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ARABESQUES 2





PLACETA CARVAJALES : my favourite view of the Alhambra

Most people go to the Mirador de San Nicolas and they are right : it's indeed grandiose, with the Sierra Nevada, the sky and all... But if you want a really great view of the Alhambra, without the bother of a lot of people around you, and see the monument as a huge ship on the crest of a green wave of trees, you need to find this Placeta Carvajales. You won't be disappointed.



The place in itself is small and slightly abandoned to its fate :





PALACIO DAR-AL-HORRA : all cleaned up and ready for a new Alhambra route

It's probably one of the best kept secret of the Albaycin... but not for long. After three months of restoration, the Palacio Dar al-Horra will reopen to the public and will be included in an offer of visit joined with the Alhambra.

It was one of the best kept secret of the Albayzin due to the difficulty to reach, and second because it was free ! Just like the Bañuelo on Carrera del Darro, the restoration implies a cost which might lead to a "symbolic cost of entrance".

Be aware that the pictures following were taken in 2012. So the Palacio might offer a slightly different scene from now on.




Dar-al-horra means House of the Lady. The lady in question was Aicha bin Mohamed, who was the mother of Muhamed XII, best known as Boabdil, the last sultan of the emirate of Granada. She is the one who is supposed to have said to her son, after the fall of Granada : Weep as a woman what you couldn't defend as a man.


Taken over by the Christians after the Reconquista, the palace was converted into a convent and remained so until the 20th Century. However, many of the Arab arts details, frescos and engravings have been preserved.



 Last but not least, it has a lovely little garden. Don't forget that palace during your visit.





Monumento a Isabel la Católica y Cristóbal Colón

1492 is not only the date of the end of the last Muslim kingdom on Spanish's soil. It was also the beginning of an adventure which would make an American continent appear on the maps.



A few weeks after the conquest of the city of Granada, Isabela met with Cristobal Colon and agreed to finance his project to sail West, in quest for India. Everyone knows what happened next : on October 12, 1492, Columbus reaches America.





To commemorate it, this huge statue was commissioned by the city of Granada. It first stood on the bank of the Rio Genil (where is now the Fuente de las Granadas) but now is located right in the middle of the busiest part of the city, at the intersection of Calle Reyes Catolicos and Gran Via de Colon. Fitting, isn't it ?

The pedestal is decorated with two bas-relief, one of the battle of Velez-Malaga against the Moors, and one of the signature of the treaty between Colombus and Isabella, and adorned with the names of all the people present at that time.







El BAÑUELO : enjoy it while it is free !

During the Muslim era, Granada had countless hammam or Arab baths. El Bañuelo, in the Carrera del Darro is the last one to have survived the Reconquista in the city itself (there are other ones which have been preserved in the Alhambra), because it became part of a private mansion. Built during the 11th century, it is well hidden behind an unpreposterous facade :



The bañuelo has been recently restored and in order to cover the costs of the restoration and conservation of the place. In consequence the entrance, which was free until now, will now be charged for a "symbolic cost" from the 1st of September 2014.

So, until 31st of August 2014, you can still enjoy the place for free, from Monday to Sunday, 9h30-14h30 and 17h-21h. 


As in Roman times, the Arab baths were a public building where people could gather to pass time, meet and relax, but also had a religious meaning because this is where they could wash their sins. They counted three to four rooms usually, one room for hot water, one for cold water and one for warm water.


The ceiling of hammams are dotted with octogonals and star-shaped skylights in order to lessen the weights of the vault, let the steam escape and let light enter.

LORCA y GRANADA en el GENERALIFE

On July 22nd, the Generalife hosted the new edition of the Lorca and Granada in the Generalife Gardens festival... 

A rather long title behind which is hidden a Flamenco festival, covering all aspects of Flamenco and especially dedicated to the part Federico Garcia Lorca took in the development of this art.

Here is a photo of the premiere : 


The Lorca and Granada in the Generalife Gardens programme was created in 2002 by the Government of Andalusia Ministry for Culture and Sports, as a major cultural offer for Granada’s summer evenings, each year paying tribute to Lorca’s work through flamenco theatre and dance.

For more information : click HERE.


PATIO DE LOS ARRAYANES 2

A new visit to the Alhambra, a few photos more...

You have to admire the perfect alignment of the sunlight with the lines of the pool. 


Towards the Torre de Comares and the throne room :  



CUARTO DORADO

The Cuarto Dorado (or Golden Room) is the second place you will visit in your tour of the Alhambra, right after the Mexuar. You actually enter a small courtyard, with a fountain in the middle, where the sultan received its allies in the 14th century.

On the north side is the impressive facade of the proper "Golden Room" whose decoration was ordained by the sultan Muhammad V.



However, the place owes its name to the beautiful woodword ceiling in the south-side chamber, which is a work of the Catholic monarchs after the conquest.






MEXUAR



The Mexuar is your first step in the visit of the Palacios Nazaris. Its name is derived from the Arab word Maswar, the place where the council of Ministers met with the Sultan. It was also the place where the Sultan dispensed the justice.



The construction of the place is thought to date from Ismail I (1314 - 1325) but has been altered a lot since then.




At the other end of the room, on your way to the Cuarto Dorado, you can see a little door leading to the Oratory, with its windows directed to the Albayzin. This is an oratory where the Muslims went to pray five times a day. One of the inscription on the wall comes from the Quran and says : "Come to pray. Don't be one of the negligent people."


PUERTA ELVIRA

One of the landmark of Granada. Located at the beginning (or the end, depending your way) of Calle Elvira, this is a remain of the walls of Granada in the Muslim period.


The name Elvira actually come from the pre-Islamic name of Granada : Iliberris.





Fundation Rodriguez Acosta

Have you ever wondered what was that strange white mausoleum on the southern side of the same hill that is host of the Alhambra? It is a white building, which looks like the little sister of the Alhambra, built a few centuries after by a crazy doctor. But it's better than that!
Fondation Rodriguez Acosta, top left corner, seen from the Campo del Principe.
Jose Marie Rodriguez Acosta was a Spanish painter from Granada. Scion of a wealthy family of bankers, he studied painting and specialized in nudes and natures mortes. However, in 1914, when he came back to Granada, he started to build the work of art for which his name will be really remembered.

IBN TIBBON

Entering the district of the Realejo, just after the Calle Reyes Catolicos, you'll meet the statue of one of the famous son of the ancient Jewish quarter : Judah Ibn Tibbon.



Born in 1120, he was a physician but especially a translator. This statue is especially dedicated to his talent as a translator, a skill which was highly needed in a cross-cultural andalusian world. However, after the Almohad conquest of Al-Andalus, Ibn Tibbon fled to France. He died in Marseille in 1190.

Due to its low pedestal, the statue is not exempt from the ravages of tourism, and it needed a clean up a few months ago.