Old Modernist Pharmacy In Barcelona

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Nadal Pharmacy (La Rambla, 121), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. 1850. The most famous of Barcelona’s old-fashioned pharmacies.

Fresh-eyed travellers to Barcelona can sometimes have the impression that the city is a basket of hidden treasures, where everyday twists and turns can lead you down hidden pathways and into secret corners of the city. One of our favourite quotidian marvels of Barcelona is the city’s old-fashioned pharmacies, many of which date back to the Art Nouveau period.

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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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Within bue walls

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Monastery of Saint Catherine (Spanish: Santa Catalina). It’s a monastery of nuns of the Domincan Second Order, located in Arequipa, Peru. It was built in 1580 and was enlarged in the 17th century. The over 20,000-square-meter monastery was built predominantly in the Mudéjar style, and is characterized by its vividly painted walls. There are approximately 20 nuns currently living in the northern corner of the complex; the rest of the monastery is open to the public.

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A Door On The Court Of The Myrtles

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

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.

The present entrance to the Palacio Árabe, or Casa Real (Moorish palace), is by a small door from which a corridor connects to the Patio de los Arrayanes (Court of the Myrtles), also called the Patio de la Alberca (Court of the Blessing or Court of the Pond), from the Arabic birka, “pool”. The birka helped to cool the palace and acted as a symbol of power. Because water was usually in short supply, the technology required to keep these pools full was expensive and difficult. This court is 42 m (140 ft) long by 22 m (74 ft) broad, and in the centre there is a large pond set in the marble pavement, full of goldfish, and with myrtles growing along its sides. There are galleries on the north and south sides; the southern gallery is 7 m (23 ft) high and supported by a marble colonnade. Underneath it, to the right, was the principal entrance, and over it are three windows with arches and miniature pillars. From this court, the walls of the Torre de Comares are seen rising over the roof to the north and reflected in the pond.

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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The Blue House

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Albarracín is a Spanish town, in the province of Teruel, part of the autonomous community of Aragon. The town is located in a meander of the Guadalaviar River. The Sierra de Albarracín mountain range rises to the South and West of the town.
This is the only house in the whole of Albarracín that is not painted pinkie orange.

It’s a picturesque town surrounded by stony hills and the town was declared a Monumento Nacional in 1961.

The town is named for the Moorish Al Banū Razin family that once had been dominant in the area during the period of Muslim domination in the Iberian Peninsula.
From 1167 to 1300, Albarracín was an independent lordship known as the Sinyoria d’Albarrazin which was established after the partition of the Taifa of Albarracín under the control of Pedro Ruiz de Azagra. It was eventually conquered by Peter III of Aragon in 1284, and the ruling family, the House of Azagra was deposed. The last person to actually hold the title of Señor de Albarracín was Juan Nuñez I de Lara, although his son, Juan Nuñez II de Lara continued on as the pretender to the title until 1300 when the city and its lands were officially incorporated into the Kingdom of Aragón.

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Staircase In Blue Courtyard

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Monastery of Saint Catherine (Spanish: Santa Catalina). It’s a monastery of nuns of the Domincan Second Order, located in Arequipa, Peru. It was built in 1580 and was enlarged in the 17th century. The over 20,000-square-meter monastery was built predominantly in the Mudéjar style, and is characterized by its vividly painted walls. There are approximately 20 nuns currently living in the northern corner of the complex; the rest of the monastery is open to the public.

I sold a print of ‘Staircase In Blue Courtyard’ to a buyer from Corvallis, OR – United States 07/03/2013

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