Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Change of pace

The Lion Court in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain. One interesting thing about the Alhambra is although it is esthetically stunning, the materials used are actually cheap - mostly plaster. The palace was built when Granada was a declining city state in the 14th and 15th centuries, when the glory of the Ummayad caliphate based in nearby Cordoba was just a memory. They couldn't afford pricey materials.

The great Moorish palaces of the 10th century, like Medina Azahara outside Cordoba, were vastly more lavish according to historical accounts. But they were destroyed by marauding armies of Islamic extremists from Morocco in the early 11th century. The material wealth was lost to ignorance and violence long before Granada fell to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.

The story is told in part here: The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

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