Sunday 2 November 2014


The Moorish influence is to be found quite readily in Southern Spain and often very subtly - so ingrained into the culture that most of us would consider what we saw as typically Spanish.  In Granada the influence is obvious.  Well it would be really.  The Alhambra Palaces are the manifestation of the influence of design upon the city.  It was a delight to walk around.  And over.
Plazas and public spaces in the modern city were beautifully decorated in smooth stone, marble and in repeating patterns.  
In the old quarter of the city, they were still repeating patterns, but somewhat more complicated...and despite the millions of people that must visit, still not worn smooth. The job of pavement constructor in Granada must require a maths degree and a whole lot of patience!

Even some of the shops have floors that you'd really rather hover over.  

Beautiful, imposing, impressive doorways showing off wealth and strength give way to lovely refreshing courtyards and yet more patterned flooring.....this photo was a stroke of luck..I was 'chased' away by a security officer who closed the door within the door as soon as he'd seen me off.  He was polite, I was apologetic (after all, it was a gesture of nosiness) was friendly!

And then of course, the Alhambra we are in the Sultana's courtyard...of course her ceilings and walls had to bear pattern for her enjoyment....

Isn't it fabulous.  The Alhambra is a World Heritage Site and immensely well looked after, considering the millions that visit. is immensely well looked after. Which means that despite my delight and awe at everything I saw, it was all very tidy, very groomed and very erm, planned.  I recognise the need and the reason....but well....i felt it was a rather 'homogenised' experience.  
It didn't stop us from taking advantage of empty spaces and smooth stones! What strikes me about this picture is the definition of Mr D's arms and the lack of it in mine. Telling.

I bought a handful of postcards showing pattern and colour inside the palaces that we couldn't visit (book in advance -WELL in advance, the website is very good). As we had walked up from the city to the Palaces, we decided to walk down too.  And look at the amount of pattern that greeted us as we reached level ground.  

I'm expecting to be inspired to produce art any minute now!


Helen said...

Oh, I want to go now!!! Beautiful palaces, fabulous patterns - can't imagine having the patience to lay all that flooring, especially the one that looks woven - but I can and do admire it. Love the latest shadow photo! Now, go make art...

misteejay said...

Are you making art yet?
Lovely photos Julia and the floor patterns are amazing and so well kept. It is a little over 2 years since London hosted the Olympics and much of the newly laid paving is already in a sorry state.

Toni xx

mamapez5 said...

I love this place. I have a folder of photos of patterns on walls, floors and ceilings, from Granada, Cordoba and Seville. Love them all. Kate x

Nannie4 said...

The patterns are amazing! I don't think that I have ever seen so many patterns in one spot! Thanks for the virtual trip to Spain. :)

505whimsygirl said...

I just wrote a great comment and it didn't get published!! I love this post. Thank you for sharing the photos of all the different floors; it's amazing all the detail that goes into each one.

Great photo of you and the MR. you made me laugh with your comment about definition. I don't want to even imagine what a photo of my shadow would look like!!


Elizabeth said...

Brilliant photos, Julia, and informative post - in your own refreshingly inimitable style too! Clearly, we don't look down nearly enough - though I fear that here all we would see is chewing gum embedded tarmac!

Re your comment on leaf gathering, here's Monty's method in a nutshell. Rake leaves into a nice pile, stuff leaves into a black bin bag to about two thirds full, stab around the bottom of the bag to create drainage holes, roll down the top (empty) third of the bag so that rainwater will dampen said leaves, store bag in a dark corner of the garden out of sight and leave nature to take its course. End result will be gorgeous leaf mould to use as a mulch next year.

You have the method now may the force be with you :) Hugs, Elizabeth xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I wish I could have stopped by to see this earlier. I always LOVE photos of places I'm sure I'll never see. You took some marvelous ones, especially of the patterns. But that last one was over the top with beauty.

I often look down because I'm so short. I see patterns all the time, but mostly they are of cigarette butts and trash. We are not civilized like the places you saw. thanks for taking us with you on this voyage.

Neet said...

I love Moorish architecture so thanks for these photos. Interesting flooring at the very beginning Julia. Am sure we could all work some lovely texture from these shots.
Hugs, Neet xx

Lisca said...

I'm so glad you liked Granada! We live in Granada province. About 50 min drive from Granada city. We love it too. Earlier this year we stayed with a friend who lives in the old Albaicin. That was fab!
CU Wednesday!

Shoshi said...

Lovely series of pics of patterns, Julia. We simply loved Southern Spain when we visited, and all the fabulous Moorish sights.