Alhambra night panoramic

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

View of the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolás in the Albayzin of Granada, Spain.

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid 11th century by the Moorish king Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Kingdom of Granada who built its current palace and walls, and later converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

The Alhambra’s Islamic palaces were built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain and its court of the Nasrid dynasty. After the Reconquista by the Reyes Católicos (“Catholic Monarchs”) in 1492, some portions were used by Christian rulers. The Palace of Charles V, built by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1527, was inserted in the Alhambra within the Nasrid fortifications. After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was rediscovered in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers, with restorations commencing. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the inspiration for many songs and stories.

Moorish poets described it as “a pearl set in emeralds,” in allusion to the colour of its buildings and the woods around them. The palace complex was designed with the mountainous site in mind and many forms of technology were considered. The park (Alameda de la Alhambra), which is overgrown with wildflowers and grass in the spring, was planted by the Moors with roses, oranges and myrtles; its most characteristic feature, however, is the dense wood of English elms brought by the Duke of Wellington in 1812. The park has a multitude of nightingales and is usually filled with the sound of running water from several fountains and cascades. These are supplied through a conduit 8 km (5.0 mi) long, which is connected with the Darro at the monastery of Jesus del Valle above Granada.

Washington Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra” is a collection of essays, verbal sketches, and stories. Irving lived in the palace while writing the book and was instrumental in reintroducing the site to Western audiences.

Alhambra has directly inspired musical compositions as Francisco Tárrega’s famous tremolo study for guitar “Recuerdos De La Alhambra”.

In pop and folk music, Alhambra is the subject of the Ghymes song of the same name. The rock band The Grateful Dead released a song called “Terrapin Station” on the 1977 album of the same name. It consisted of a series of small compositions penned by Robert Hunter and put to music by Jerry Garcia; a lyrical section of this suite was called “Alhambra”.

Marcel L’Herbier’s 1921 film “El Dorado” features many scenes shot in and around the Alhambra palace. This was the first time permission had been granted for a film company to shoot inside the Alhambra palace and L’Herbier gave prominent place to its gardens, fountains and geometric architectural patterns, which became some of the film’s most memorable images.

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Old city of Toledo

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Textured photograph of Toledo, a municipality located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid. It is the capital of the province of Toledo. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage as one of the former capitals of the Spanish Empire and place of coexistence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures, as well as the place where harsh religious persecutions were held against the Jews by the Visigoths. Many famous people and artists were born or have lived in Toledo, including Al-Zarqali, Garcilaso de la Vega, Eleanor of Toledo, Alfonso X and El Greco. It was also the place of important historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo.

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Golden Eagle

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the best-known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the most widely distributed species of eagle. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their napes. Immature eagles of this species typically have white on the tail and often have white markings on the wings. Golden eagles use their agility and speed combined with powerful feet and massive, sharp talons to snatch up a variety of prey (mainly hares, rabbits, marmots and other ground squirrels).

Golden eagles are fairly adaptable in habitat but often reside in areas with a few shared ecological characteristics. They are best suited to hunting in open or semi-open areas and search them out year-around. Native vegetation seems to be attractive to them and they typically avoid developed areas of any type from urban to agricultural as well as heavily forested regions. In desolate areas (i.e. the southern Yukon), they can occur regularly at roadkills and garbage dumps. The largest numbers of golden eagles are found in mountainous regions today, with many eagles doing a majority of their hunting and nesting on rock formations. However, they are not solely tied to high elevations and can breed in lowlands if the local habitats are suitable.

The golden eagle is one of the most powerful predators in the avian world. At least seven main hunting techniques are known to be utilized by the species, with many individual variations and the ability in most mature eagles to quickly (and sometimes cleverly) vary back and forth between methods depending on the circumstance. The first described is “high soar with glide attack”, where the golden eagle soars at least 50 m (160 ft) above the earth. Once it spies a prey item, the eagle partially closes its wings and enters a long, low-angled glide which can carry it over distances of 1 km (0.62 mi) with the speed increasing as the wings close more. Just prior to impact, the wings are opened, the tail fanned and feet thrust forward to grab the prey, creating a booming sound, causing by the wings whipping against the wind, in the instant before the strike that sounds like a clap of thunder. (Wikipedia)

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Decoration in the Alhambra

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Decoration detail in The Courtyard of the Lions, in the Alhambra Palace, Granada, Andalusia, Spain.

