Thursday, June 28, 2018

The shining jewel of the Alhambra's crown that is the Palacios Nazaries (Photo-essay)

If I were to choose one place in Spain that I absolutely had to see while I was in the country, it would have been the Andalucian city of Granada's UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alhambra.  And if there's one section of the palatine hilltop city that was the last stronghold of the Moors of Iberia which I would never be able to forgive myself if I missed out on spending time in, it would have been the Palacios Nazaries which was designed to resemble a veritable paradise on earth and really does come across as a extraordinarily exquisite space.

My German friend concurred, and so much so that she booked us tickets for the Alhambra months in advance of our Spain trip which required us to be outside the Palacios Nazaries when it opened for the day at 8.30am.  Although some might see this as a rather anal move, our reward for getting there bright and early was our getting to wander around this shining jewel in the Alhambra's sizeable crown before it got really crowded, with the added bonus coming from our fellow visitors appearing to be awed to the point of silence or, at least, struck with a sense that it was better to whisper or talk in low tones rather than at a louder volume while we were within the Moorish royal palace's beautiful walls...

 A cool hint of the wonders to be found as one 
proceeds deeper into the Palacios Nazaries

In the Patio de Arrayanes (Courtyard of the Myrtles)
named for the two fragrant myrtle hedges 
on either side of the rectangular fish pond
Photo taken from the other end of the courtyard,
half an hour later (and after it got more crowded) 
The phrase "only Allah is victorious" is repeated 9,000 times
in Arabic calligraphic script throughout the palace
The Patio de los Leones (Courtyard of the Lions) named for
the famous fountain at its center that's ringed with 12 marble lions 

Some of the incredibly intricate stucco work 
in the palace resembles stalactites!
The talented men who worked on this largely 14th century 
palace complex deserve to be called artists, not craftsmen
If there were no limits to the time I could spend in the Alhambra,
I'd have happily spent more time in the Palacios Nazaries' idyllic
Partal Gardens which were built upon the ruins of an older palace...

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