Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A description of the arabesques in the walls of the Alhambra. By Edmondo de Amicis

Alhambra palace with arabesques in walls.

" We entered the tower called the Tower of Comares, or vulgarly, of the Ambassadors.
The interior of the tower forms two halls; the first is called the Hall of the Boat: some persons say because it is shaped like a boat; others, because it was called by the Arabs Hall of the Baraka, or benediction, a word which the 81 ignorant have corrupted into that of boat (barca). This hall does not seem of human workmanship; it is nothing but a stupendous interlacing of embroideries in the form of garlands, rose-work, branches, and leaves that cover the ceiling, the arches, the walls, on all sides, and in every way, crowded together, twisted, in net-work, one upon another, and combined in such a manner that they are all seen in a single glance and present an astonishing magnificence and an enchanting grace. I went up to one of the walls, I fastened my gaze at the beginning of an arabesque and tried to follow its twistings and windings: impossible ! the eye loses itself, the mind becomes confused, and all the arabesques from the pavement to the ceiling seem to move and commingle to make you lose the thread of their inextricable net-work. You may make an effort not to look around you, concentrate your attention upon one little place of the wall, put your very nose in it, and trace the design with your finger: it is useless; in one minute the patterns become involved, a veil spreads between the wall and yourself, and your arm falls. The wall seems to you to be woven like a textile, crinkled like brocade, of open-work like lace, and veined like a leaf; you cannot look at it closely, you cannot fix the design in your mind, — that would be like counting the ants in an ant-hill." 

Alhambra dome. From

From Romantic Castles and Palaces, As Seen and Described by Famous Writers, edited and translated by Esther Singleton; New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1901; pp. 78-88.


  1. Nunca visito este blog ,y eso que siento fascinación por la arquitectura , creo que pensaba que tratarías el tema desde un punto de vista más técnico ,y por lo tanto menos asequible , pero veo que me equivocaba de lleno
    Visitar la Alhambra fue una asignatura pendiente durante muchos años para mi , no puedo decir que me encantara ,porque las sensaciones van mucho más allá

  2. Anilegra, en este blog verás temas muy técnicos, pero contrapuestos con otros como éste, también tengo una etiqueta de landscape. Y otra de stories que son más bien relatos, incluso cuentos urbanos. O sea, tenés bastante para entretenerte sin hablar de temas muy complejos. La Alhambra, he visto cantidad de diapositivas, leído libros, porque es tema de examen. Lamentablemente no la conozco. Ahora estoy leyendo Tales of the Alhambra y pienso qué pena que no lo leí mientras estudiaba. Pero nunca es tarde. Un beso,



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