How’s that for a view at the top of a palatial fortress?
Pretty darn amazing, don’t you think?
Just looking at this panaromic picture is making me smile. Masyaallah, it was truly a majestic moment for me, to be standing at the peak and looking around me. I assure you, the 20 minutes hike up a near-45deg slope was definitely worth it.
But… I’ve jumped way ahead of myself this time. Too excited, I suppose. 🙂
I’ve been putting off writing this entry for a few reasons, namely because I have been
trying my best to study studying for finals. That, and catching up on sleep. 😛
But postpone it no more! I shall get on it now that I actually am taking a break from all the revision.
“The Alcazaba de Malaga is a palatial fortification and is the best-preserved alcazaba (Moorish fortification) in Spain. Adjacent to the entrance of the Alcazaba are ruins of a Roman theatre dating to the 1st century BC, which are undergoing restoration. Some of the Roman era materials were reused in the Moorish construction of the Alcazaba.”
“Adjacent to the entrance of the Alcazaba are ruins of a Roman theatre dating to the 1st century BC.”
I cannot explain to you the feeling of standing before these 2 historical structures which hail from two vastly separate times. The remains of two of the most important civilisations the premodern world has seen, laid before me – can you imagine how mindblowing that was?
Theatres hosted events such as plays, pantomimes, choral events, and orations. Their design, with its semicircular form, enhances the natural acoustics.
To say that my mind was going on overdrive would be a gross understatement. I was imagining how the people living in the Roman times would have used the theatre, how people living under the Islamic empire would have perceived the remains of a people before their time, how people can just look at it as if it wasn’t of much value… That was the first time I truly felt I wanted someone with me to talk to.
Anyhoos. I entered the Alcazaba after the city tour ended and get this, entrance fee for students is just 0,60€! Adult charge is only 2,10€ so if you are ever in Malaga, make sure you visit this! Extremely value for money, I’d say. A good half-day trip to make too!
Sidenote: The complex consists of 2 parts: the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro. I’m going to be splitting them into 2 entries, inshaAllah. (:
Here’s a little background information:
Under the rule of the Moors, the city enjoyed an era of great progress, however, in 1487 it was re-conquered by the Catholic Monarchs, following which it fell into relentless decline.
The Alcazaba was used as a residence of the Muslim kings and was also the city’s walls of defense. Its Moorish architecture is vastly different from the dark, dank and gloomy castles I’ve visited in the UK. Instead, it is open-aired, there is an abundance of light and it is surrounded by greenery and lush gardens. Add to that equation fantastic views all around and you pretty much have a stellar place to live in.
I fell in love. Who wouldn’t?
An interesting thing I noted around the Alcazaba was the use of Roman era materials in the architecture. True to the principle of architecture of its period, materials of old and nearby buildings were reused in its construction, instead of getting new materials from the hills etc. Talk about 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle)!
Did I mention there are lush gardens everywhere in the Alcazaba?
I came at the right time too, alhamdulillah. Everything was in bloom!
Coming from the cold and depressing winter days of the UK, it was a sight for sore eyes!
Another aspect of the architecture that greatly endeared me to the place was the water system. Yup, the water system.
Water is a vital component of Islamic architecture.
Water was brought into palaces and mansions and also taken to the fields for irrigation by a complex system of channels created by the Moors whose agricultural architecture was unparalleled.
Throughout my visits to the palaces in Andalucia, water features are extremely prominent. And oh boy, being such a water baby, am I not complaining!
Water is used in Islamic architecture for several basic reasons. First, it is used practically to provide cooling in hot, dry climates. Second, it is used aesthetically to emphasize visual axes, reflect the surrounding environment, and visually multiply the adjacent architecture and its decorative detailing. Third, it is used symbolically to represent the life-giving, sustaining, and purifying aspects of water mentioned in the Qur’an.
Water is such a potent force, y’know? It energizes and cleanses not only physically but also spiritually. Love love love it! Rasa macam suci gitu. 😛
Interestingly, the Alcazaba is fondly known (amongst Malaganians) as the little brother of the Alhambra. For good reasons, I believe.
It isn’t as well restored as the Alhambra though. Signs of dilapidation are apparent (perhaps that’s why the entrance charge is so cheap), but its beauty still shines through. Can you imagine how it would have been during its heyday?
One more thing I greatly enjoyed in the Alcazaba was its fantastic views. Located on a hill right by the sea and surrounded by mountains – you can’t really go wrong there.
There were areas where I’d need to climb steep slopes and steps but really, with such views as rewards, who wouldn’t put in the effort?
The Alcazaba wasn’t just a tourist/historic site for me – it gave me my first taste of Islamic history in the Iberian Peninsula. I was actually living and breathing my dream of exploring Andalucia. There were a couple of times when I had to just stop, breathe and take in everything that was happening. It was surreal.
It didn’t matter that I was alone. I was hungry for more – more architecture, more remains, more history. I was an empty tank very ready to be filled up with knowledge, experience and whatever else He was going to put into my way. I was an eager learner and He gave me what I was seeking for, alhamdulillah.
I knew the trip henceforth was going to be lifechanging. I couldn’t be any more right. ♥
Alright, I’m going to end the entry here before it gets too long and draggy! I’ll be back with more pictures (and video!) taken from the Gibralfaro and more, inshaAllah! Till then, take care and lotsa love! ♥