International news over the last few days has been nothing short of devastating – in more than one place in the world. I feel unable to bring myself to write a chirpy, chatty travel post for what seems to have become my “travel Monday”. Instead, in an effort to remind myself and you dear reader that there is still beauty in this world, I’ve decided to offer you a photographic essay on a place which is breathtaking in it’s grace and elegance, the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
Constructed by the Moors as a small fort in the late 9th century, The Alhambra was renovated and rebuilt by the Moorish King of Granada in the 11th century and then completely rejuvenated and turned into a royal palace in 1333 by the Sultan of Granada. After the Islamic rule of the region was overthrown by the Catholics in the late 15th century it was appropriated by Christian rulers for a short time before being abandoned and left to crumble into disrepair.
It was eventually rediscovered in the 19th century by international scholars and travellers, of whom one of the most vocal in singing the praises of the Alhambra was American essayist and historian Washington Irving. Irving, who went to Granada from Madrid in 1828, was so taken with the palace that he requested access and was subsequently inspired by his experiences there to pen “Tales of the Alhambra”, a series of stories and sketches based around the palace.
By this stage the palace was already in a sad state, the victim of neglect, deliberate vandalism and some dodgy attempts at repair. Irving’s book was a significant contributor to bringing the palace to the attention to the western world and it is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Logically, for a fortress, the palace is set high on the side of a hill affording commanding views of the city below and with ornately beautiful gardens, multiple waterfalls and fountains and lush woods surrounding it.
We were there in January and even in the dead of winter the beauty of this place is inspiring. So much so that it has inspired not only Irving’s book, but various musical compositions, other literary works and has had heavenly bodies named after it.
I will certainly have to go back there as we were there just two days after my little accident in Pisa and my brain (not to mention the rest of me) was far to rattled to take it all in. As I was so injured and broken, my very clever daughter took all of these images for me. We hope you enjoy them.