish' style. I started off in Cordoba with the Great Mezquita (Mosque) with its almost endless rows of columns recreating in the minds of the Moors an oasis of Palm trees in the deserts of their homeland. Even on my last trip to Spain (Barcelona) I was keen to try and squeeze in the great Mosque, but it was way too far (or so I was told) , but this time I just had to walk thru it's 600 odd columns and feel it for myself -I truly have had a glimpse of Paradise.
Next, I moved from Cordoba the once capital of Al-Andalus (the Islamic kingdom of Spain) to Granada (the last Muslim strong hold in Europe) to see her equally (if not more) impressive La Alhambra Palace Complex.
Here is a panoramic photo of the Alhambra as seen from the old quarter of Albaicin (itself an amazing site to see) - Click on the above image to see it clearly.
Upon arrival at Granada I made my way straight to the Alhambra to try and see it and I was almost destroyed when they told me that the tickets for the day were sold out and so too were the reservations for the whole of next week. However, I found out that they do sell a limited amount of tickets everyday over the counter but I had to be willing to get up really early and camp in the lines for hours for it. So it would be!!!... I had not come so far to go back without seeing what most people think is the greatest Islamic Palace in the world.
Infact, I decided to skip on a few other sites in Granada and camp for the tickets of the late night visit of the Palace too. And after a little more than an hour of standing in line I got my first glimpses of this marvelous complex.
Heres a pic from the night trip of the Patio of the MyrtlesThis is the Patio of the Lions, a place that has featured in countless paintings by artists from around the world and many many stories. It surely is one of those places that dreams are made of. Sadly the Lions of the Patio (which usually hold up the fountain in this centre) were missing, removed to be resorted. Hopefully I will make another visit in 2009 to see them back : )
And again early next morning after about two hours of waiting I was in again.
The Palace is covered with intricate geometric patterns on the walls, floor and roofs in line with Islamic iconographic tradition. Infact some of these patterns reminded me of the paintings of the great dutch painter M C Escher (later I found out that he was infact highly influenced by the tile patterns of Alhambra) I shall end with blog entry this image showing the two sides of the Patio of the Myrtles showing how the Moors conceived the idea of Paradise on Earth thru the use of Architecture, Landscape, Space and Water.
PS. If you are planning to make a trip to La Alhambra please book online well in advance.
Check out an whole album of Photos from this trip below ....