Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christopher Columbus stopped here

We leave Madrid and stop in Toledo, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its significance as a former capital of the Spanish empire, and as a place of peaceful coexistence of Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures.   It is also famous for its sword manufacturing -- Toledo sword makers made weaponry for the  Roman army, and today are suppliers to the West Point Military Academy in the United States.

Paco testing a sword in Toledo, Spain

Five hours on the bus from Toledo to Granada, but worth every minute as our destination is the Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex constructed during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of Granada. Occupying the top of the hill on the southeastern border of the city, it is a beautiful serene place. 

Walking through the Alhambra, you not only see the power and vision of the Moors in the architecture, you can feel the significance of the history seeping from the walls. In the Sal√≥n de los Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors) a breathe caught in my throat as i looked up at the Islamic tile work, knowing that in this square room, Christopher Columbus received Queen Isabel's support to sail to the New World. And we know the enormous importance  these voyages were to play in Western history.    Wow, be still my beating heart.

Christopher Columbus was in this room

Garden at Alhambra

Exterior of Hall of the Ambassadors

Entrance to harem in Alhambra

Fortress wall at Alhambra

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