Washington Irving sums up my feelings about Alhambra:
“I gave myself up, during my sojourn in the Alhambra, to all the romantic and fabulous traditions connected with the pile. I lived in the midst of an Arabian tale, and shut my eyes, as much as possible, to every thing that called me back to every-day life; and if there is any country in Europe where one can do so, it is in poor, wild, legendary, proud-spirited, romantic Spain..”
I’ve seen much in two years worth of expanding horizons. The Taj Mahal. Agra Fort. The intricate, never ending rooms and corridors of the City Palace in Udaipur. Lodhi Gardens in Delhi. Alhambra is a combination of all of these. Palace. Fortress. Gardens.
Construction began in the 14th century, for the last Muslim Emirs to rule over the city during the Nasrid Dynasty. By 1527, the Roman monarchs had driven the Moors out of Spain and at least one palace, Palacio de Carlos V, was erected in a Renaissance style.
In a creative writing capacity I’m all about the senses. As I explored each palace, gasped at the Generalife’s gardens, textures sang to me. I dreamed of having Alice’s ability to drink a potion that allowed me to grow bigger, so I could reach the ceilings and run my fingers across the patterns and carvings. Then I did along the walls – the curve of my index finger tracing the Koran in Arabic script.
Nestled on al-Sabika hill, above Granada, Alhambra offers not only unparalleled architectural wonders, but stunning views of the city and surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.
As Irving suggests, simply close your eyes and slip into a past of legend, court intrigue and empires conquered and lost…