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deserted, half-ruined court, arise a long line of walls and towers. One of the latter is La Fosse de la Vela, where tradition says the Christian flag was first hoisted over these Mussulman walls. The view from this tower is one of the most glorious the eye ever gazed upon. Below lies fair Granada, with its palaces, its churches, and its gardens; and beyond expands the ever-blooming Vega, studded with villas and villages, and enclosed by mountain-walls, from whose snowy crests flow numerous fertilizing streams, gleaming like burnished silver amid the green fields To the left rise the snow-capped Alpujanas; then the distant sierra of Albama; then the gorge of Loja; while to the right is the distant mountain-chain of Jaen.
On the left-hand side of the Patio de los Algibes stands the palace of Charles V., who, Vandal-like, pulled down the beautiful winter-palace of the Moors, to construct an abortion in its place, which has never been finished. The building is in the Græco-Romano style, and consists of a square of two hundred and twenty feet. The portals and windows of the three façades are elegantly ornamented with basso-relievos, which are of a most exquisite workmanship. Passing a beautiful vestibule, you enter a circular court surrounded by a portico, sustained by Doric columns. This court is used at present as a work-shop for galley-slaves, who spin twine in the spot which the most powerful monarch of the world intended to make his home, and to surround bimself with all that the age could produce in art and luxury.
The entrance to the summer-palace of the Moors lies in a corner, bidden from view by the palace of the Emperor. A modest door, like the door of a posada, ushers the visitor into this fairy-like edifice. On one side of the door hung a string, which I pulled, and in a few moments a small, ill-looking man opened to me, and I entered the Patio de los Arayanes, or the Court of Myrtles. The form of this court is an oblong square, the greater part of which is occupied by a basin of water of the same shape, surrounded by myrtles, and fringed with a narrow bed of flowers. The beholder is at once enchanted with the novel and beautiful scene. The slender marble columns which support the light porticoes surrounding the court; the wonderful lace-like workmanship in plaster which embellishes the portals, the windows, and the walls, appear the realization of the fairy palace of our youth.
To the left of the entrance is the magnificent Hall of the Ambassadors, which was the reception-room of state. Passing through a beautiíul vestibule, I entered this vast chamber, the pavement of which is marble, and the walls richly ornamented with exquisite stucco-work, which is so delicately wrought that it resembles a fabric of lace.
Retracing my steps through the Patio de los Arayanes, I passed through a door-way and ante-room into the Court of Lions. This court is also in the form of an oblong square. It is surrounded by a gallery, supported by one hundred and forty pillars of white marble, with most exquisitely-carved capitals. The columns are sometimes grouped and sometimes single; but they are so slender, and their capitals so delicately open-worked, that they scarcely seem equal to the support of the lacework arehes, and indeed, from sundry iron braces to be seen, it would appear that the weight of the gallery has been too great in many places, owing to the unsightly red-tile roof which was put on, about a century since, to replace the lighter Moorish fabric, which had fallen to ruin. In the centre of the court is the Fountain of Lions. This is a magnificent basin, cut out of one piece of beautiful white marble, supported on the backs of twelve or fourteen lions. There are several halls which open upon this court. To the right is the Hall of the Abencerrages. In the centre of this chamber, a large fountain is set into the white marble pavement, on one side of which are some ferruginous stains, which my guide pointed out as the blood-marks of the Abencerrages massacred here by Boabdil. On each side of this hall there are several alcoves set into the thick walls, which are entered under beautifully-wrought arches, supported by delicate marble columns. The roof is lofty, and presents that peculiar hanging appearance resembling stalactites. The centre of the vault represents the escutcheon of the Kings of Granada, with the motto, Le galib ile ALLAH - God only is great.
Opposite the Hall of the Abencerrages, on the left-hand side of the court, is the Chamber of the Two Sisters, so called on account of two large white marble slabs which form a greater part of the pavement.
