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.

Beautiful Doors in Granada

Granada is such a beautiful city full of heritage and history. In my firs day there, I noticed so many gorgeous, unique doors. Each had a different styles and material. You can tell how diverse the city was and is becoming with the mix of the Islamic heritage, the Christine take over and the other art influences there. Enjoy this little slideshow of doors. Let me know which one is your favourite. The last one is mine. I just love the stone/wood combo and the flowers were a plus.  

Madrasah of Granada

Happy Friday everyone! 

The Spain series is back on. I was crazy busy with being back in London that I haven't had a chance to continue the series, but I am back to a proper schedule now! :) Let me tell you about that lovely school I saw in Granada on my first day and was blown away. The location was right in the centre beside the Granada Cathedral, as you can see in the first photo. The old Islamic school is now part of the Granada university as well. I didn't even know it was there until I passed by it and it was a happy coincidence. The inside is a restoration of a restoration. I think they did a great job brining the tradition of the patterns and the colours back to life. The last photo was a later addition after the Christians took over. You can see how distinctive each style is. It's a little place with a short tour that tells you the brief history of the place. The entrance fee was extremely cheap I think it was 2 or 4 euros. Worth a visit if you are in the area.  

Granada Trip, Intro

Last September, I made the decision to travel to Spain on my own and join the Art of Islamic Pattern group on their Granada study trip. I was ready to go on that journey of art and patterns. I have been playing with the idea of going for few months and I even got my visa and paid the course’s deposit, but was not sure I could do it on my own. A week before the study trip, I knew I was ready. I spent 48 hours endlessly planning, reading all sorts of reviews and booking hotels, transports and so on. I feel so thankful that I made that decision. I enjoyed my time and made great connections. Most importantly, I found inner peace when I accepted my own company, something I feared. It turned out to be great fun. I took off from London City Airport directly; two hours later I was there. Thankfully, I met Richard Henry, one of the study trip teachers and few other classmates, which made the taxi trip from the airport to the hotel really easy. I booked a place in the center of Granada. I was pleasantly surprised with the location of Hotel Navas. After I rested for few hours, I headed to discover the town where I visited the Granada School, the shopping area and met up with few ladies from the course. The next day, I headed with Samira and Jeea –two very creative Islamic pattern artists- to Cordoba, where we tried to fit in the whole city in a day! From the Mezquita Cathedral  to the Casa Andalusi. The third day, the Islamic pattern course started and it was amazing! During the four days, we reconstructed Islamic geometric patterns and went on class tours around the city and to Alhambra. We also attended an awesome leather workshop. *Mashallah*

In the few coming days, I will post about each of these activities. Until then, enjoy these snaps I took around the gorgeous city of Granada. 

Teteria Petra, Cordoba

After a productive day in Cordoba of sightseeing, photography and selfies , my friends and I were so ready for some good dinner. We stumbled upon a flyer that mentioned two magic words halal and wifi -the two necessities of life- and that was enough to convince us to try it. I am so glad we trusted in those words because we were pleasantly surprised with really delicious, authentic Moroccan food. The service was really good and the setting was cozy and comfortable. The interior of it was typical Moroccan style restaurants with lit up lanterns, cushiony seats and low tables. If you are in Cordoba, you should give it a go.     

Address: Callejas de las Hogueras | Deanes, Cordoba, Spain

Casa Andalusi in Cordoba

When my friends and I arrived to Cordoba, the first thing we wanted to see was the Mezquita Cathedral, but on the way we stumbled upon this little gem of a traditional 12th century house called Casa Andalusi. I don't know the full history of the place because it's written in Spanish on their website but from what I gathered this house was kept from the 12th century and renovated to become a tourist attraction. The entry fee was really cheap and it was nice to see the place. It had the traditional courtyard in the middle and rooms on the side with a small basement. There were lots of geometric patterns and Islamic ornaments as you can see in the photos below. The total time we spent there was around 40 minutes. It's worth a visit. We really enjoyed it and the location was very convenient.    

Address: C/ Judios 12, Cordoba, Spain. Phone Number: 34 957 290 642

Mezquita Cathedral, Cordoba

Happy Thursday! 

Few months ago I went to Spain for the first time and discovered few beautiful places that I really liked. From today I will be sharing those places with you all. I kicked off my trip in Granada, but I went to Cordoba the next day, so I am starting the Spain travel series with it.  

Cordoba is a two hours drive from Granda and it is a lovely small city with lots of heritage. The highlight of it was the gorgeous grand mosque. It originally was The Visigothic Church of St Vincent, but the last Ummyad's ruler who fled after the Abbasid's call for power, Abd Al Rahman I, purchased it after he became the new ruler of Cordoba (, 2015). He enlarged the mosque to cater for the growing Muslim population of the city. Then two major enlargements took place (, 2015). Afterwards, the Christian conquest came and the Muslim era ended, where the mosque was turned into a Cathedral. Some parts of the mosque were sadly destroyed during adding the cathedral. The king of that time regretted it and said: ‘You have built what you or others might have built anywhere, but you have destroyed something that was unique in the world’ (Lonely Planet, 2015). 

The architecture and the interior design of the place are beautiful. The shadows and light were breathtaking in the space. I imagine that mix added to the spirituality of the mosque back in the day when Muslims were in it. The stripes painted on the arches reminded me of the ones in Prophet Mohammad's mosque in Madinah, Peace Upon him and his household. 

It was funny, when I was about to enter, the guard told me that I wasn't allowed to pray inside not like I was planning to, but I found it interesting that he had the need to tell me and not tell others.  

Overall, I enjoyed the visit and all the history within. It was a great example of interfaith design and architecture  minus all the tragedies that happened in that point of history.  

  •, (2015). Abd ar-Rahman I, emir of Córdoba. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015]. 
  •, (2015). Mezquita - Lonely Planet. [online] Lonely Planet. Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].
  •, (2015). Tourism of Cordoba - Muslim Cordoba. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].