A Word a Week Challenge: Arches – Spain and Morocco

Sue’s challenge this week is to post photos of arches which we have admired enough to capture on camera. Here are some of mine.

There are many arches at the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

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Here is a very leafy one in the lovely gardens there.
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Look at the intricate workmanship surrounding this beautiful arch.

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Taking a furtive peep through a doorway in Morocco, this is what I saw.

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They really do have the best arches in Spain and Morocco.

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The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, has the most stunning arches I’ve ever seen. The red and white double arches consisting of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch, rest on 856 columns, which were crafted from jasper, onyx, marble and granite.

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Of course we can’t think of Spanish architecture without mentioning Antonio Gaudi. A giant mirror cleverly reflects this arch on the roof of the Casa Mila in Barcelona.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection of arches for Sue’s theme. To see more bloggers’ pics, just click here.

Entrancing Entrances for Jake

This week, Jake has requested entrances. Here are some of my favourite ones from our trip to Spain and Morocco. I thought I’d start off with a few palaces.

This is an entrance to the Alhambra Palace in Granada. It was originally constructed as a fortress in 889, and was converted into a palace in 1333.

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The Royal Palace in Fez, is one of the most elegant buildings in Morocco. Unfortunately for us, it was not open to the public, so we didn’t get to pass through these beautiful golden gates.

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Here is the entrance to the ‘Palacio Real de Madrid, the largest palace in Europe and the official residence of the Spanish Royal family. It has 2,000 luxuriously decorated rooms, so plenty of space for visitors. 🙂

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The Alcázar of Seville, is also a royal palace, and was once a Moorish fortress. Today, the Spanish Royal family use only the top floors of the palace.

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Here is the entrance to the Park Güell in which the Gaudi House Museum stands. Gaudi lived here for twenty years, until his death in 1926. In 1963, it was turned into a museum, which houses many of his sculptures, paintings and drawings, as well as furniture designed by him.

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His greatest and most ambitious work, La Sagrada Familia is still under construction over a century later. It was started in 1882, and when objections were raised as to the extended completion date of the Basilica, Gaudi replied, “Don’t worry, my client isn’t in a hurry.” 🙂

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Last but by no means least, is the entrance to Rick’s Cafe, a popular landmark in Casablanca. It is housed in a 1930’s mansion, which has been totally refurbished to recreate the bar made famous in the Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman movie classic, ‘Casablanca’.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed my entrances for Jake’s theme. To see his wonderful graphics and links to more interpretations of the theme, just click here.

Līgo Weekly 220w Challenge – words to bring the world together: Spain

I’m joining in the  Līgo Weekly 220w Challenge – words to bring the world together, the theme of which  is ‘Spain.’  Click here to read all about it, and see how you too can enter this exciting challenge.

Hola hermoso España!

Spain is a country renowned for its architectural excellence, which is an exotic mix of early Moorish influences and surreal modernism.

In Barcelona, the astounding imagination and genius of Antoni Gaudi, is everywhere. The Casa Mila, better known as La Pedrera, has an undulating stone facade and wrought iron decoration on the balconies and windows.

One of the sculptures on the roof.

A huge mirror cleverly reflects another part of the roof.

The Casa Batllo, is nicknamed ‘The House of Bones’ because of its bone-like pillars, and skull-like balconies.

The giant Basilica, La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s most important work, was started in 1882,

and is still under construction.

The stately Royal Palace in Madrid, is the largest in Europe.

The Alhambra Palace in Granada is really stunning.

The detail is exquisite.

The Mezquita, in Cordoba, begun in 600 AD, is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Islamic architecture. The vast hypostyle hall, is absolutely breathtaking.

There are 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite.

The richly gilded decoration of the cathedral in its centre, is dazzling.

To see more entries, just click on this link.

Architecture…. Hola Spain!

Jake’s Sunday Post theme, architecture, made me think of all the different and varied styles of buildings I’ve seen on my travels. I could of course do a real hotchpotch of  a post, and show you examples from many countries around the world, but I decided to limit my photos to Spain, a country renowned for its art and architectural excellence. Spanish architecture is an exotic mix of early Moorish influences and surreal modernism.

Talking of surrealism, one cannot visit Barcelona without marvelling at the astounding imagination and genius of Antoni Gaudi. Here is the Casa Mila, better known as La Pedrera, meaning ‘The Quarry’. It caused quite a sensation when it was being built,  because of the bold form of its undulating stone facade and the wrought iron decoration of the balconies and windows,

This is one of the sculptures on the roof of the Casa Mila.

and this huge mirror cleverly reflects another part of the roof.

The design of the beautiful windows of the Casa Batllo, is astonishing. This house was nicknamed ‘The House of Bones’ because the balconies at the lower floors, have bone-like pillars, and those on the upper floors look like pieces of skulls.

Surely his absolute masterpiece though, has to be La Sagrada Familia, ‘la cathédrale des anges’, which was started in 1882, and when we were there in 2004, was still not completed. This is the original old part.

and here is the newer construction. Which do you prefer?

The Royal Palace in Madrid, is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, although now it’s only used for State ceremonies.

The palace has 135,000 square metres of floorspace and contains 3418 rooms, making it the largest in Europe. The interior design and decor and was just breathtaking. Just take a look at all those chandeliers!

I could just imagine myself sweeping down this magnificent staircase, not in my jeans and t-shirt, but in a sumptuous, bejeweled ball gown, and with a diamond encrusted coronet on my head. 🙂

Of course, Granada is famous for its absolutely stunning Alhambra Palace. I posted some pics of the gardens yesterday for the green theme..

It was so delightful to walk around this beautiful place.

Some of the detail was really exquisite,

and around every corner, there was something new to admire.

In Cordoba, we visited the Mezquita, the Great Mosque-Cathedral, which was begun in 600 AD, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Islamic architecture. When I walked into this vast hypostyle hall, I was absolutely dumbfounded.

I felt so tiny as I gazed up at those 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite.

The richly gilded decoration of the cathedral in its centre, defies description, so here’s a photo instead. 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of the architecture I saw on my trip. To see more interpretations of Jake’s theme. just click here.