Friday, January 15, 2016

The Alhambra

Over the next few weeks of winter weather, I'm going to treat you to some garden pictures, at least on the weekends.  These are from the Life Long Learning Series I'm giving this month and next, but I'm drastically simplifying the story for these blog posts.  We're going to start with 'The Alhambra', in Granada, Spain, the oldest of all the gardens we've ever visited.

The gardens of The Alhambra are all about water - pools of water, running water, and fountains.  Created in the years following 1200 A.D. by the Moors of the Nasrid dynasty, these date from the centuries when Moors occupied southern Spain.

The Alhambra is actually a large fortress, on top of a hill overlooking the city of Granada.  But within the fortress are several beautiful courtyards, and more water features than you can count!

These gardens really aren't about flowers, though when we saw it there were Roses in many locations.  Instead they are about providing a peaceful retreat, in which the water is a symbol of purity and life.

And all this water had to be brought several miles by canal, and pumped through the hill-top fortress to provide the basis for the gardens.  It's not surprising that in a dry land the royalty would like to retreat to a place like this!

Gardens are recorded as early as 5000 years ago, and originally had a very strong spiritual meaning, in both Christian and Islamic traditions.  The pools, fountains, flowers and fruit trees all reflected 'Paradise'.

This is one of the most beautiful courtyards of The Alhambra.  In Christian tradition early gardens go back to the Garden of Eden; in Islamic tradition, the central fountain reflects the divine gift of water in the desert.

In any case it was a stunning place that let us experience the closest thing we've come to the historical routes of today's garden traditions.

In fact, The Alhambra is even more about architecture than gardens.  It is a World Heritage Site, and is considered the best example of Moorish architecture in Spain.

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A quiet day here after my tiring 2 hours skiing yesterday!  The temperature crept above freezing for awhile, but we didn't get the freezing rain that was forecast.  Radar shows another Alberta Clipper headed our way tonight - I wonder how much snow we'll get?

14 comments:

  1. An exquisitely beautiful place. I am reading a book at present on UNESCO heritage sites and this place is of course featured.

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  2. Oh these gardens are gorgeous! I love your photos and look forward to more.

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  3. I do so long to go there. What time of year was your visit? May perhaps?

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  4. Looks like the Alhambra is a fabulous place to explore!

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  5. What a beautiful place to visit. It was a nice reprieve from cold and snow to see sunshine, heat and flowers. :) The gardens are stunning.

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  6. More excellent photos and places to see. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I got propositioned by a young Spaniard in this place years ago when I was younger and my husband and children had fallen behind on the walk. Even so, I will always remember this beautiful place and want to go back with my good camera.

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  8. what a beautiful place!! in your images, i love the hedges although i don't usually. in my yard, i prefer my shrubs to grow naturally and when i prune them, i always try to follow the natural shape!!! here they are really pretty!!

    the architecture is stunning, this is a place i would enjoy visiting!!!

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  9. As a teen I lived in Spain and toured the Alhambra several times. Your beautiful photos bring back that wonderful time so many years ago.

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  10. As usual, your photos are wonderful. They really give you the feel of the place.

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  11. I missed this post until now - how fabulous! Thank you!

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  12. These are so beautiful, and I can just imagine how tranquil too. I love all the green, and their gorgeous decorative tiles reflecting in the waters. Amazing how we've always been drawn back to recreating that Garden of Eden in our own spaces.

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  13. Alhambra is an amazing place! I visited years and years ago before I had a digital camera.

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