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Islamic art: Alhambra, Granada | by Sir Cam @camdiary
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Islamic art: Alhambra, Granada

More on the Islamic eight point star! This detail in stucco is from the Salon de Embajadores (Ambassador's Room) in the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. This is where the Muslim ruler received senior dignatories and is the grandest room with a high ceiling and stunningly decorated walls. It is also the most dimly lit room and as a result has preserved some of the colours. Again, you see all the three elements of Islamic art here: geometrical patterns, vegetal patterns, and Arabic calligraphy. The calligraphy is simple stuff and is just two words, literally, Help (top) and God (bottom). I'm of the view that perhaps no building in the world has the word God or Allah inscribed on it as many times as in the Alhambra. The last Muslims rulers of Spain, the Nasirids, were well aware of their position and, I think, decorated the Alhambra fittingly: imploring God for His help and protection. Everyone interpretes the Alhambra as royal palace, a secular place, but it is, I believe, a masterpiece of the Sufi artists and a significant piece of Islamic religious architecture and decoration. The Nasirids held on until 1492 and the years that followed saw the holocaust of Muslims in Europe. Today, the witch-hunt or Islamophobia continues in other guises.

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Taken on January 7, 2006