DEC
2019
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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 4.1.20
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH
All photos courtesy the authors

AND ON TO GRANADA (part 2)

The design includes six palaces, five of which were grouped in the northeast quadrant forming a royal quarter, two circuit towers, and numerous bathhouses. The decoration within the palaces comes from the last great period of Andalusian art in Granada.

The Nasrids freely used all the stylistic elements created and developed during eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Peninsula and included Christian influences. This Nasrid style included the Caliphate horseshoe arch, the Almohad sebka (a grid of rhombuses), the Almoravid palm, stilted, arches, and “stalactite” ceiling decorations.

palace

  We entered the Patio de los Arrayanes, which has a large reflecting pond set in the marble pavement. The green of the pond and the myrtles along its edges provide a contrast to the white marble of the surrounding courtyard. We entered the Palacio de Comares the ornamental gateway, at the back, into the hall where the sultan held audience with his vassals.

palace

This brought us out into the Court of the Lions, which is the main courtyard of the Nasrid dynasty Palace of the Lions, formed by a complex of palaces, gardens and fort, right photo. The fountain, when working, spouted water from the mouths of each of the twelve lions in turn.

The Nasrid style includes decoration inside the buildings as well as out, using materials such as tiles, carved alabaster and marble stone, and exotic woods. The carved calligraphy on the arch is from the Palace of the Lions.

palace

After the Reconquista, much of this decoration was filled in and whitewashed over, and the various wars caused significant damage. In the 1930s, reconstruction was begun, which opened arcades that had been walled up, re-excavated filled-in pools, replaced missing tiles, and completed inscriptions that had been damaged. The ‘stalactite’ vaulting is in the Hall of the Abencerrajes. The name of the hall reflects a legend according to which the last sultan of Granada invited the Abencerraje chiefs to a banquet, and massacred them here.

palace

The importance of water is reflected in the many fountains and other water features in the palace. It was also used to supply the many gardens in Alhambra. This shows the view of one of the interior gardens from the harem, which contained baths and showers with hot and cold running water. After completing our tour of the palace interior, we were free to stroll around the larger gardens;

palace

We walked partway down the hill, where we were treated to a very, very late lunch at the Parador Alhambra, located in the complex. After lunch, we walked to the pick-up area outside the complex to meet our coach. Because of rough weather in the Mediterranean, we did not return to Almeria for a night cruise -- instead we travelled to our next port, Malaga. The Harmony V made the trip without us, and we rendezvoused in Malaga for a late supper. After hearing from the crew about the rough trip, many were grateful to have missed it.

NEXT: TO BE CONTINUED...

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