Letter to Mohammed XII, otherwise known as Boabdil, the last sultan of the Kingdom of Granada
5 June, 2012
It’s been over 500 years since you walked out of the gate of the Alhambra. On that fateful day Isabella wept with joy and Fernando kissed your hand out of respect (you should have slapped him). You won’t believe what they’ve done with the place now! It’s filled with travelers from around the world, some of them have a criminal fashion sense. Palace rooms and gardens that were once a place of quiet reflection are now crowded with people taking pictures and speaking incomprehensible languages.
The Castillians have spent millions of Euros restoring the place and it looks great. Isabella and Fernando’s grandson, Charlie V, built a monstrosity of a palace which doesn’t even compare to the sublime architecture of your forefathers. But the rest of it stands much like it would have when you lived here. The Alhambra has become an iconic symbol of Spain and Andalucía. I’m not sure if you’d be flattered or offended by the way the Castillians have co-opted the place.
The Court of the Lions is closed for renovatio, which was a shame because it is one of my favorite places on earth. But, they’ve got to do it sometime. The gardens are all looking good. Although they’ve replaced everything with cypress and hedge rows—It’s all looking rather English. I’m sure you would have had more interesting stuff growing in them.
The water still flows. The fixation with water that your desert ancestors had is a blessing because of all the beautiful water features they installed. The splashing of water everywhere is relaxing and it washes away commotion of the crowds.
I have to wonder about the motivation of your ancestors had building this place. They built it knowing fully that the infidels were pounding on the proverbial door and that one day they would have to give it up. Maybe it was their parting gift to us. A poem that is mean to delight and comfort us.