Why Art Counts in Your Life #5 : The Alhambra

I always wanted to see the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The art history books place it large in the annals of Islamic Architecture during the 800 year reign of the Muslims in Southern Spain. These gardens and quintessential castles were begun in 1238, and were conquered by the Christian Court of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1492, the year they sent Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic to discover the New World.  Wikipedia says this of its origins:

Ibn Nasr, the founder of the Nasrid Dynasty, was forced to flee to Jaén to avoid persecution by King Ferdinand III of Castile and the Reconquista supporters working to end Spain’s Moorish rule. After retreating to Granada, Ibn-Nasr took up residence at the Palace of Badis ben Habus in the Alhambra. A few months later, he embarked on the construction of a new Alhambra fit for the residence of a sultan. According to an Arabic manuscript since published as the Anónimo de Granada y Copenhague. This year, 1238 Abdallah ibn al-Ahmar climbed to the place called “the Alhambra” inspected it, laid out the foundations of a castle and left someone in charge of its construction…

Recently, Sondra and I went with Silke Modersohn from Tenerife to Granada to see it. We were so high going there. There was a peace and joy in us as we stepped into the atmosphere of this incredible place. It was like going into a perfection beyond normal time and space. On the top of a hill, overlooking the

The Gardens of the Alhambra

town of Granada, the gardens of the Alhambra spread over many acres. We were relaxed by the spacious views of the far off ranges of the Andalusian mountains. We entered the inner areas in which the fort and the residences were prominent. The living quarters of the sultans were the highlights.

The Topiary Hedges of the Alhambra

The gardens of nature prepared us for the gardens of architectural delight. Muslim artists were not allowed to depict human forms so much, so they developed a love for geometry and intricate decorative design. All their holy poetry of the Koran was developed in a calligraphic alphabet. They transferred this calligraphy to tile and plaster designs.

Alhambra Plaster Geometry

Alhambra Wall Design

Sondra Ray in the Central Court

It was a glorious day. We felt like royalty strolling through the Alhambra. The beauty of the place was everywhere we turned. Nowhere was beauty absent. Imagine living is such an atmosphere, where beauty abounds wherever you turn.  Fountains, Gardens, Vistas of Granada, Pools and Channels of Water form an oasis of architectural delight.

Alhambra – Fountain of the Lions

Alhambra Garden Motif

At the end of the day, after spending a few hours on our stroll through the Alhambra, our hearts were gladdened by this experience of perfection. Something went away with us. In this age of strife, there is always a place within which finds its perfection in the lofty expressions of art and architecture from days gone by. The people of these spaces sought the same Peace and Joy we seek, and everyone seeks. An ART LOOK is one into this perfection. It can be discovered in our everyday life, but we are aided by these wonders of the world that uplift our souls into the realms of a heaven on earth.


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