Lying the Truth in the Court of the Lions

Court of the Lions, Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Court of the Lions, Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Floral skirt with cross body bag - Bold Bliss

Court of the Lions, Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Bohemian style - Bold Bliss

Court of the Lions, Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Boho style - Bold Bliss

Flowy skirt and saddle bag - Bold Bliss

Court of the Lions, Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Silhouette in the Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Window at the Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Court of the Lions, Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Cami with midi skirt - Bold Bliss

Black Crochet Espadrilles - Bold Bliss

Court of the Lions, Alhambra - Bold Bliss

Asos lace cami - Bold Bliss

Asos Top (similar here, cropped version here) | London Rebel Espadrilles (sold at Asos) (similar here and here) | Vintage Skirt (similar options here, here, here and here) | Vintage Bag from Etsy (similar options here, here, and here, inspired by the famous Chloe Marcie Bag) | H&M Belt (similar here and here) | Bangle (similar)

 

Today’s post marks the first of a series of four (not posted in a consecutive manner though) in praise of the soul-crushing Moorish beauty of Granada’s Alhambra: three outfit posts for which I took advantage of its fairy tale backdrops, and one general photo diary. Keep an eye out in the coming days and weeks if you’re curious for what’s to come.

Today’s photos are taken in the Patio de los Leones (the Court of the Lions), the main courtyard of the Nasrid Palace situated in the heart of the Alhambra. It’s a rectangular court surrounded by delicate arches with slender marble columns, adorned with squares of stucco and designs of an almost other-worldly intricacy.

I owe the sweltering heat at the time of our visit my thanks since in its absence, goose bumps would no doubt have marred these outfit pictures! Luckily Washington Irving came to the rescue by eloquently putting into words the tangled thoughts in my dazed mind in his book Tales of the Alhambra (1932). He is understandably lyrical:

“The peculiar charm of this dreamy old palace is its power of calling up vague reveries and picturings of the past, and thus clothing naked realities with the illusions of the memory and the imagination. (…) all the fairy fretwork of these domes, apparently as unsubstantial as the crystal fabrics of a morning’s frost, exist after the lapse of centuries, almost as fresh as if from the hand of the Moslem artist. (…) Everything here appears calculated to inspire kind and happy feelings, for everything is delicate and beautiful. The very light falls tenderly from above, through the lantern of a dome tinted and wrought as if by fairy hands. Through the ample and fretted arch of the portal I behold the Court of Lions, with brilliant sunshine gleaming along its colonnades, and sparkling in its fountains. (…) It needs but a slight exertion of the fancy to picture some pensive beauty of the harem, loitering in these secluded haunts of Oriental luxury.”

I usually utter something about my outfit but please allow me an exception today, seeing how unbearably insignificant my description would sound after Irving’s depiction of the Lion’s Court. I’ll let the pictures talk for themselves!

I do hope my pictures will inspire you to go and discover this aesthetic tour de force for yourself. Beyond any doubt it’s one of the things to be visited at least once in a lifetime. Don’t be surprised however if you actually see some specimens of the tourist species. Please forgive me this lack of truthfulness in my photos – I strategically kept them out of my frame (and indeed out of my mind) in order to preserve the magic of the place. In this matter I admit my complete lack of consequence: being a tourist myself and urging my readers to go and visit this thing of beauty, this joy forever, I mercilessly banned the hordes of tourists armed with selfie sticks from my pictures. I fully agree with Keats that “beauty is truth, truth beauty”, but sometimes, when the essence of beauty is at stake, one simply has to lie – and do so with uncompromising conviction.

 

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21 Comments

  1. Jane Johnson November 25, 2016

    Your photos are beautiful and I loved both your outfits and your blog: and I’m very happy indeed that my publishers are going to use one on the cover of my forthcoming historical novel, COURT OF LIONS (May 2017). We’ll send you a copy of the book!

    Reply
    • Bold Bliss December 6, 2016

      Dear Jane,

      Thank you! It’s lovely you took the time to add a comment on my blog. I’m really excited to see the end result of the book and I’m so much looking forward to reading it! I’m a big book lover…

      Best wishes,

      Bold Bliss

      Reply
  2. Felisha June 20, 2015

    Oh my gosh, how dreamy! I can’t get over the details of the buildings, can you believe people used to hand make patterns like that?

    http://www.smallestthing.com

    Reply
    • Bold Bliss June 21, 2015

      I know, it must have taken them ages, which makes it all the more special :)

      Reply
  3. Sarah Le Donne June 15, 2015

    What a magical place, simply stunning!

    Reply
  4. Courtney June 14, 2015

    can’t believe the details of the building! how amazingly stunning!

