Sunday, September 26, 2010

Christopher Columbus was HERE "X"

Alhambra (Granada, Spain)---After catching the morning train, the 2 hour trip to Granada, Spain was a lovely ride through Spain's countryside. Views of olive groves, windmill farms and greeneries passed us by at about 100mph. Not the fastest European train but it was fast enough plus clean and comfortable.

The city of Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. With an elevation of 2,400 feet above sea level, yet close to the Mediterranean coast, I knew we were traveling up the mountains when my ears started popping (and on the way down, our water bottles got very “skinny”.)

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex constructed during the mid 14th century by Moorish rulers. Personally, after seeing a lot of ancient fortresses and palaces, I never thought anything this magnificent still existed. The Palaces were so well preserved and rich, I truly felt I was in a place of royalty. 

The room that Columbus pitched his idea to sail to Americas

Close up of what is on the walls...detailed engraving!

"X" Where Columbus stood!
 The last Muslim ruler surrendered here in 1492 without the Alhambra being attacked when the forces of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella took the surrounding territory with an overwhelming force of numbers.

It was also in this setting that Christopher Columbus received Isabel and Ferdinand's support to sail to the "New World". In this room they authorized the expedition of Columbus, who was given the name of "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" by the monarchs. One guidebook another American was reading out loud said that Ferdinand, knowing the world was round but thinking it was much larger, thought he was a crazy sailing captain with this hair-brain idea. HOWEVER, Isabel saw value in this exploration. AH HA!...womankind to the rescue.

After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was "discovered" in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers and fully restored. It is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country's most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions.

I bought the book "Tales from the Alhambra," by Washington Irving that I plan to read on passage across the Atlantic. So, let the photos show some of the amazing sights and GO THERE if you are ever in Spain!

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