vendredi 4 avril 2014

PUERTA DE BIB-RAMBLA

Climbing the steep Cuesta de Gomerez in direction of the entrance to the Alhambra, you might find suddenly on your left a stunning gate hidden in the vegetation which stands on its own, far from any wall or piece of architecture but surrounded by trees and vegetation, like a piece of Angkor estranged from the jungle of Cambodia.



It took me a while to learn its origin. Its name says it all : this gate of Bib-Rambla was originally situated in the market place of the same name, in the center of the city. When the market place was refurbished, the gate avoided destruction and was relocated there. What you might want to know also is that this gate name was originally Puerta de las Orejas (Gate of the Ears) because it is said that this gate was adorned with ears, hands, and other limbs of robbers and bad men which were displayed there for the amusement of all when they were caught and punished by the justice. 

vendredi 28 mars 2014

TOWER OF COMARES / HALL OF THE AMBASSADORS

The Tower of Comares is located at the end of the pool of the Patio de los Arrayanes, on one side, and on the other side it faces directly the Albayzin hill. You can admire it best from the Paseo de los Tristes, directly under it, or from the Mirador de San Nicolas.

The Tower of Comares seen from the Paseo de los Tristes

Due to its stature, the Tower of Comares hosts the biggest and most important room of the whole Alhambra: the Throne Room, or Hall of the Ambassadors, which refined decoration contrasts sharply with its austere and severe exterior. 


The walls are decorated all over with vegetal and geometric patterns and inscriptions, all in plaster, ceramic and wood. The plasterwork praises God and the Sultan, Yusuf I, who built it in the middle of the 14th century. The ceiling is worth a look as well : it is a great wooden framework representing paradise, which, according to the Qur’an, is formed of seven superimposed skies.

The Hall of the Ambassadors is connected to the Patio de los Arrayanes through the Hall of the Boat (which Spanish name Sala de la Barca is a deformation of the Arabic baraka, meaning luck) and its somptuous sculpted vaults and doors.



From inside the Hall of the Ambassadors, looking to the Patio de los Arrayanes, through the Hall of the Boat


Such an impressive room was the perfect venue to welcome Ambassadors, enemies, subjects and allies in order to impress and stun into submission.

mardi 25 mars 2014

ALCAZAR DEL GENIL

The Alcazar del Genil is an Almunia, a palace of the nobility located outside the city walls, among orchards and gardens. It is said that the Aixa the mother of Boabdil, the last King of Granada, was living there until the city was taken by the Catholic Kings.




The Alcazar is now home to the Fundacion Francisco Ayala and is free to visit (from Monday to Friday, 9h-15h).