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.

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WordPress Photo Challenge: Pattern

As Sarah Rosso says,Patterns are everywhere. Patterns are sometimes intentional and sometimes accidental. They can be decorative or merely a result of repetition, and often patterns can be in the eye of the beholder to discover them.”


When I visited Bignor in the centre of the South Downs National Park in England, I was fascinated by the stunning remains of a third century Roman farm and villa. The intricate patterns of the mosaic floors were really pretty.

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It’s mind-boggling to imagine all the work that went into creating these beautiful floors. One of the corridors in this sixty-five roomed home, was 79 feet (24 metres) long.

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At our holiday resort in Phuket, we were most impressed with the skill and patience this young woman exhibited whilst creating exquisite patterns out of watermelons.

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Also in Thailand is some exquisite pattern work at one of the doorways to the ‘Wat Phra Kaew ‘complex, better known to tourists as the ‘Temple of the Emerald Buddha’.

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The Mezquita Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba, dating back to the 10th century has beautifully patterned horseshoe-shaped arches with 856 columns of  jasper, onyx, marble and granite. These were crafted from pieces of the Roman temple which had occupied the site previously, as well as other destroyed Roman buildings,

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This beautiful memorial at Kuta in Bali was built on the site of the destroyed Paddy’s Pub to commemorate the first Bali bombing in 2002, when 202 people were killed. The memorial is made of intricately carved stone, set with a large marble plaque, bearing the names and nationalities of each of those killed.

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The Balinese are skilled craftsmen and the wood carvings for sale were really amazing. Our guide explained to us that the rooster inside the cage was actually carved through the holes. Wow! No wonder it had a hefty price tag.

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Now for something completely different. In downtown Lima, Peru, is the17th century San Fransisco church, which once had a normal graveyard for its members. When space became a problem, the skulls and bones were removed from the graves and thrown into a deep pit.  This pit, over time, became the last resting place for most of Lima’s dead, and today the remains of some 25,000 to 70,000 people are stored at the catacombs. Until 1808, the bones were just heaped up in there, but in 1943, when the place was opened up for archeological excavation, it was decided that the Catacombs would have more ‘appeal’ if the human bones were arranged artistically. They placed some of  the skulls together in a centre pile, with same length arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms, and then more rings of skulls; a rather grisly sort of pattern, don’t you think?

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To see more examples of patterns, 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.