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Alhambra legends - Washington Irving

Stories of the Alhambra

Washington Irving was born in New York City (near present-day Wall Street) at the end of the Revolutionary War on April 3, 1783. His parents, Scottish-English immigrants, were great admirers of General George Washington, and named their son after their hero.

Irving had many interests including writing, architecture and landscape design, traveling, and diplomacy. He is best known, however, as the first American to make a living solely from writing. Initially, he wrote under pen names; one was "Diedrich Knickerbocker." In 1809, using this pen name, Irving wrote A History of New-York that describes and pokes fun at the lives of the early Dutch settlers of Manhattan. Eventually, this pen name came to mean a person from New York, and is where the basketball team The New York Knickerbockers (Knicks)got its name.

WASHINGTON IRVING Nueva York 1783 -Tarrytown 1859

Irving enjoyed visiting different places and a large part of his life was spent  in Europe, particularly England, France, Germany, and Spain.  He often wrote about the places he visited. For example, Bracebridge Hall (1822) is a view of life in England, and The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828), is about the Italian explorer who sailed under the Spanish flag. However, in spite of his foreign travels, Irving's imagination frequently drew upon his childhood memories of New York State.  These memories are reflected in letters that he wrote to family and friends from Europe, as well as in the stories from his most famous work, The Sketch-Book. Published in 1819 under another pen name, "Geoffrey Crayon, Gent," The Sketch-Book includes the short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and  Rip Van Winkle.  The fictional Sleepy Hollow is actually the lower Hudson Valley area near Tarrytown, N.Y., and Rip Van Winkle sleeps through the entire Revolutionary War in the Catskill mountains of  upstate New York.

Placa conmemorativa
Washington Irving

By the late 1820s, Irving had gained a reputation throughout Europe and America as a great writer and thinker. Because of his popularity, Irving received many important honors. This Spanish were so pleased with Irving's writing that in 1828, they elected him to the Real Academia de la Historia. In 1830, Irving received a gold medal in history from the Royal Society of Literature in London, and also received honorary degrees from Oxford, Columbia, and Harvard.

Trained as a lawyer, Irving was active in the field of diplomacy. In 1842, American President Tyler appointed him Minister to Spain - a position we would now call ambassador. This meant he traveled throughout Europe as a diplomatic representative of the United States.

Más sobre Washintong Irving: Biografia, citas, frases, adapataciones cinematrográficas...

Feeling a desire to be among fellow Americans and his family, in 1832 Irving returned from Europe to New York where he established his home Sunnyside in Tarrytown.  Irving never married or had children.  Rather, for the next twenty-five years he shared Sunnyside with his brother Ebenezer and Ebenezer's five daughters. During this period, when Irving traveled or was sent on a diplomatic mission, he always had a home and family to which to return.

Sunnyside was visited By many artists, politicians, writers, and other influential people. Irving's home was publicized throughout the world in lithographs, magazines, and tourists maps. Images of Sunnyside could even be found on cigar boxes, sheet music, and ceramic pitchers.

On November 28, 1859, on the eve of the Civil War, Washington Irving died at Sunnyside surrounded by his family. He was buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

Legends about the Alhambra

Justice Door

The legend says that such was the magnificence of this entrance to the Alhambra, that made sure that knight did not exist who, mounted in his horse and carrying his lance, was able to touch with the end of this one the hand carved at the top of the outer arc...

So convinced they were of it that they assured that who obtained such feat he would conquer the throne of the Alhambra.

It is possible to consider that this was a very extended legend due to the condition of "unconquerable" which always the Alhambra enjoyed, and which nowadays nobody doubts.

It has been always spoken of the dedication put in the construction of the Alhambra, as much in the decorative as in the architectonic thing.

One makes sure that so extremely strong it was his construction that, still receiving the attack of thousand enemy armies, never would fall.

Therefore, the day that the key of the inner arc of the Justice Door and the hand of their outer arc are united... the aim will have arrived from the world !! , then this will mean that the Alhambra is in ruins.

Room of the Abencerrajes

The name of Abencerrajes belonged to a very important family of the nobility of the time, which had their houses inside the Alhambra.

The legend says that this family had like political rival to another Zenetes call, which decided to end his opponents by means of a conspiracy...

Thus, they invented a loving relation between sultana and one of the Abencerrajes, to be able to wake up the jealousy and the wrath in sultan...

Sultan, blinded by the consternation, and in occasion of a celebration in the room that takes the name of the family, he decapited on its fountain to the 37 knights who took the name of Abencerrajes.

One tells that the reddish color that nowadays it is even possible to be contemplated in the cup of the fountain, and in the channel that takes its water until the Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of the Lions), must to the spots of the blood of the assassinated knights...

Although in this case it is difficult to discern where history finishes and where the legend begins...

The Sigh of the Moor

After snatching the last redoubt of the Muslim domination to Boabdil, the king Moor and his retinue were exiled of Granada and a small territory in the barren Alpujarras was yielded them, where they would still hold years.

The fall of Granada had to the unconcern of Boabdil by the defense of Granada and its affinity to the celebrations and to the leisure. It is at the moment of the delivery of the key from the city to Catholics Kings, when Boabdil breaks to cry, and was his own mother who will say to him: "You do not cry like woman which you have not known to defend like man".

Way to the exile, Boabdil did not dare to turn the glance towards Granada, and when it was to much distance, on the well-known hill by the Sigh of the Moor he stopped and observing for the last time his palace... he only sighed.

The Chair of the Moor

Beyond the Generalife (when it is observed from the Alhambra), one can be observed undresses and bare hill that is crowned by ruins.

Still nowadays this hill is well known like The Chair of the Moor.

This must that, due to an insurrection in the City of the Alhambra, king Boabdil (last governor of Muslim Granada) must look for refuge in this hill. From there, where he was sadly seated, he contemplated his Alhambra rioter...

The Enchanted Soldier

A student of Salamanca existed in the antiquity that during the summer was dedicated to travel and, singing with the music of his guitar, was able founds to pay his studies.

He arrived at Granada, and celebrating the eve of San Juan, he repaired in the presence of a stranger soldier dressed with armor and lance.

Asking to him for his identity, the soldier said to be suffering a enchantment 300 years ago: a Muslim alfaqui swore in to him to mount guard to the treasure of Boabdil by all the eternity, giving him only license to leave that hiding place once every 100 years...

The student asked how she could help him. The soldier offered half to him of the treasure by the guarded one if he helped him to break the spell: one needed a fasting priest in and a young christian girl. The young girl was not difficult to find, but the only priest who found was an obese worshipper of dishes, reason why he cost to him much to convince it, and only with the wealth promise he accepted to help him.

They gone up that night to the hiding place, situated in the Alhambra, carrying a food basket so that the parish priest satiated his gluttony once finished the work. They arrived before a tower, the stones of their wall at an order of the soldier opened it, leaving in the open a stay with the formidable booty...

Once inside, and while they made the sorcery, the hungry priest rushed on the basket and devoured a big capon. Suddenly student, girl and priest were in the outside of the tower and the sealed entrance... the spell was had too much soon broken!

H e was as well as the soldier lost the opportunity to escape of so cruel punishment, and the other its dreams of wealth. Although to the student the pockets weighed to him, which allowed him to peacefully live and love with the beautiful young christian girl...

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