Art and architecture flourished during the nearly 800 years that southern Spain (Andalucía) was ruled by Moorish and Berber dynasties. It was also a time of religious and political conflict, but someone else can write about that.
Ancient architecture sounds dry and boring, you say? Take a moment and look at this spectacular palatial room, The Hall of the Two Sisters.
There are many examples of Andalucían Moorish architecture still in existence. The Nasrid Palace within The Alhambra complex in Granada, Spain is open for viewing but requires a ticket.
The Nasrid Palace was built over a number of years by successive rulers. The Hall of the Two Sisters (shown here) was built in the 14th century. It is about four stories tall inside.
The walls are covered with mind boggling intricately hand-carved plaster ornamentation. The plaster was gypsum based. After the plaster layer was applied, while it was still wet, artists carved geometric patterns, calligraphy, poems, and religious devotions into it. The detail and enormity of this work has to be seen to be believed.
This was part of someone’s home!
The photo detail is about one foot (~0.3 meter) across. The ceiling is covered with stalactite ornamentation which represents the cosmos. It is hard to take it all in when you tilt your head back and stare straight up. It’s even harder with a camera, even with a wide angle lens.
The name “Two Sisters” comes from two matched marble stones in the floor.
I would have spent much longer within the palace, but when you buy your ticket you have to enter at a specific time. Mine ended up being the last entry of the day, so I couldn’t linger.
For further information:
Hall of the Two Sisters – A great slow pan of the inside wall and ceiling