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|Download E-pub ⚷ Tales of the Alhambra: A Series of Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards î Written in , Washington Irving s dreamlike description of the Alhambra, the beautiful Moorish castle that defined the height of Moorish civilization, and of the surrounding territory of Granada remains one of the most romantic and entertaining travelogues ever written of this region in Spain Enhanced here with exquisite Spanish guitar music, the narrative is a heady mix of historical fact, medieval myth and mystery, sensual descriptions, and an appreciation for a civilization that valued beauty, philosophy, literature, science, and the arts on an equal level with warrior skills Secret chambers, desperate battles, imprisoned princesses, palace ghosts, and fragrant gardens, described in a wistful and dreamlike eloquence, will transport listeners to a paradise of their own Charming This book is sort of a mix between travelogue and mythical tales While in Grenada working on another book, Irving became enchanted with the Alhambra and penned this book in tribute Such is the Alhambra a Moslem pile in the midst of a Christian land an Oriental palace amidst the Gothic edifices of the West an elegant memento of a brave, intelligent, and graceful people, who conquered, ruled, flourished, and passed away First published in 1832 then later revised in 1851, this boo Charming This book is sort of a mix between travelogue and mythical tales While in Grenada working on another book, Irving became enchanted with the Alhambra and penned this book in tribute Such is the Alhambra a Moslem pile in the midst of a Christian land an Oriental palace amidst the Gothic edifices of the West an elegant memento of a brave, intelligent, and graceful people, who conquered, ruled, flourished, and passed away First published in 1832 then later revised in 1851, this book can be somewhat of a challenge to read and fully appreciate This copy was laced with sketches watercolors of surrounding landscapes, architecture, and gardens It really was like entering another world I would not recommend reading it without the illustrations they are essential for the full allure Excerpt from chapter 1 Such were our minor preparations for the journey, but above all we laid in an ample stock of good humour, and a genuine disposition to be pleased determining to travel in true contrabandista style taking things as we found them, rough or smooth, and mingling with all classes and conditions in a kind of vagabond companionship It is the true way to travel in Spain With such disposition and determination, what a country is it for a traveller, where the most miserable inn is as full of adventure as an enchanted castle, and every meal is in itself an achievement Let others repine at the lack of turnpike roads and sumptuous hotels, and all the elaborate comforts of a country cultivated and civilized into tameness and commonplace but give me the rude mountain scramble the roving, hap hazard, wayfaring the half wild, yet frank and hospitable manners, which impart such a true game flavour to dear old romantic Spain In the spring of 1829 Washington Irving America s first great writer, with an unnamed low ranking Russian diplomat, a new friend begins a leisurely expedition on horseback from Seville to Granada, a young guide takes them through the Andalusian mountains He boasts the Spaniard nicknamed Sancho, an alias he enjoys this is the land of the renowned Don Quixote , his rifle raised high above his head that no bandits will threaten them in their journey, but keeps it safely unloaded and behind his In the spring of 1829 Washington Irving America s first great writer, with an unnamed low ranking Russian diplomat, a new friend begins a leisurely expedition on horseback from Seville to Granada, a young guide takes them through the Andalusian mountains He boasts the Spaniard nicknamed Sancho, an alias he enjoys this is the land of the renowned Don Quixote , his rifle raised high above his head that no bandits will threaten them in their journey, but keeps it safely unloaded and behind his back The mostly deserted territory has a beautiful ambiance, but melancholic mood too the travelers take siestas on the ground, the people are respectful of strangers and Sancho tells all that these foreign men are very important, which amuses Mr.Irving who speaks Spanish Stopping at an inn, watching pretty girl dancers move around skillfully, later playing their ubiquitous guitars and singing wonderfully, the crowd eating, drinking everyone showing the grandees a good time, the two buy liquor for all The magical party comes to a much too quick end, the whole village had watched but they have to leave in the morning Arriving in Granada, the governor of the fabulous Moorish Palace of the Alhambra lets them stay there Irving is a celebrity and later becomes the American ambassador to Spain , yet duty soon compels the Russian diplomat to go back to MadridAn old man Mateo Jimenez, a son of the Alhambra , he has lived there always with a few others, tells stories of buried lost treasure underneath the buildings, secret chambers, the three princesses imprisoned by their father the King in a lonely tower, countless