Paradas, Spain - 'Iglesia Parroquial de San Eutropio'
Paradas is a small Andalucian town (population around 7,000) situated about 40km east of the provincial capital, Seville. In most regards, it's a fairly run-of-the-mill, unremarkable, typically Spanish town and certainly well away from the well-trodden tourist track. However there's at least two very special reasons for visiting Paradas. Firstly, the quite incredible 'La Alhambra de Paradas'. Inspired by a visit to Granada's Alhambra many years ago, José Luis Romero took it upon himself to build a smaller version of the famous Moorish palace right in the centre of Paradas! Now, behind the very ordinary, plain front of a 3 storey house, close to the centre of the town, is that homage and what an amazing surprise awaits anyone lucky enough to visit it. In 2005 the building was completed after 12 years of total commitment and dedication. The attention to detail in every respect is quite incredible; the very best materials and craftsmen from all over Andalucia being employed throughout the building. José, who worked for many years in the textile trade, now delights in taking visitors around the ''La Alhambra de Paradas' on a guided tour (in Spanish only). Don't miss the opportunity of visiting this extraordinary building - it will make your jaw drop! The second reason for taking a detour to Paradas can be found just a few yards away from José's house. The 'Iglesia Parroquial de San Eutropio en Paradas' is a beautiful church built in the late Sevillian baroque style. It's inside, though, where the real 'find' is. On one of the main walls near the entrance hangs a copy of a painting by the famous Greek painter, 'El Greco', whose most mature work was produced during his extended time in Spain. However, if luck is with you, the chaplain will open up the sacristy for you where, amongst a number of religious treasures, hangs the original, 'The Repentant Mary Magdalene' by 'El Greco'; a work of great beauty. (One art critic has questioned the authenticity of the work; attributing to one of El Greco's apprentices - in the absence of anything more convincing, we're more than happy to accept that it's perfectly genuine and just stand back and marvel at its splendour). So then, these are the two very good reasons for visiting Paradas. There may be more things to see in this charming town - the 'Plaza de San Juán de Letrán' is very attractive too - but for the time being that will suffice! There are plenty more photos of Paradas and other Spanish towns/locations if you take a look at my 'Albums' page, www.flickr.com/photos/36623892@N00/sets/ - thank you.