A call to prayer breaks the silence of the day in Grenada southern Spain the beautiful ethereal tone and lasting tribute to the Moors religious legacy here and the Evans drifting song echoes across the perhaps the most striking and tangible testament to Spain’s Islamic past the mighty Alhambra fortress where our journey reaches its end For Yasmin Maymir history and faith are two of the most important elements in his life. Give him just a few minutes and he can transport you back in time.
As a Muslim one of the most important things that Islam tells you to do find knowledge you can´t, without knowledge you can ´t go anywhere. My father he was born in Cuba and my mother in Italy; that was in the 1980s. they come and visit Granada specially they sense the really sense there at the Islamic history that was here and this attached them so we move here when I was 3 years old.
So when you grow up and left some interests within you, you go read, you go research you are surrounded by history you’re surrounded by beautiful heritage as well. When I was about 22 years old I start reading, so I start the sort of being their tour guide and teaching them about what year was this build, who built this and this point I start learning more and more me myself about all this history.
So welcome to Alhambra that gate called Babel Hamra will give us access to the Royal Palaces and the Medina. The World Heritage Site place in Granada and visited by 10,000 people per day, almost 2 million people a year. So here we are in one of my favorite place in Alhambra is the Palace of Komares and especially from this spot you can see the perfect length between the plants, the water and the building. That’s the plan of the Islamic architecture, the three elements are inside this, and the position where the pool is located is precisely in the place where the reflection of the tower can be seen exactly in the water, and it has a philosophy and a meaning behind it we imagine the sultan walking by and he suddenly look at his strong tower he will look down and it will see the reflection in the water of this strong tower but now the water has these waves, and the tower will looks like it’s crumbling down he will suddenly remember “Wow nothing is strong, nothing is eternal in this life, only God is eternal” when you actuallywalk around you have kind of the same feeling, because even now by walking in here you Wow look at our Muslim ancestors, there were so experts into the decoration, into the architecture, and everything and you may start to feel this proneness of this place, it’s good thing but still not get attached to it.
Oh okay we’re just here for a short time so let’s appreciate it and go on. So here we are in the palace of Muhammed V, he is the son of Yussuf I and it’s actually the most luxurious palace in Alhambra, as during his time Granada kingdom was one of the wealthiest kingdom in Spain. So you can see all the marble columns and the beautiful and perfectly symmetric architecture, is actually well orientated south, north, east and west And one of the most interesting part of here is the technique of architecture that they use. You can see in every column they are having a layer of lead, it’s a layer of lead in the columns and it is being putted it in every column, in the top and in the bottom.
That layer of lead will absorb any seismic movement or any expansion and contraction of material during summer and winter and will prevent the cracking of the estructures. so we are one of the rooms of the Palace of Muhammad V, the room of Abencerrajes and the beautiful thing of this room is actually the dome they use a technique coming from Baghdad the technique is called “Muqarnas” in arabic. At the same time they give a beautiful shape of the star which is the transition from the square shape of the room to the dome shape and in the style you have all the sixteen windows and in the point that we have around this room speaking about how the light goes through the windows and give beautiful colorful reflections so that’s why we know those window used to have powerful glass stained glass and all the poem and the star blends with the speaking of the constellation, and then you look up and you look a constellation full of stars.
I’m very grateful to be able to do this job because you are able to bring in front of the people some history they wouldn’t realize before, and they are able to see and touch with their own hands to see with our own eyes and make the kind of realized the place value you can already see in the world you have a lot of decorations, vegetal motives and calligraphy Arabic letters, Arabic phrases. There are more than 10,000 all around Alhambra and for many many years people didn’t know about the meaning, so today we have the pleasure to be with Juan Castilla the researcher that has been spending the last 10 years translating the whole of the Alhambra and he is going to teach us about the Arabic inscriptions in the walls.
Hi Juan, how are you? A pleasure to meet you. Juan: Nice to meet you. Yasin: Wow, I am very impressed entrying this palace, this is absolutely beautiful. The one that you have pointed out here says “There is no blessing that does not come from Allah” Or for example this one can be translated into something like “The happiness continues” Or over here we have a small inscription that we call The Motto of Nasrid Dinasty. We know that at the turn of the century this dynasty was responsible for constructing the palace of a Alhambra It literally says “There is no victor but Allah” Right here is one of the inscriptions that i found most interesting here the same pattern is repeated. It says “The power is God” then “The glory is God” then “The kingdom is God” So what we have here is a phrase that is repeated consistently throughout this frieze.
We know because there was advisor or a counsel for the High Court from Muhammad V who himself left the written testimonies that he composed this poem. Well we know that this is an alcove, it’s similar to the other nine that are here in the room of the Komares and we know that there was a space that was reserved for the visitors or counselors receiving people who were ambassadors from the other kingdoms.
What draws my attention the most is that at the very entrance of the alcove there is a phrase that says “The one who speaks well should be respected” And on the other side above the alcove there is another inscription that we refer to as an inscription of judgment that says “Don’t talk too much and you’ll be at peace” They had left advice or warnings for the ambassadors on the walls. The inscriptions here really are beautiful and tell us so much about the people that once lived here.
When you go inside Alhambra is very special feeling because you it really has this this feeling in yourself that you leave your world outside Alhambra when you enter the palaces, wow you are in another world, no worries When you go out your words are waiting for you outside there. there you really feel still the presence of these Muslims inhabitants of the Muslims grenadians Muslim andalusian that were living here I actually have the strong intention to connect again with our ancestors just to know about where you coming from and that will actually make you more present in the day by day.