The Alhambra: a beacon of Islamic transnationalism

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Bright tiles blanket the walls with colorful geometric designs. The phrase, “God is good” is carved in beautiful Arabic calligraphy in countless corridors and corners.The grand walls of the Alhambra jut from the ground seamlessly, almost as though they were an extension of the earth’s terrain. As if the incredible structure and large towering walls etched with Islamic 8-point stars and dripping with aesthetic stalactites wasn’t enough, the inner details of the Alhambra boasts it’s importance through boundless intricate details.

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What is particularly intriguing about the grandeur of the Alhambra is that it’s royal palace walls overlap those of a Christian cathedral. Despite the fact that the Alhambra was originally built for Muslims and features the classic mudejar design, until the Reconquesta in 1492, the Alhambra was became inhabited by Christian rulers. Following this time, the Alhambra reemereged in the 19th century as a multicultural hub, luring in travelers and academics.

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An oasis of elegant architectural splendor, what makes the Alhambra special is its identity as a rare pinnacle of cultural and religious entanglement. Regarded as a symbolic villa for rest and reflection, it parallely serves as a platform for peace and acknowledgement of diversity. The Alhambra doesn’t encompass one group of people but instead is muddled by a combination of Spanish, Moroccan, Muslim, Christian, and all other identities with an appreciation for majestic architecture and lush verdure.

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Similarly descending from a combination of opposing religions and heritages, the cultural amalgamation of the Alhambra fascinates me. It seems the penetration of each culture and religion is so deeply rooted that they have grown to become an inseparable identity; a concept driven by the transmission of globalisation. I imagine that many descendants or immigrants may find themselves caught between a familial diaspora but also tied to the culmination of heritages in their communities. Unlike the means of globalisation that wash away preexisting culture, the Alhambra epitomizes transnationalism and celebrates its multicultural bounty.

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