The Post my Teachers put on Google+

I’m flattered…. Agualivar was a wonderful experience . 

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Alcazar Palace and Gardens 

There was absolutely no way to see how enormous the Alcazar Palace and Gardens were from the outside.   The above overview gives you some indication of how surprising large the area is.  Pretty much all of the green area is within it’s walls. You could get lost in there. In fact, I might have gotten lost in the maze garden if they hadn’t left an opening that I don’t think was originally there.

The front wall surrounding the palace and Gardens is rather imposing, but looks a little phoney.  It reminds me of the Medieval Times restaurants.  However, there were constant lines to get in so I decided to have a look.

Fancy arches surrounding the large courtyard.

A courtyard still in disrepair that is not open to the public.

Many ceilings in these palaces are incredibly intricate.

One room was filled with huge beautiful paintings . 

Another life-size painting.

Another room was full of huge tapestries.

It’s hard to fathom how these were created.  They are very detailed and precise.

One room was a display of the intricate tile work.

The gardens were varied from plain to very elaborate . 

The English Garden was the most park like.

A fountain in the English Garden . 

A pagoda and pond.

Some areas did not have paths through tgem.

The labyrinth . 

The large fountain and pond as you enter the gardens from the palace . 

The covered walkway along the main way.  great views of the gardens from there.

There were several of these huge trees with beautiful flowers.

There were surprises around every corner of the gardens.

There was a lot to see.  I am sure I could have wondered for hours and not seen everything . 

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Upkeep and Restoration 

I was wondering about the upkeep of the Cathedral when this lady in pink came out and started dusting the alter.

The broom being used to sweep the dirt trails in the English Garden at Alcazar Palace is probably just like the one’s used by the gardeners when the palaces was built.

Repainting in a courtyard at the Alcazar Palace.Restoring bit by bit.

Many areas of the Cathedral in Seville were shrouded as workers restored iit beauty.

There was a lot of evidence that historical buildings were being cared for and restored.

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Under Our Feet

I find the intricate sidewalks, roads, floors, etc fascinating. So much work has gone into the surfaces upon which we walk as we stroll through historical areas.  Enjoy the pictures below and marvel at the work that went into creating works of art that are trampled on by feet as MD tires every day.

A hallway in Alhambra.
At the exit from Alcazar Palace.
A street.
Inside Alcazar Palace.
Another floor in Alcazar Palace.
A garden path.
I would have loved to watch the construction of some of these surfaces.
Looks like a throw rug.
Hopscotch anyone?
I took many more pictures, bbut I think this is enough to give you an idea of the surfaces I trot upon.

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Courtyard Irrigation 

There were channels throughout courtyards that brought the water to the trees growing there. 

A great way to utilize rainfall and keep water ffor pooling in the courtyard. 

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To The Top Of The Bell Tower

The bell ttower on the Cathedral in Seville is open to visitors.  It is called the Herald a Tower (or El Giraldillo).

It’s a long climb up the 100 meters (330 feet) to the top, but well  worth the effort. Most  of the ascent is on ramps that  alternate between being steep and more gently sloped.  There is only one flight of stairs at the top.
The stairs were well lot and showed the wear caused by the masses of people who have climbed them.

There were many little balconies on the way up the tower where you can get views of the Cathedral unavailable from other vantage points.  The disrepair was evident.  There is job security for generations to come for those working to restore this historic building.

Those are citrus trees in the courtyard below.  There are many such courtyards in the city and similar trees grow alongside many of the streets.

An interesting piece of the Cathedral’s history is that it once the minaret of the mosque that stood on this site.  Many such religious buildings were destroyed by the conquering Christians and Cathedrals were built on the site in a show of power.

A view of the city from the top .   Not sure what that one towering building is.  I saw it up closer from the bus station when I left the city and didn’t see any signs to indicate what its purpose is. 

That is a huge bell.  They rang at 3pm when I was up there.  Very loud!

Another bell.

Overlooking the Cathedral and another view of the city.  

An incredible complex.

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I was wondering why so many Spanish buildings are built around tiny courtyards.   Our guide at Alhambra explained.   Yes, another Arabic influence.  Being from the desert where it is too hot to be outside, they built with open space in order to be able to enjoy the outside.  These courtyards were mostly for the use of the women who seldom left the house.

Some of the most beautiful of the palaces courtyards were for the women.   Arabic Sultans were allowed 4 wives and as many concubines as they wanted.  In one of the palaces at Alhambra, there was a beautiful courtyard with 4 elaborately decorated doors.  These doors leading to the quarters of the wives.

There were all kinds of courtyards . 

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Seventh Heaven 

I  don’t think I have ever given much thought to why we say we are in seventh heaven when we are feeling very happy.  Our guide in Alhambra explained.  She pointed out features in the palaces, such as stars with 8 points and rings of 8 stars, that were representative of the 8 tiers of heaven in Arabic beliefs.  She said they believed that, upon your death, you travel through 7 levels before you are fully prepared to enter the 8th and final level of heaven.   So, when we say we are in seventh heaven, what we are saying is that we are as close to being in heaven as we can get while still alive.

Evidence of this Arabic influence in Southern Spain was everywhere.  I especially noticed it in and around Christian Churches.   

8 pointed stars were evident many places.  This star was in a courtyard.

Another courtyard star.

Some stars were a little more subtle . 

In the Cathedral courtyard . 

Christian Churches were often built on sites that were one Muslim places of worship.   As in other parts of the world, when the Christians conquered territory in what we now know as Spain, buildings used for worship were repurposed or destroyed and Christian Churches were built using the old foundations.  Often the conquered people heloped build the Churches and snuck symbols from their beliefs in the decor.

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The Sound of Water

The Sound of Water is everywhere in Spain.   

Water fountains in sidewalks.

Water fountains in garden nooks.

Water fountains  in palace courtyards.  Note the 8 split points.

 Water fountains are even to be found in important rooms in buildings.   Like the one above in one of the palaces at Alhambra. 

Courtyards often have a water fountain at their center. 

Again it is the Arabic influence. Coming from the desert, the Arabs found the sight and sound of water fascinating.  

This fountain is in the Ladies Garden in the Alcazar Palace in Seville.

The sound of the fountains is very soothing.

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Courtyard of the Lions at Alhambra 

As promised, there is a story to be told about this courtyard. 

As mentioned, it was very unusual for Muslims to depict living creatures for fear of creating idols.  They didn’t even depict Allah except by writing his name and by ensuring perfection in their buildings and decorations.

This courtyard was influenced by the Sultan’s exile and time with Romans experiencing their elaborate sculptures. The pillars represent the palm trees of a desert oasis.

This fountain has 12 lions which, by the way, were out for renovation for 10 years.  The courtyard has also been completely returned to its original splendor.  At some point the lions were all painted different colors (shudder) and a flower garden was planted in the Courtyard (shudder again).

These lions all have different facial details.  No 2 are exactly alike. The Sultan who had this courtyard built was influenced by the Roman statues and buildings he encountered when he was exiled.   He satisfied the Muslim clergy by making the lions into beasts of burden by having them carry the fountain on their shoulders. In this way, it was very unlikely that they would be idolized. 

The 4 trenches from the fountain divide the courtyard into 4 sections that represent the 4 parts of the world.  The 4 trenches represent the 4 rivers that are part of Arabic beliefs.  One flows with water, one with honey, one with milk, and one with wine.

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