The Alhambra, Granada
On our final day in Spain we visited the staggeringly beautiful palaces and gardens of The Alhambra. Constructed on the ruins of a 9th-century fortress, the original palace was built by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Adhmer of the Emirate of Granada in the 13th-century. It was subsequently extended by the different Muslim rulers who lived in the complex and then in the 15th-century, when the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella it was altered to Spanish Renaissance tastes.
Through all the alterations and design interventions there was a consistent theme of creating a "paradise on earth" and I think this ambition is most vividly felt through the constant presence of water. It runs down staircases, along hand-rails, between beds of flowering plants and from the jets of an abundant array of fountains.
The beautifully varied tile work is synonymous Moorish architecture and I had seen many photos of examples prior to the visit, but the experience of being surrounded in rooms of intricate tile patterns and carved wall and ceiling ornaments is quite overwhelming and pretty hard to capture on film - although I certainly tried!