The entrance to this hall passes under some most exquisitely-ornamented arches. This chamber is somewhat larger than the one last described, but its decorations are similar. The only light it receives is through several small oval windows, placed just below the lofty vaulted ceiling, which throw a dreamy, voluptuous, half-day-light through the apartment. At the extremity of this sala, opposite the entrance, there is a beautiful little alcove, used as the boudoir of the Sultana, from which a window looks upon the Patio de Lindaraja, a charming little court surrounded by columns, and ornamented with flowers and shrubbery.
Returning to the Court of Lions, in front of the door of entrance is the Sala de Justicia, the Hall of Justice, which is in the form of a gallery, divided into three parts. The ornamentation of the walls and arches of this ball is exceedingly rich. The ceiling is covered with curious frescoes, representing chivalrous and amorous subjects, which are well worth examination, as they are doubtless correct representations of the costume of the times.
After having viewed the Patio de los Lones and the halls which surround it, I was conducted up a stair-case and through a gallery to a square tower, on the top of which is a small room, ornamented with frescoes and arabesques, and surrounded with a light colonnade. This is called El Tocador de la Reyna, or Dressing-room of the Queen ; and it must have been a charming retreat during the heats of summer. Every breeze has access there, and the eye may wander with never-ending pleasure over one of the most beautiful landscapes that nature ever formed.
Descending again, and passing through the Patio de Lindaraja, I entered the baths, which are one of the best-preserved portions of the Alhambra. The azulejos, or curiously-painted tiles which cover the lower part of the walls, and the immense marble slabs which form the pavement, are in perfect preservation.
The arrangement of the baths is similar to that still used in the east. They are constructed of white marble, in the form of large square basins. I ascended now to the top of the Tower of Comares, from whence the eye embraces the whole edifice, and overlooks the town and surrounding country. To the north was the Albaycin, the most ancient part of Granada, with its quaint old houses and narrow streets, that scarcely seemed wide enough to give passage to à corpulent man; to the east extended a long line of walls which enclose the Alhambra, and beyond arose the magnificent Sierra Nevada, with its eternal snow; to the south was the palace of Charles V.; to the west, the towers of El Homenaje and La Vela ; and beneath, court-yards, towers, and walls, many of which had fallen to ruin, while others were fast crumbling to decay.
Such was the Alhambra as I saw it; but its present condition gives a faint conception of what it was in its days of splendor, ere time and the destroyer's hand had commenced their work, and when its thirteen hundred towers, each with their warder, crested the hill; when the blue and gold coloring had not faded from the fairy-like lace-work on the walls; when the thousand fountains had not ceased to charm the senses, nor the voice of music to float through those halls of oriental voluptuousness.
Yet, in spite of time and the destroyer's hand, this structure still delights the eye of every beholder; and as the stranger wanders through its silent halls, and the history of the past comes back upon him with all its stirring incidents, he appears to tread upon enchanted ground.
Evening is the witching time to visit this spot; for when seen by the pale light of the moon, the ravages of time are hidden from sight, while the imagination, awakened by its dreamy light, may re-people this charming abode with the children of the past. The airy form of the beautiful Zoraya may again flit across the marble halls; the dusky Moor may be seen musing amid the shadows of the trees, and the voice of song, mingling with the sound of fountains and running waters, may once more reēcho through these marble halls
. Nothing can be more charming, then, than the Court of Lions, with its marble galleries and its slender columns, with their filagree capitals and light open-worked arches. Enveloped in the pearly light, they appear like the work of the enchanter's wand, the realization of our dreams of a fairy palace.
Not far from the Alhambra, but occupying a still more elevated position, is the Generalife, a palace used as a summer-residence by the Moorish princes. Only a small portion of this building, however, still remains. The façade presents a series of porticoes supported by marble columns, and the principal entrance opens upon a large saloon covered with arabesques, and containing several beautifully-arched door-ways giving entrance to smaller apartments. But all the delicate lace-work of the Moor has been covered up with white-wash, which the Spaniard has not spared on any Moorish building. The terraced garden is beautiful. The river Darro is led through the grounds in every direction, and the murmur of running waters is heard every where beneath the thickets of roses and myrtles. The visitor will be shown a venerable cypress-tree, said to have been planted by Abul-Walid in 1332. It was under this tree that the frail and beautiful Zoraya, wife of Abulhasan, was discovered with her lover, the Abencerrage.