legends and myths the guide knows and recites them , believes too Soon appoints himself Mr Irving s ciceroni, showing him the reddish towers, pools full of fish, balconies where the Sultana looked down at her subjects, elegant gardens right out of an Arabian Nights Fable the huge Ambassadors Hall, where receptions were held the Court of the Lions, the Royal Baths, the numerous other attractions Still this was all falling into ruin, crumbling neglected unappreciated a foreign structure that has no merit in Spain Yet this is an unique palace, overlooking exotic Granada The towering remote edifices dominating the fortress, the gloomy formerly dazzling rooms where once happy residents lived and loved, the peaceful fountains spreading their waters in the air, where once titillated by spicy news, the harem lazily gossiped cooling the area, the Sultan is not around any and the oppressive darkness comes as the Sun goes down, the inhabitants have gone the deserted palace is a sad building, quiet except for the unknown noises Mr.Irving on his first night there heard, bravely with just a lamp walked alone through the empty, eerie, rooms expecting goblins to strike at any second and the illumination does not help stop the vengeful ghosts of the past from returning, imagination Or reality, the skittish writer of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, hastily goes back to his room and locks the door This book saved the incomparable Alhambra from becoming just another pile of rocks from ancient days, soon to be forgotten 9 10 I understand now why this Alhambra book is sold at every news stand and souvenir boutique in the city of Granada, translated in every major tourist language Washington Irving account of his visit to the palatial complex around 1830 is almost single handedly responsible for reviving interest in the almost ruined pile of masonry, in its chivalrous histories and spooky legends It is both a blessing and curse A blessing because it allowed the palace to be restored and maintained A curse 9 10 I understand now why this Alhambra book is sold at every news stand and souvenir boutique in the city of Granada, translated in every major tourist language Washington Irving account of his visit to the palatial complex around 1830 is almost single handedly responsible for reviving interest in the almost ruined pile of masonry, in its chivalrous histories and spooky legends It is both a blessing and curse A blessing because it allowed the palace to be restored and maintained A curse because it marks the start of the tourist age, of the Western World turning its eye towards the monuments of the past and turning them into profitable enterprises and robbing the natives Greeks, Egyptians, etc of their cultural artefacts as a side venture Reading through the essays and journal entries the first sentiment I experienced is one of envy Mr Irving had the whole palace to himself, for a months long visit, sleeping in the royal chambers, strolling through the gardens under the moonlight, taking his lunches by the lions fountain, daydreaming about warrior kings and Arabian princesses secluded in ancient towers I had to share my visit with a few thousand fellow tourists, always pushed from behind to make room for the next batch, waiting in vain for long minutes to capture an image of the arabesques on the walls without anyone photobombing me, always with with an eye on the clock to see how much I have left before the closing time Even so, the place worked its magic on me, its poetry written in intricate stone paterns, slim collonades and airy halls, everywhere accompanied by the sussuration of water from alabaster fountains A visit to the Alhambra is not complete in my opinion without Mr Irving s book in the pocket, retracing his steps in the gardens of Generalife or gazing out El Mirador de Lindaraja.The book starts with a chapter on Andaluzia, the southernmost province of Spain and the one that remained longest under Moorish occupation As Irving journeys towards the fabled palace of the Nasrid caliphs, we get the first taste of his romantic sensibilities, of his extensive research into past events for the places in his path, of his keen observations of present people and their customs, of his amiable sense of humour Here s a passage that explains the Arab passion for waterMany are apt to picture Spain to their imaginations as a soft southern region, decked out with the luxuriant charms of voluptuous Italy On the contrary, though there are exceptions in some of the maritime provinces, yet, for the greater part, it is a stern, melancholy country, with rugged mountains, and long sweeping plains, destitute of trees, and indescribably silent and lonesome, partaking of the savage and solitary character of Africa As a proto professional tourist and guide book writer, Irving is not fussy about food or accommodation, makes easy friends with the locals, and is genuinely interested in everything around himLet others repine at the lack of turnpike roads and sumptuous hotels, and all the elaborate comforts of a country cultivated and civilized into tameness and commonplace but give me the rude mountain scramble the roving, haphazard, wayfaring the half wild, yet frank and hospitable manners, which impart such a true