If you’re lucky enough to have visited the Alhambra, then you’ll recognize the impressive architecture in this photo. Breathtaking Moorish architecture sprawls across a complex of old forts and palaces in Granada, dotted with fountains and pools and the carefully cultivated flowers of the Generalife. But to me, the most fascinating part of the Alhambra, and Islamic architecture as a whole, is that it finds beauty in numbers and patterns. Until I visited some of the surviving Moorish buildings in Spain, I would have told you that numbers and beauty don’t really coincide; they operate in separate, but equally important domains (thinking back on that now, I’m sure any architect would have vehemently disagreed with me on that point).
But I’ll happily admit I’m wrong on this one (and I don’t do that often). The Moorish architecture of the Alhambra astounds visitors with its detailed geometry, at first from far away, but just as astonishing up close. I vividly remember staring at this doorway for 5 or 10 minutes in disbelief as I observed each perfectly calculated curve and angle, and being truly impressed by a piece of architecture like I never had been before, and have seldom been since.