Granada Study Trip

Happy Saturday everyone! 

Exactly a year ago, I started my journey towards Islamic Patterns. It has been a very slow journey, but I am making my way through it surly. Last April, I attended an amazing Islamic Patterns Intensive course in London taught by Richard Henry and Adam Williamson at their studio (read all about it, Art of Islamic Pattern). I enjoyed the course and the teaching so much that I decided to join them on their study trip in Granada.

The study trip was four days. The class was located in the Granada Mosque. Walking from the downtown was about half an hour. It was a lovely walk, but all the stairs to go right to the top were unexpected (first photo). It was really pretty going through the narrow streets regardless. 

The first day started off with a lecture about moorish history given by Tahira Whiteman, who pointed out many interesting facts about the struggle of Muslims in that region (second photo).  Afterwards, we received a guided tour by the well knowledgeable and area native Ahmad Zaruq Summers the owner of Alandalus Experience tours (third photo). In the afternoon, we were given an insightful lecture about Geometry and Symbol in the Alhambra by Richard. Then we started drawing a geometric pattern (fourth & fifth photos).

The second day was Adam's turn to give us a lecture on biomorphs and stucco carving in the Alhambra Palace (sixth photo). That was followed by drawing a biomorphic patten (seventh & eighth photos). That day had an evening session as well with Shuaib Sanchez from Al-Yarrar Ceramics (ninth photo). He is a local craftsman who have been doing Islamic patterns and ceramics for the longest time.

The third day was fully dedicated to Alhambra. I was looking forward to it so much from the first day I arrived to Granada. It was such a gem. I loved it so much that I did five posts about it. Starting with three posts on Alhambra: Alhambra I, Structure, Alhambra II, Carved Patterns and Alhambra III, Painted Patterns. Then the gardens were as amazing and I did the Generalife Structure and Generalife Patterns and Flowers posts. We spent the morning in a tour around the palaces taking in the beauty and the creativity of the place. In the afternoon, after going through the gardens we stayed under the shades to draw a lovely geometric pattern with Richard (tenth photo). 

On the morning of the last day, we were in the class drawing a challenging pattern with Richard (11th & 12th photos). You can see how focused we were in the group photo taken by the creative photographer Piotr Fedorczyk. In the afternoon, we were rewarded with an amazing leather workshop at Munira's Leather shop. We learnt how to transfer the biomorphic pattern we drew with Adam on leather. It was so much fun.     

Overall, the study trip was a great success and I got to meet some wonderful like minded people that I am still friends with *MashAllah* Take a look at their pages: JeeaSamira, SharminaPiotr.  

I can't wait for the next study trip and if you are interested in Islamic Patterns make sure to take a class with the Art of Islamic Pattern group. 

Granada's Mosque

Happy Friday beautiful people! 

For some reason, I love sharing Islamic related things on Fridays and I thought the Granada Mosque aka Mezquita De Granada will be perfect. What is unique about this mosque is that it is the first mosque in Granada after the Christine takeover 500 years ago. It is just wonderful having at least one mosque to support the Muslims in that area, who for the longest time could not practice comfortably. The design of it is simple yet functional and practical. The location of it is good as well because from that point you can see the mighty Alhambra and it makes that connection between past and present beautifully. 

Heladería los Italianos

After a very eventful day at Alhambra last September, my friends from the course and I headed to the best ice cream place in Granada, Heladería los Italianos. It was so busy and we had to stand in line for a little bit, but it was worth the wait. I got the melon ice cream and it was heavenly and refreshing. It was the perfect treat after a long day of discovery. I also liked the chandeliers in there. If you are there, give it a go! :) 

Address: Calle Gran Vía de Colón, 4, 18001 Granada, Spain

Generalife Patterns and Flowers

Happy Spring world! 

This is a follow up post on the Alhambra Gardens, Generalife. This is a post about the beautiful Islamic geometric patterns and the bright flowers there. The timing of the post seems to be perfect especially that today is the official start of the Spring!

