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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La Estanca-Perdiguero 1

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

La Estanca-Perdiguero is a swamp for the irrigation of the orchards of Calahorra, La Rioja, Spain. This photo was taken almost at night.

Calahorra, La Rioja, Spain is a municipality in the comarca of Rioja Baja, near the border with Navarre on the right bank of the Ebro. During ancient Roman times, Calahorra was a municipium known as Calagurris.

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The Louvre Palace and the Pyramid at night

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Musee du Louvre (in English, the Louvre Museum or simply The Louvre) is one of the world’s largest museums, and a historic monument. It is in Paris, France. 
The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation’s masterpieces. 
The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Today, nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet). With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. 
In 1983, French President Francois Mitterrand proposed, as one of his Grands Projets, the Grand Louvre plan to renovate the building and relocate the Finance Ministry, allowing displays throughout the building. Architect I. M. Pei was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid to stand over a new entrance in the main court, the Cour Napoleon. The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated on 15 October 1988; the pyramid was completed in 1989. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, La Pyramide Inversee (The Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993. 

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Chartres Cathedral with colors

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

West facade of Chartres Cathedral, illuminated during the event ‘Chartres en Lumieres’.
Chartres Cathedral, also known as Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), is a medieval Roman Rite Catholic cathedral located in Chartres, France, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Paris. It is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1250, is the last of at least five which have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century.
The cathedral is in an exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. The building’s exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the window size significantly, while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires – a 105-metre (349 ft) plain pyramid completed around 1160 and a 113-metre (377 ft) early 16th-century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Equally notable are the three great façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives. (From Wikipedia).

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