Friday, May 1, 2015

Lapis Lazuli

The Nasrid palaces. That's what you come to see. The Spanish have done a fantastic job of preserving these things, which is why tickets are so limited. The palaces are pristine, considering they're 800 years old, had to deal with reconquista Christians inhabiting and altering them, and saw the French destroying things in the nineteenth century.

Again we see water as the theme here. This pool makes the place look much bigger than it is.

The artworks is fantastic.

Lapis lazuli, a gem more valuable than gold and found mainly in the mountains of Afghanistan, was ground up and used to paint the palace. The blue color is stunning. Below you can see remnants of the blue paint on artwork made to represent stalactites, as legend says that the Quran was revealed to Mohammed in a cave.

The inside of the palace was incredible. I can't even imagine what it looked like before the paint faded. It was stunning as it was.  This was the ambassadors hall, where the sultan received visitors. On the walls you can see the Arabic phrase meaning "the only victor is God" and various other Quranic slogans.

The ceiling was meant to represent the seven levels of Heaven in Islam. You can see the star shapes below.

It was time to go to the Courtyard of the Lions, named for the fountain of lions. This is particularly interesting because it is a depiction of living creatures, normally forbidden in Islam. They justified the fountain by saying that these are "imperfect" depictions created by man and not God, therefore not suitable for worship. One theory says that the craftsmen who created the fountain were Jewish; another claims that they were Christian. Guillermo thinks that neither of these are true; that in fact, they were Muslim craftsmen judging from the style. Regardless, it is an interesting fountain.

The Palace of the Lions was the private residence of the royals. It is also where the harem was located. It was as impressive as the other palace.

Again with the stalactites


The star shape - symbolizing Heaven

The views were spectacular, too

One of the few places where the original stained glass remains

Up next, the Christians return...

No comments:

Post a Comment