Reading the Alhambra : chapter 2
Alhambra andalusia muslim tour

Reading the Alhambra

Chapter 2

Based on a transcript from the documentary: Reading the Alhambra

The inscriptions of verses from the Qur´an provide the buildings with sacred evocations of both the earthy and heavenly paradise, such as those in the oldest of the niches for jars of water in the Alhambra at the entrance of the hall of the Partal Palace. Their thirst will be slaked with pure wine sealed to others. The seal, therefore, will be musk and, for this, let those who aspire, who has aspirations, with it will be given a mixture water of Tasnim. Or inscribed upon the wooden cornice of the North Portico of the Generalife.

That He may admit the men and women who believe,
to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for aye…

Partal Palace Alhambra
Partal Palace Alhambra Image by Olivier Gonzalez from Pixabay

But it is in the Hall of Comares built in honour of Yusuf I were a passage from the Quranic Surah on divine sovereignty painted in white upon the wooden cornice beneath the ceiling acquires its greatest architectural dimension.

“Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion;
and He over all things hath Power;
He Who created Death and Life,
that He may try which of you is best in deed:
and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving;
He Who created the seven heavens one above another:
No want of proportion wilt thou see the Creation of the Most Gracious,
So turn thy vision again, seest thou any flaw?
Again turn thy vision a second time:
thy vision will come back to thee dull and discomfited.

Hall_of_Ambassadors Alhambra_(5)
Hall of Ambassadors Alhambra © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeir

Thus, we were told the ceiling reproduces the seven heavens of the celestial Islamic paradise. The light of which emanates form the divine throne at its center. The symbolic meaning of the hall is a royal seat is completed by the poem inscribed in the central arco.

Hall of Comares ceiling Alhambra
Ceiling of the Hall of Comares

What do you think of this posting? Already aspired by the wisdom that beholds the walls of Alhambra? Being physically in the palace, identifying and reading the inscriptions by yourself would be an one-and-a-life-time experience.

In the next chapter, we will do deeper in reading some of the poems on the walls and the fountain of the lions!

Note: All text and images are from the documentary of ´Reading the Alhambra´ except stated otherwise.


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