Enjoy the photos and may you all have a lovely Spring ahead :) 

Generalife Structure

Alhambra palace is full of beauty and wonders. I previously shared the structure, the carved patterns and the painted patterns. Today I will share the beautiful Alhambra garden, the Generalife. That on its own needs two posts. This one is about the structure in the garden and the next one is about the beautiful patterns and flowers I found there. 

The Generalife was built between the 12th and the 14th centuries (Alhambra-patronato, 2015). Some parts were built by the Muslims and others were added later on by the christians (Lovegranada,2015). The structure of the garden is unique because it is a mix of solid structure (terraces & resting areas) and fluid structures (fountains of many shapes and types).

It was a very nice place to visit and relax in. You can even get a separate ticket to only visit the gardens if you have already been to the Alhambra. Enjoy the photos below! 

Alhambra III, Painted Patterns

Happy Wednesday! 

As promised here is a whole post about the beautiful painted geometric patterns of Alhambra following the Alhambra I, Structure and the Alhambra II, Carved Patterns.

There are so many gorgeous pattern in Alhambra and it is said that there are 17 types of those wall-paper/flat patterns. What is special about those patterns is the elements that unite them such as repetition, reflection and transformation (Stewart,2014). Each pattern holds different meanings and techniques. There are many resources out there explaining them further. I will discuss a few in coming posts. For now, enjoy these photos! :) 

The order of these photos starts from what I saw first. 

Alhambra II, Carved Patterns

Happy Tuesday everyone!

The Spanish travel series is still going and I am following the Alhambra I, Structure post today with another one about the beautiful carved patterns in there. As I mentioned in the first post, Alhambra is considered the architectural gem of Granada and you can see why from the pictures. The carved patterns are geometric and are either filled with calligraphy/script or biomorphic designs aka arabesque. The script -from what I observed- was one of the two, either the names of the leaders who lived there (fifth photo) or God related words/phrases. The most popular phrase of them all is لا غالب إلا الله, which translates to "Only God is Victorious/ No One Is Victorious But Allah ". This phrase is used as the centre of some geometry patterns (11th & last photos), vertically in doorways (12th photo) and horizontally on walls (first, third photos). There are other God related phrases as well, like just using the word God in it's Arabic form, Allah (fourth photo) or in a repetitive sequence (photo 13).  The patterns around the calligraphy are very interact and really detailed. Most of these carved patterns are not painted, but some have traces of faded blue. 

Enjoy these few snaps!

Tomorrow, I will post about the painted geometric patterns, so make sure you come back for that! :)  

Alhambra I, Structure

Alhambra Palace is the gem and highlight of Granada. Million visitors go there annually to admire the beauty of the architecture and the interior design. The name means red in Arabic and it is pronounced Alhamra without the B. It was used for the redness of the used materials.  The palace first started as a military area for it's unique location that was hard to get to in the 9th century (, 2015). In the 13th century, King Mohammed ibn Yusuf ben Nasr turned it to his place of residency (Alhambra de Granada, 2015) . Some of the patterns in the Alhambra has his name carved in them. After the Christian takeover, Alhambra undergone few changes. It was abandoned in the 18th century . In the 19th century, it was considered as a heritage, protected site by the UNESCO. You can find more on the Alhambra history and details in the UNESCO website. 

It's so beautiful that one post is not enough to share all the things I saw, so there are few parts to this Alhambra post. I will start with the structure of the place. In the 14th century, three palaces were built: the Comares Palace, the Palace of the Lions, and the Partal Palace. The unique thing about Alhambra is the complex relationship between the structure and the interior space and how they intersect (Khan Academy,2015). More Architectural information and details could be found in the Khan Academy Website

After the first three photos, all the rest snaps are in the order of what I saw first.  

Resources:,. 'Alhambra History'. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
Alhambra de Granada,. 'Historical Introduction - History'. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
Khan Academy,. 'Khan Academy'. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.