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Title: Southern Spain
Author: Calvert, A. F. (Albert Frederick), 1872-1946
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: frontispiece]


Few travellers have leisure enough to traverse the wide realm of tawny
Spain in its every part. Those who must confine their attention to a
single province naturally select Andalusia, where all the Northerner's
preconceptions of the South find realization. The wild scenery of
Southern Spain, the gay open-air life of the people, the monuments
attesting the splendour of the extinct civilization of the Moor, the
spell of romance which still holds its cities, makes this land one of
the most interesting and fascinating in Europe to the artist, the
archæologist, and the dreamer.

The present volume, mainly the embodiment of personal impressions and
observations, is intended partly to supply the place of a guide-book to
this part of the Peninsula, and with that object I have brought together
as much of history, art, and topography as the traveller is likely to
assimilate. Into the descriptive matter I have introduced a little
gossip, which will, I hope, be not found altogether irrelevant, and may
serve to beguile the tedium of a bare recital of facts.

While I have endeavoured to make the book as useful to travellers as
within the prescribed limits was possible, I have essayed to give it, by
means of the illustrations, a more permanent value. It is on the brush
rather than on the pen that I have relied to convey an idea of the
gorgeous panorama of Southern Spain, and to recall to the returned
traveller his impressions of the land.

As a _vade-mecum_, then, for the tourist, and as an album and souvenir
of the fairest portion of the realm of the Catholic King, I hope that
the present volume will be of use to the public, despite the
shortcomings it doubtless contains. For rendering these as few as
possible, I have to thank several friends who have looked through the
proofs. To one in particular, Mr. E. B. d'Auvergne, I am indebted for
various scraps of original and entertaining information.