    XO Color Me Courtney
    http://www.colormecourtney.com

    Reply
  5. Nuclear Glitter June 14, 2015

    Your hair is so amazing <3
    http://nuclear-glitter.com/blog/

    Reply
  6. Rachel June 11, 2015

    This look is so beautiful, so light and free. Perfect for exploring.

    http://www.racheldinh.com

    Reply
  7. Carmen Antal June 11, 2015

    I love it!

    http://www.carmenantal.com/
    Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

    Reply
  8. Hilary Nirvana June 10, 2015

    You look stunning<3 love the pictures
    follow for follow?:)

    xoxo
    http://hilarynirvana.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  9. Ailén June 9, 2015

    ¡¡The Alhambra in Granada!! Love the photos :)

    Kisses,,

    IT GIRL AILÉN

    Reply
  10. debra @dustjacket June 9, 2015

    Stunning photos, the detail & structure is just amazing! x

    Reply
  11. The late Ibn Zamrak June 8, 2015

    Long ago I wrote a poem for the Fountain of the Lions in Granada. It included a rhetorical question:

    ‘Are there not in this garden wonders of beauty
    that God wished to be incomparable?’

    The answer was, of course, self-evident. But now, more than six centuries later and having seen your pictures, I’m not so sure anymore.

    Therefore let me forward to you the poem’s last lines, a blessing originally dedicated to my master, the Nasrid sultan Mohammed V, who built the Court of the Lions:

    ‘May the peace of God be with you and may your life be long and unscathed
    multiplying your feasts and tormenting your enemies!’

    The late Ibn Zamrak (1333-1393), poet and statesman, Al-Andalus.

    Reply
    • The late Federico Garcia Lorca June 12, 2015

      What a surprise! Grand images from the Court of Lions, featuring an elusive girl and, in addition, the ghost of Ibn Zamrak himself popping up from the Dead Poets’ Society to comment on the pictures. Dear Ibn Zamrak, we are separated by centuries, but being both granadinos with a predilection for the Alhambra, the Albaicin and the cultural heritage of Moors, Jews and Gypsies, we share our tastes. You will understand me when I tell you that these are the very images that haunted my childhood dreams and that I wanted to grasp in my poems. This indeed was the girl I once tried to touch by giving her a precious name:

      Strumming her spotted parchment moon
      Preciosa came sauntering down
      Along an amphibious path
      Of crystals as well as laurels.

      Preciosa: wouldn’t that be the girl’s name, my dear colleague? It should, you know. Do you nod? Fine! Then I can withdraw to my present realm and enjoy once again my childhood dreams, that ‘fable of fountains’.

      The late Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), poet and playwright, Granada.

      Reply
      • The late Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra June 12, 2015

        My dear Federico Garcia Lorca,

        I’m not a Granadino but I do share your tastes. The Alhambra pictures are extremely beautiful. They can compete with the many paintings I have seen in my days of sorrow and glory. As to the name Preciosa, the girl in the photographs could not have a better one. In my novella, The little gypsy girl, the main character is called Preciosa. I took her name from traditional stories. I simply thought it was the right one for my heroine. And you too, Federico, chose the best name for the little gypsy girl in your poem. By the way, did you know that I included a sonnet dedicated to Preciosa in my novella? This is the opening line:

        When Preciosa strums the tambourine

        At first sight it seems to echo your unforgettable lines quoted above:

        Strumming her spotted parchment moon
        Preciosa came sauntering down…

        Of course, as echoes never turn back to the past, my verse cannot be an echo of yours. On the other hand I wouldn’t dare to suggest that your poem echoes mine. Yes, we both use the name Preciosa and we both describe her strumming the tambourine, but your characterization of the tambourine as a moon made of spotted parchment is so strikingly original and right that it cannot be the echo of anything.

        But please forgive my digressing from the magnificent Alhambra pictures. Let me state once again that I join you and Ibn Zamrak in my sincere admiration for them.

        Yours respectfully,

        The late Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), novelist, poet and playwright.

        Reply
  12. ana June 8, 2015

    me encantan las espartos, son preciosas y para esta fecha son el calzado perfecto

    que tengas un buen comienzo de semana
    http://www.lessismoreblog.com

    Reply
  13. Color Me Courtney June 8, 2015

    Your outfit is so cute and the location is amazing!!

    Courtney of Color Me Courtney
    http://www.ColorMeCourtney.com

    Reply
  14. Zarrah June 8, 2015

    Lovely place and lovely look too
    XO

    Check my new post.
    The Bandwagon Chic | Instagram | Bloglovin

    Reply
  15. Hayley Larue June 8, 2015

    SUCH a beautiful place you shot at!! <3

    StyledByBlondie.com

    Reply
  16. Michèle June 8, 2015

    wow. these photos look so beautiful. also love the outfit itself

    http://www.thefashionfraction.com

    Reply
  17. vanessa June 8, 2015

    beautiful Outfit!

    TheVogueWord

    Reply

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