The Courtyard of the Lions (Spanish: Patio de los Leones – Arabic: بهو السباع‎) is the main courtyard of the Nasrid dynasty Palace of the Lions, in the heart of the Alhambra, the Moorish citadel formed by a complex of palaces, gardens and forts in Granada, Spain. It was commissioned by the Nasrid sultan Muhammed V of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus. Its construction started in the second period of his reign, between 1362 and 1391 AD.

The Palace of the Lions, as well as the rest of the other new rooms built under Muhammad V, like the Mexuar or Cuarto Dorado meant the beginning of a new style, an exuberant mixture of Moorish and Christian influences that has been called Nasrid style. During the period that Muhammad V was ousted as sultane of Granada by his stepbrother, Abu-l Walid Ismail, he discovered in exile a host of new aesthetic influences that were not in the language of his predecessors, not even in his own first contributions to the enrichment of the Nasrid palaces of the Alhambra. In Fes he saw the Almoravid mosque of Qarawiyyin, built by Andalusian architects. The splendor of the decorations, specially the profuse use of the muqarnas that had once decorated the palaces and mosques of Al-Ándalus, stunned the ex-sultan, as did the ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis, where he could directly examine the classical orders, Roman ornamentation and, above all, the disposition of the Roman ‘impluvium'; the Roman ruins at Volubilis were particularly well preserved since they had been abandoned for a period of time in the Middle Ages and later constructively re-used as a necropolis. Muhammad became an ally of his personal friend, the Christian king Pedro I of Castile, who helped him to regain the throne and defeat the usurpers. Meanwhile, he was also astonished with the construction of the palace of Pedro I, the Alcázar of Seville, built in Mudéjar style by architects from Toledo, Seville and Granada. The influence of this Mudéjar style of King Pedro in the future Palace of the Lions was going to be decisive, especially the structure and disposition of the Qubba rooms along two axis of the ‘Patio de las Doncellas’ (“Courtyard of the Maidens”).

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Vintage statue of Liberty and flag

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor, in Manhattan, New York City. The statue, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Note: the Fine Art America Watermark that appears in the bottom right hand corner will not appear on purchased art. It is here only to protect from internet theft.

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Berlin from the Victory Column

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Großer Tiergarten and Berlin skyline, from the Victory Column. Berlin, Germany.
The Großer Tiergarten, simply known as Tiergarten, is an urban public park of Germany located in the middle of Berlin, completely in the homonymous locality. The park is of 210 hectares (520 acres); and among urban gardens of Germany, only the Englischer Garten of Munich (417 ha/1,030 acres) is larger.
Großer Tiergarten (literally in English: big animal garden) was originally a hunting reserve of the Prince-electors, then transformed, from 1830 by Peter Joseph Lenné, into a modern urban park. During the period 1961–1989 its eastern borders were crossed by the Berlin Wall. In the northerly neighbouring quarter of Moabit a much smaller park bears the same name, thus both are differentiated as Großer and Kleiner Tiergarten.
Tiergarten has around 210 Hectares and after Tempelhofer Tempelhofer Freiheit, it is the second biggest parkland in Berlin and the third biggest inner-city parkland in Germany.

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Stilt Houses And Pagodas

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Stilt houses on Inle Lake, Nyaungshwe Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State, Myanmar (Burma). Watercolor painting look.

Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Nyaybgshwe Township of Taunggyi District of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar (Burma). It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 square miles (116 km2), and one of the highest at an altitude of 2,900 feet (880 m). During the dry season, the average water depth is 7 feet (2.1 m), with the deepest point being 12 feet (3.7 m), but during the rainy season this can increase by 5 feet (1.5 m).

The watershed area for the lake lies to a large extent to the north and west of the lake. The lake drains through the Nam Pilu or Balu Chaung on its southern end. There is a hot spring on its northwestern shore.

Although the lake is not large, it contains a number of endemic species. Over twenty species of snails and nine species of fish are found nowhere else in the world. Some of these, like the silver-blue scaleless Sawbwa barb, the crossbanded dward danio, and the Lake Inle danio, are of minor commercial importance for the aquarium trade. It hosts approximately 20,000 brown and black head migratory seagulls in November, December and January.

Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved for the reason that the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds. However, the leg rowing style is only practiced by the men.

Very important is the development of floating garden agriculture, largely along the western side of the lake.

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