game flavor to dear old romantic Spain Once he gets to his destination, it is love at first sight for Irving, discovering the delicate arabesques hidden behind stern exterior walls He decides on the spot to extend his visit and is enthusiastic when he is offered residence inside the palace groundsTo the traveller imbued with a feeling for the historical and poetical, so inseparably intertwined in the annals of romantic Spain, the Alhambra is as much an object of devotion as is the Caaba to all true Moslems History and poetry is what it comes down to for the rest of the book, often the whimsical fancy of the author is difficult to discern form the historical accurate fact Irving the scholar who reads carefully through dusty archives is inseparable from Irving the dreamer who eats up every yarn about ghosts and buried treasure and knightly exploits Looking across the Vega plain of Granada from the top of the Torre de Comares, he sees the armies of Christians and Muslims kings fighting for control of the richest province in Southern Spain He knows the story behind every tower and mountain peak and potentate that passed through here centuries ago.The present times are not ignored, and some chapters deal with the current conditions inside the palace, with the presentation of the ragged band of squatters and administrators in the site, with the occasional noble guest and his entourage Some passages illustrate the talent of the author to find the quirky and the funny side of day to day trivia, like The Truant , a short piece about an adulterous pidgeon, or this sketch about fishingIt seems that the pure and airy situation of this fortress has rendered it, like the castle of Macbeth, a prolific breeding place for swallows and martlets, who sport about its towers in myriads, with the holiday glee of urchins just let loose from school To entrap these birds in their giddy circlings, with hooks baited with flies, is one of the favorite amusements of the ragged sons of the Alhambra, who, with the good for nothing ingenuity of arrant idlers, have thus invented the art of angling in the sky Some observations are well ahead of their time, as this quote about graffity and the lack of respect from a certain category of visitorThe walls had evidently in ancient times been hung with damask but now were naked, and scrawled over by that class of aspiring travellers who defile noble monuments with their worthless names Of particular interest in the presentation is Washington Irving s unbiased report, even admiration, for the superiority of Arab civilization over their less developed at the time Northern neighbours, acknowledging the economic, scientific, cultural and social achievements of a people who have often been maliciously slandered for their different religion History shows though that the Moorish domination of the Peninsula marks the longest period of civil cohabitation about 8 centuries between the three major monotheistic religions christians, muslims and jews Cordoba, Seville, Granada were centers of learning famous the world over, well before Sorbonne and Cambridge Among the visitors of medieval Alhambra, Irving makes a special note for Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan explorer He is known for his extensive travels, accounts of which were published in the Rihla lit Journey Over a period of thirty years, Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non Muslim lands His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa and Eastern Europe in the West, and to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, a distance surpassing threefold his near contemporary Marco Polo source wikipedia from the bookLaying the foundations of their power in a system of wise and equitable laws, diligently cultivating the arts and sciences, and promoting agriculture, manufactures, and commerce they gradually formed an empire unrivalled for its prosperity by any of the empires of Christendom and diligently drawing round them the graces and refinements which marked the Arabian empire in the East, at the time of its greatest civilization, they diffused the light of Oriental knowledge, through the Western regions of benighted Europe Regarding the journal and the historical notes, I have only one small complaint I would have loved to haveexamples of Arabian poetry translatedHow beauteous is this garden, where the flowers of the earth vie with the stars of the heaven What can compare with the vase of yon alabaster fountain filled with crystal water Nothing but the moon in her fulness, shining in the midst of an unclouded sky Let s say the reader is not as interested as me in travel journals or in historical trivia I would still recommend reading the book for its fictional stories, some of the best examples of Gothic Romantic prose , here in a serendipitous cohabitation with the oral storytelling techniques of the Arabian Nights.A mason is waken up in the middle of the night by a ghost from the past and then led blindfolded to a secret court with a fountain, where he is paid to bury a treasure An astrologer learns the secrets of the book of the dead inside an Egyptian pyramid and later performs miracles for a king of Granada A Celtic enchantress puts same wizard to sleep with her harp music