Dating from the times of Ferdinand and Isabella, in a dispute over which of two village had rights to a statue of the Virgin Mary. The original Cascamorras tried to take the staute back to Guadix from Baza, but was repelled by citizens using black paint. Today thousands of locals and visitors of all ages (mostly young men and boys stripped down to skin and shorts in the thick of it) cover themselves and one another with greasy (now eco-friendly) black fluids in Baza and then red in Guadix, in an early September annual reenactment of the dispute lasting several days. See Google images: 'cascamorras 2014' for photos of the resulting melée last year, and the official website in Spanish here for dates, times and locations in 2015.
An isolated rustic nudist beach of black sand and pebbels and clear waters, at Torrenueva near the town of Motril, on the coast of Grenada Province. with no facilities of any kind. The drive from the city of Grenada takes about one hour to Motril. Parking is nearby, but not visible from the beach, so leave nothing of value in the car.
The climate here is mild year-round. The Lujar Mountains block cold winds from north Granada and the Sierra Nevada, while the Mediterranean Sea moderates variations in temperature. The area has, on average, 320 sunny days each year. These create a subtropical microclimate with annual average temperatures of 17-18 degrees Celsius; warm Summers 25-30 degrees and mild winters averaging 12-13 degrees.
Originally a small fortress of 889, its ruins were rebuilt as a palace in the mid-11th century by Emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of Granada, then converted into a royal palace by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada, in 1333.
Artists and intellectuals took refuge here as military victories of Christian Spain cut ever deeper into the territories of Al Andalus, by now reduced to the Nasrid Emirate of Granada. At the conclusion of the Reconquista in 1492, Grenada was the last Islamic state to fall, and parts of the complex were used by the victorious Ferdinand and Isabella. The Palace of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was added in 1527 within the Nasrid fortifications. After falling into disrepair for centuries, having substantial parts of the fortress blown apart by the French, and being occupied by squatters, the Alhambra was rediscovered by European travellers and the American writer Washington Irving. His Tales from the Alhambra, written in 1829, did much to popularise the legends surrounding the Moors of Granada, and restorations began soon after. Now one of the main tourist attractions of Spain, it is the country's most significant example of Islamic and 16th-century architecture and gardens.
Moorish poets had called it "a pearl set in emeralds," alluding to the color of its buildings and the surrounding woods. The park (Alameda de la Alhambra), now overgrown with wildflowers and grass, was originally planted with roses, orange, and myrtle trees. A dense wood of English elms was contributed by the Duke of Wellington in 1812. Songs of nightingales and sounds of running water from fountains and waterfalls fill the air. Building decorations are mainly Arabic inscriptions, manipulated into geometrical patterns wrought into arabesques. Painted tiles cover many walls. Designed in the Mudéjar style, the palace is characteristic of western elements reinterpreted into Islamic forms, widely popular at the time. The tiles are remarkable, containing perhaps all seventeen mathematically possible designs, unique in world architecture. M. C. Escher, who visited in 1922, was inspired in his subsequent works.
The Museum of the Alhambra, on the south side of the Palace of Charles V, has seven halls of exhibits that include Moorish art and domestic objects, saved and used by the new courtiers, comprising the best collection of Spanish-Moorish, Mudejar and Nasrid works: ceramics, including the Vase of the Gazelles, magnificent doors, wood coffered ceilings, tiled and stuccoed panels, marble columns, decorative carved skirting and walls, and intricate plasterwork designs. Rare items include a carved chessboard inlaid with birch and walnut, embellished with metal and bone; also an ataifor glazed bowl. Other Moorish artefacts include the Almanzor font from Almanzor Palace, Cordoba, and an ovoid shaped incense burner from Madrid.
Queen Isabella's personal art and artefacts collections are displayed within the Royal Chapel at the Alhambra, along with her sceptre and crown, plus the sword and crown of King Ferdinand. For more information, in English, see Andalucia.com.