The moorish conquest of Europe and particularly of Spain has been systematically faded out of history and portrait as a brief sovereignty with a slight influence on the indigenous population and perhaps in not such a positive way. However one peak through streets of Andalusia turns everything on it’s head.
During the medieval ages, while the rest of Europe was in despair, Andalusia was a streaming light under the rule of the moorish empire. While Londoners were living in wooden houses, the cosmopolitan population of Andalusia was privileged with running water and roads that illuminated during night time. Over 70 libraries were to be found all across the region that each contained more books then the royal library of France. Public baths were a norm and agriculture was flourishing more then ever. Andalusia was streets ahead of the rest of Europe specially when it came to medicine, astronomy and mathematics. After the Catholic reconquest of Andalusia it was intended to eliminate any sign of moorish presence in the region. However they couldn’t bring themselves to abolish Alhambra.
From the stunning Alcazar of Seville to the Great mosque of Cordoba, exquisite islamic architecture is to be found all across Andalusia, but Alhambra is definitely the cherry on top. It’s a palace and fortress constructed by the kings of Granada under the theme of ‘Paradise on earth’. The meaning of the Arabic word Alhambra (the red lady) is an allusion to the colors of the buildings and wood around it.
Alhambra is a triumph of mathematics and aesthetics and a dazzling show of ornamentation. The technology used in it’s construction was remarkable at it’s time. It’s a mysterious place full of secrets and legends in every corner and although you might not know the genius mathematics behind it you can definitely sense the proportion and balance in every room. We had quite a few jaw dropping moments while wandering around the palaces.
If you ever find your way to Spain I highly recommend heading south to Andalusia. While Madrid is the heaven for museum lovers and Barcelona Gaudi’s treasure land, Andalusia is like no other place in Europe. It’s truly is the ornament of Europe and puts any other sort of architectural embellishment to shame.
Due to the excessive amount of daily visitors it’s highly recommended to reserve your tickets before you get there. A normal entry for adults costs 14€ which is an absolute bargain for such a huge and outstanding landmark. You’re likely to spend a good 4 hours there so pack yourself some snacks and refreshments before you head off.
We didn’t get much time to visit Granada itself but by only visiting Alhambra I was totally blown away and would be back in a heartbeat.