The kingdom of Granada is one of the most fertile portions of Spain. The Sierra Nevada, or Snowy Ridge, supplies its beautiful valleys with perpetual streams of fertilizing water, producing a never-ending succession of crops.
This kingdom was the last home of the Moors in Spain, who fled hither from the Christian advance; and it became the centre of their various arts and sciences, as well as of their agriculture and commerce. Granada, under their dominion, possessed a population of half a million, and at present it scarcely numbers eighty thousand inhabitants.
Let us descend now to the city, and stroll through its narrow winding streets, where the sun-shine scarcely gains an entrance. Here is the Tacatin, the shopping-street, with its narrow lanes, impassable for carriages, and its little low shops, just as they were left by the Moors.
Now we come to the place of Bib-Rambla, the heart of Granada, once filled with bazaars, where the richest products of the east were displayed. Here were held the festivals and tournaments; and here, according to tradition, was given the last fête beheld by the beautiful Zoraya, which terminated in a bloody combat between the tribes of the Zegris and the Abencerrages, which was a prelude to the fall of this long flourishing and happy kingdom.
The public promenades are charming retreats at all hours of the day. Here, beneath avenues of gigantic trees, and amid the song of numerous fountains, which shed round their refreshing influence, the élite of Granada resort to take their evening stroll.
We will pass now to the Albaycin, the most ancient and curious part of Granada, which has remained almost entirely unchanged since the days of the Moors. It is now almost entirely inhabited by a race of Gypsies, who flourish amid the mud and filth of the dirty narrow streets. Just at the out-skirts of the town, numerous caves were pointed out to me, which are also inhabited by a part of this ragamuffin race.
The cathedral is well worthy of a visit. This immense structure is in the Græco-Romano style, and was founded in 1529. Its fine beautiful naves are formed by enormous pillars, composed of four half columns united at the top by Corinthian capitals; and its lofty dome, painted in white and gold, gives an air of grandeur to the interior. Many of the chapels contain beautiful paintings, particularly those on the right-hand side of the grand portal. In the Capilla de San Miguel, the first, there is a fine Cano, called La Virgen de la Soledad. The expression of the face is melancholy, but full of sweetness.
In the Capilla de Los Reyes, the largest and most beautiful chapel connected with the church, are the sepulchres of Ferdinand and Isabella, upon which repose their full-length statues. This tomb is most exquisitely wrought, and the figures and ornamentation afford a study for hours. Next to the tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella, is that of their daughter, Inasca, and her husband, Philip of Burgundy. The sacristan removed an iron grating in the pavement, which displayed a light of steps, and we descended by them to a small vault beneath the tombs, where I beheld the coffins of the wisest and greatest sovereigns that ever ruled Spain.
Ascending to the chapel, the sacristan pointed out to me the carved effigies of the king and queen on each side of the altar, which are said to be correct representations of their faces, figures, and costumes.
The painted carvings behind them, on the retablo of the altar, are very curious, representing the conquest and conversion of the Moor. The first is the surrender of the Alhambra. Isabella is seen mounted on a white steed, riding between Ferdinand and the celebrated Cardinal Mendoza. The later has his band extended to receive the key of the city, wbich the conquered Boabdil submissively presents. Behind are knights, ladies, and numerous captives.
The other basso-relievo represents the conversion of the Moors after the conquest, where shorn monks are baptizing the crowd by wholesale.
There are numerous other churches and convents in Granada, a description of which, however, would scarcely interest the reader, for they have nearly all been stripped of their most valuable works of art, and appear to be in a decaying condition from long neglect. In 1835 and 1836, all conventual establishments were suppressed throughout Spain, and their property confiscated by the State, to be sold, and applied to the payment of the public debt and expenses. This wholesale spoliation brought great poverty into the church ; for although the government undertook her support, it has never been able to fulfil its engagements, owing to the financial difficulties of the country.
It is for this reason that we see so many churches and convents stripped of their riches and works of art, and that the eye is so frequently pained with the ruin and desolation that surrounds so many noble edifices in Spain.
R. T. H.
She loved him — but he knew it not. Her heart