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"Washington Irving at the Alhambra" Alhambra - Nasrid Palaces Tip by dlytle

Alhambra - Nasrid Palaces, Granada: 146 reviews and 281 photos

  Wall plaque commorating Washington Irving's visit
by dlytle

Washington Irving (1783-1859) went to Spain in 1826. Having been invited there by the American ambassador, he was given temporary rank as attaché, but the real purpose of the journey was to work on a book project about New World voyages and discoveries in the age of Columbus-which he did. A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada was published in 1829.

In the spring of 1827, Irving went on a trip to Granada and established his quarters in the palace of the Alhambra itself. It was a situation similar to that of the future narrator of the ‘Tales of the Alhambra’.

Two sources of inspiration then offered themselves to the writer: 15th-century Spanish daily life, and especially that of the ordinary kind-hearted people who surrounded him, and the tales that he daily heard from them about Moorish times and their fabulous legends. Consequently, what we find in the somewhat puzzling collection of chapters in the Alhambra book is a series of various exotic scenes, either 19th-century Spanish, or 15th-century Granadine, or even downright legendary and immemorial, whose only esthetic coherence lies in their common setting: the Alhambra.

The so-called ‘Emperor’s Chambers’ were built on the gardens that surrounded the fortress and the Gallery of the Wrought Iron Grille connected them with other buildings. They were designed as the dwelling of Charles V for as long as the works of his palace would last, but he never lived in these chambers. They comprise 6 halls, finished in 1537. Two of them are located between the Patio of the Wrought Iron Grille and Daraxa's Garden.

The other four halls, located to the north of Daraxa's Garden, are known as Washington Irving chambers, for the American writer lived there in 1829, when he visited Granada.

It was from his apartment near the Courtyard of the Lions that he wrote one of the first and most important works of American Literature, 'Tales of the Alhambra'.

Address: Calle Real s/n
Directions: advanced booking is advised to prevent crowdings
Phone: + 34 958 227 525

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 20, 2003
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