"Tales of the Alhambra" was penned by American author Washington Irving ("Rip Van Winkle," "Sleepy Hollow") during a stay at the legendary Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The Alhambra is a combination fort/palace/gardens dating from the 13th century, filled with fantastic Arabic architecture (ornate plasterwork, ceramic tiles, sculpted marble fountains and archways), and lots of room for imagining the days of its former greatness, which Irving brings to life most memorably. Irving seamlessly winds legend, history, and a Spanish travelogue of sorts together, and even though the book is over 170 years old, it seems as if it was written yesterday. There are tales of princes, genies, lost and found loves, enchanted treasures, battles, hellish headless horses, and commentary on the Spanish landscape and nature of the Spaniards that he lives with. Full of bewitching music, the smell of roses and exotic perfumes, fiery sunsets, and the ghosts of the past, the book is a sensory treat as well. If you plan on visiting the Alhambra, read this first--it will definitely enhance your experience. If you've already visited, this makes a priceless souvenir, bringing to life once more the stately halls and fragrant gardens. . .
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