CADIZ                                                                  1


SEVILLE--THE PEARL OF ANDALUSIA                                       12


CORDOVA                                                               86


GRANADA                                                              107


MALAGA                                                               163


THE WAY SOUTH                                                        169


THE KINGDOM OF MURCIA                                                174


IN THE OLD KINGDOM OF VALENCIA                                       186


1. Cordova--Fountain in the Patio de los Naranjos          _Frontispiece_


2. Ayamonte (The Gateway of Andalusia)                                 8

3. Seville--A Street                                                  12

4. Seville--The Aceite Gate                                           20

5. Seville--A Courtyard                                               24

6. Seville--The Torre del Oro and the Cathedral                       28

7. Seville--The Giralda                                               30

8. Seville--Gardens of the Alcazar                                    34

9. Seville--Gardens of the Alcazar                                    40

10. Seville--Patio de las Banderas                                    44

11. Seville--Gardens of the Alcazar                                   50

12. Seville--Interior of the Cathedral                                56

13. Seville--Patio de los Naranjos                                    60

14. Seville--Plaza de San Fernando                                    64

15. Seville--Casa de Pilatos                                          68

16. Seville--Casa de Pilatos                                          72

17. Seville--Garden of the Casa de Pilatos                            78

18. Seville--The Market Place                                         80

19. Cordova--A Courtyard                                              84

20. Cordova--Entrance to the City                                     86

21. Cordova--Calle Cardinal Herrera                                   88

22. Cordova--Moorish Mill                                             90

23. Cordova--Mezquita                                                 92

24. Cordova--Patio de los Naranjos                                    94

25. Cordova--Outer Wall of the Mosque                                 96

26. Cordova--A Street Scene                                           98

27. Cordova--A Street                                                100

28. Cordova--The Bridge                                              102

29. Cordova--Courtyard of an Inn                                     104

30. Cordova--Old Houses near the River                               106

31. Granada--From the Generalife                                     108

32. Granada--Sierra Nevada from the Alhambra Gardens                 110

33. Granada--Exterior of the Alhambra                                112

34. Granada--A Street in the Albaicin                                114

35. Granada--In the Market                                           116

36. Granada--The Alhambra: The Aqueduct                              118

37. Granada--The Court of the Cypresses                              120

38. Granada--Villa on the Darro                                      122

39. Granada--The Alhambra from San Miguel                            124

40. Granada--Towers of the Infantas, Alhambra                        126

41. Granada--Near the Alhambra                                       128

42. Granada--Puerta del Vino, Alhambra                               130

43. Granada--The Alhambra: Tower of Comares                          132

44. Granada--The Court of the Lions: Moonlight                       136

45. Granada--The Generalife: Patio de la Acequia                     138

46. Granada--The Generalife: Court of the Cypresses                  140

47. Granada--Tocador de la Reina                                     142

48. Granada--Torre de las Damas                                      144

49. Granada--The Generalife: Court of the Cypresses                  146

50. Granada--Casa del Carbon                                         148

51. Granada--Street in the Albaicin                                  150

52. Granada--Interior of a Posada                                    152

53. Granada--Old Houses, Cuesta del Pescado                          154

54. Granada--Old Ayuntamiento                                        156

55. Granada--Street in the Old Quarter                               158

56. Granada--The Generalife: Patio de la Acequia                     160

57. Granada--A Corner in the Old Quarter                             162

58. Malaga--The Harbour                                              164

59. Malaga--The Guadalmedina                                         166

60. Malaga--A Market                                                 168

61. Malaga--Packing Lemons                                           170

62. Ronda--The Tajo                                                  172

63. Ronda--Roman Bridges                                             174

64. Ronda--At the Fountain                                           176

65. Ronda--A Moorish Gateway                                         180

66. Ronda--A Street Scene                                            182

67. Ronda--The Market                                                184

68. Orihuela on the River Segura                                     186

69. Elche--A Street                                                  188

70. A Fisher Girl (Coast of Malaga)                                  190

71. A Water Carrier                                                  192

72. Malaga--A Picador                                                196

73. Valencia--Santa Catalina                                         198

74. An Andalusian Dance                                              200

75. Courting                                                         204

_Map at end of Volume_

_The Illustrations in this Volume have been engraved and printed in
England by_ THE MENPES PRESS, _London and Watford_




Cadiz was the prettiest of all the towns of Spain, thought Byron. I
would rather say that she was the most beautiful. She rises out of the
sea--the boundless salt ocean that stretches from pole to pole--and the
crests of the waves which lick her feet are not whiter than her walls.
And these by day are bathed in liquid gold, for the sun seems to linger
here ere he says good-night to Europe. By night the city gleams like
washed silver, and her sheen is more magical than that of the dark yet
phosphorescent water. Of sun and sea, light and air, is Cadiz
compounded. She is the Gateway of the West, not sultry and southern, but
salt and windy and dazzling white. It is thus she appears to you,
especially when you come to her over the sea--that sea which hereabouts
has so often been splashed with British blood. How often the pale yellow
cliffs of Spain to the southward, and those of the lovely shore of
Algarve to the north, have reverberated with the booming of the cannon;
how often the strand has been littered with dead men, whose gaping
wounds the kindly ocean had washed clean! Browning's lines recur to the

  "Nobly, nobly Cape St. Vincent to the north-west died away,
   Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into Cadiz Bay."

For you can see the lighthouse on Cape Trafalgar, and the Bay of Cadiz
itself has been the scene of some of England's most glorious and
desperate feats of arms. There is little stirring now in the wide
harbour, where the ships ride lazily at anchor, and their crews crowd to
the bulwarks and exchange pleasantries with your boatman as he pulls you
towards the quay. And so you step on shore, and enter the fair city.

It looks so fresh and fragrant that you would not think it ancient. But
Cadiz is the first-born city of Spain, probably the first foothold of
civilization on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It marks a new and
tremendously important step forward in the world's progress. After
Heaven knows how many attempts and false starts, the Phœnicians dared
what no people of the ancient world had dared before. The Pillars of
Hercules were regarded as the western boundary of the world: beyond was
nothingness. And one day, with the east wind filling his sails and fear
in the hearts of his crew, some forgotten Columbus of Sidon or of Tyre
passed through the strait, and turning northward, beached his little
galley on the peninsula where we stand. Civilization--arts and letters,
commerce and social life, and all that makes life dear to modern
men--had burst the narrow limits of the Middle Sea, and first hoisted
its flag o'er Cadiz.

The thought is not uninspiring. It is not unreasonable to suppose that
the first keel that ever ploughed the Atlantic grazed this strand. It is
likely enough that the fleets of lost Atlantis, if that mystical isle
possessed a ship, resorted hither, for the copper and precious metals of
Tarshish. What voyages have begun from this port, from the little
Phœnician craft setting forth in quest of the Tin Islands of the far
north, to brave Cervera leading out his squadron to its preordained

    "It may be that the gulfs shall wash us down,
     It may be we shall touch the happy isles."

And careless of fate, all these dauntless sailors have adventured forth
into the deep.

In after years, the Phœnicians and Carthaginians had settlements
here, and built great ugly palaces overlooking the sea and the
estuaries. With their curling black beards I seem to see them, robed in
the real Tyrian purple, reclining on their terraces even as their
forefathers are shown in that strange picture in our National Gallery,
"The Eve of the Deluge."

Their deluge was the Roman Invasion, when, in a good hour for humanity,
Latin superseded Semitic civilization, and the cruel gods of Sidon bowed
before the young and beautiful gods of Rome. Gades or Gaddir--I give it
its two oldest names--did not suffer by its change of masters. Its mart
was crowded, its merchants known from Britain to the Fortunate Isles,
from Lusitania to Arabia. Much wealth engendered luxury. Life in Gades
was feverish and distempered. The people had not forgotten the worship
of Astarte, and the Gaditane dancing-girls proved themselves worthy
daughters of the goddess. When the gods were dethroned the sensual city
pined; and under the austere yoke of Islam it languished and all but
faded away. It is interesting to note that its Moslem inhabitants were
drawn from the old race of Philistines, some of whose gods had probably
been worshipped here in the Punic days.

