Unesco-listed Alhambra in Andalusia is an architectural marvel

Unesco-listed Alhambra in Andalusia is an architectural marvel

The fortified Moorish palace of Unesco-listed Alhambra in sun-kissed Andalusia is simply amazing, writes Putri Zanina IT'S hard to begin this story on the Alhambra.

But it's easy to understand why millions have been awed by this 13th Century Moorish architectural marvel. The beauty of this fortified palace with exotic gardens is the pinnacle of Moorish art and architecture. For centuries, it has lured poets, filmmakers, architects and writers, the most famous of whom was Washington Irving, who immortalised it in his book, Tales Of The Alhambra. Irving, who lived in the palace in 1828 while writing the book, was credited for reintroducing this ancient site to westerners. The beauty of the Alhambra was such that even an eminent writer such as Irving did not believe that his writing would ever do it justice.

He wrote: "How unworthy is my scribbling of the place." Now, how can I do justice to this beauty called Alhambra, described by Moorish poets as "a pearl set in emeralds" and whose literal translation is "the red (female)", to reflect the colour of the red clay used for the outer walls. Through the ages, the red clay has turned a peachy hue but appears crimson orange when swathed in the light of the setting sun.

Over the ages, even mathematicians are mystified by the classical symmetry of the ancient tile patterns. These are hailed as remarkable for they noticeably contain 13 plane symmetry groups, perhaps more, or even all of the 17 mathematically possible symmetry groups, which is a tremendous feat in world architecture. Its mathematical precision is intertwined with the poetic beauty of water gardens, gurgling fountains, scented blossoms, and shadowy walls and archways that lead to reflecting pools. So it's not surprising that in modern times, more than three million people visit Alhambra every year.

That's more than 8,000 people per day. Imagine the size of the whole complex and the queue at its entrance and the crowd within its walls that snake around al-Sabika Hill. It overlooks the lovely city of Granada in Andalusia - the jewel of Spain with the spectacular backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Encapsulating Andalusian history dating back more than 800 years ago, the Unesco-listed Alhambra is indeed one of the most remarkable sights of Europe.

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