Prince Ahmed Al Kamel, The Pilgrim of Love, learns the language of birds and goes on a quest for his lovely Christian virgin, in the company of a wise owl and a socialite parrot A poor laborer is rewarded for his kindness to a stranger with the key to another buried treasure, and later uses his wits to outsmart a greedy governor His best friend is a donkey, which reminds me of the popular Turkish folk tales featuring Nasreddin Hoca Three beautiful princesses, Zayda, Zorayda and Zorahayda, are locked in a tower by their father They too, outwit the plans of their king and masterThere is an admirable intrepidity in the female will, particularly when about the marriageable age, which is not to be deterred by dangers and prohibitionsA poor student earns his keep by singing serenades at street corners, while a lecherous priest keeps a nubile pet lamb with smouldering eyes around to warm his aged bones.These are just a few examples of my favorite stories in the book Ghosts, ancient treasure, beautiful and unavailable princesses, wise alchemists, proud warriors and wily commoners are recurrent themes in all of them The prose is beautiful sometimes florid , often humorous, informative and respectful of past glories Who cares if the tales are true or the product of Irving s imaginationIf any thing in these legends should shock the faith of the over scrupulous reader, he must remember the nature of the place, and make due allowances He must not expect here the same laws of probability that govern commonplace scenes and everyday life he must remember that he treads the halls of an enchanted palace, and that all is haunted ground In one of the final essays, the author touches on the function of literature asthan entertainment, in providing role models and wisdom and beautyIn the present day, when popular literature is running into the low levels of life, and luxuriating on the vices and follies of mankind and when the universal pursuit of gain is trampling down the early growth of poetic feeling, and wearing out the verdure of the soul, I question whether it would not be of service for the reader occasionally to turn to these records of prouder times and loftier modes of thinking and to steep himself to the very lips in old Spanish romance The call of duty will cut short Irving s sejour, and with him, I would now say goodbye to the placeMy serene and happy reign in the Alhambra was suddenly brought to a close by letters which reached me, while indulging in Oriental luxury in the cool hall of the baths, summoning me away from my Moslem Elysium to mingle oncein the bustle and business of the dusty world How was I to encounter its toils and turmoils, after such a life of repose and reverie How was I to endure its common place, after the poetry of the Alhambra Soundtrack selection Loreena McKennit Nights in the Alhambra live from Palacio de Carlos V Paco de Lucia Fuente y Caudal Camaron de la Isla Best of Ottmar Liebert Nouveau Flamencoedit 2015 something happened to the image links, and I m trying to get them back The edition I read, and have somewhere, tucked away and hidden from my own greedy fingers is a lovely little book illustrated with reproductions of contemporary lithographs.In 1829 when Irving visited the Alhambra, it housed a small garrison of Spanish soldiers and wasn t a major tourist destination Tourism in those days being an eccentric pass time reserved for the wealthy, Irving stayed in the Alhambra itself, sleepingor less where he wanted in different parts of the palace, observing f The edition I read, and have somewhere, tucked away and hidden from my own greedy fingers is a lovely little book illustrated with reproductions of contemporary lithographs.In 1829 when Irving visited the Alhambra, it housed a small garrison of Spanish soldiers and wasn t a major tourist destination Tourism in those days being an eccentric pass time reserved for the wealthy, Irving stayed in the Alhambra itself, sleepingor less where he wanted in different parts of the palace, observing forgotten courtyards by moonlight and wandering about by day taking note of the life of the garrison which included using fishing rods to catch passing birds, much no doubt to their relief as the alternatives would have included being shipped off to the Americas to fight the armies of Simon Bolivar and friends, however the description suggests that Spain was a Quixotic backwater rather than a major empire convulsed with political turbulence, a dream country of the imagination in which windmilling giants or buried treasure is just a siesta away , and I suppose it is in the nature of a travel book not to uncover or expose foreign lands and exotic places to its readers but actually to create them in their minds.Interspersed with his recollections are Spanish folktales involving either the Alhambra, the Moors, buried and forgotten treasures or combinations of all three Though I suppose given that Irving was something of a writer himself, he might just have made them up, not that it matters, he makes the Alhambra a liminal space where past and present touch, sliding past each other, shadows of the author s consciousness that return to life in his pages, here again life is a dream view spoiler and dinner is a fine rod caught bird hide spoiler