When Seville fell, the port continued subject to the Almohade Emir of
Fez. Alfonso the Learned subdued it without difficulty in 1262, and
filled it with colonists from the north coast of Spain, from such places
as Santander and Laredo. But the Philistine taint in two senses was
never eradicated; Cadiz remained ever financial and commercial, and
cared nothing for art. Her brightest and blackest days followed the
discovery of America, when she soon eclipsed Seville as the mart for the
produce of the New Indies. Her wealth, not once but many times, wellnigh
proved her downfall. Threatened again and again by the Barbary corsairs,
she saw a far more terrible foe before her walls in 1587, in the person
of Sir Francis Drake, who inflicted incalculable injury on her shipping.
Worse was to come nine years later, when the English, under the command
of the Earl of Essex, scaled the walls, sacked the city from end to
end, slaughtered the inhabitants, profaned the churches and burnt the
public buildings, and sailed away with enormous booty. Yet so quickly
did Cadiz recover from this terrific catastrophe, that she again tempted
the cupidity of our countrymen in 1625. But this time the Dons were well
prepared and gave our fleet so warm a reception that we were compelled
to retire with heavy loss.

The city attained its zenith of opulence in the first quarter of the
eighteenth century, when it had become almost the exclusive entrepôt for
the traffic between Southern Europe and the Americas. Numerous royal
privileges and concessions secured it almost a monopoly of the trade.
But no one organ can hope to escape an infection attacking the whole
system. Spain in the eighteenth century was dying from that commonest of
national diseases--dry-rot. Yet as late as 1770 Adam Smith did not
hesitate to say that the merchants of London had not yet the wealth to
compete with those of Cadiz, and a few years later the value of the
bullion landed at its quays was estimated at 125 millions sterling.

Yet it was this bloated, purse-proud city, strangely enough, that proved
the ark of refuge for Spain when the innumerable hosts of Napoleon
swarmed over the land. Here were preserved the insignia of national
independence, and here, amid the thunder of guns and in the lap of the
ocean, was born the New and Free Spain. Cadiz proved a second
Covadonga. The focus of the constitutional movement, she was savagely
assailed by the Absolutists and their French allies. The defence of
Trocadero, on the other side of the bay, against the forces of the Duc
d'Angoulême popularized the name of the place throughout Europe. The
pages of Balzac abound in allusions to that mischievous and futile
attempt of the Government of the Restoration to rivet on Spaniards
fetters that no Frenchman would wear. Then came a French invasion of
another sort, of the Romanticists--of De Musset and Gautier, and the
long-haired followers of Byron.

It has often seemed to me that every city belongs to one particular age.
This being a fancy contrary to fact, I will put it this way--that in
every city there is always some one period of human history more readily
recoverable than any other. This may not be the period which has left
its mark most conspicuously on the physiognomy of the place; more
probably it will be determined by your own preconceptions, derived from
study or chance reading. John Addington Symonds observed that an island
near Venice, the name of which I have forgotten, immediately recalled to
him not the great days of the Republic with which it had an historical
connection, but the later and decadent days of bag-wig and hair powder.
At Cadiz I could have wished to think of the Phœnicians, thus hardily
adventuring into the wide ocean; or of Drake and his gentlemen
adventurers, "bound wrist to bar, all for red iniquity"; but instead I
fancied myself back in the 'thirties of last century, and thought of De
Musset and his "Andalouse" and his lovely Spanish girls. Is it possible
that Andalusia in those days of our grandfathers _was_ the Andalusia of
the Romanticists? At Cadiz, I beguiled myself into believing so--why, I
cannot explain. Perhaps it was due to the unexpected appearance of a
native--a distinctively Andalusian--costume in the streets. Nowhere else
in Spain is the mantilla more conspicuous or more gorgeous. A French
writer gives a selection of toilettes worn at a _Corrida de toros_,
which, as I never assisted at one of these functions in Cadiz, I repeat:
"All pink, coral necklace, white lace mantilla, big bunches of
carnations in the hair and corsage; a blond head seen beneath a
transparent mantilla, like a frail spider's web, red corsage and white
gown; coral ear-rings, with bunches of roses; all black, with a white
mantilla; all white, with a black mantilla; pale green gown with a blue
bolero and white roses; shawl draped, brocaded, with a wealth of
carnations in the hair; black dress and mantilla, violets in the hair;
gold coloured shawl, embroidered with red roses, comb like a tiara set
with bright-hued flowers," etc., etc. With confections such as these
dazzling the eyes, it is no wonder that I began to see visions of
gentlemen in black silk tights, dark green frock coats, and snowy white
cravats, stammering Castilian with a Parisian accent.

It would be hard, too, to keep the mind fixed on remoter and more heroic
ages, for Cadiz is singularly destitute of antiquities. The descendants
of the Philistines could not be expected to respect ancient monuments!
But what they spared our freebooter ancestors burned. The old Cathedral,
built in the thirteenth century, was almost totally consumed by the
flames. When I say that the new building dates from 1720, I fear that
your interest in it will expire. But it is at least imposing; and the
choir stalls are very fine. Then there is the Capuchin Convent, where
Murillo met his death by falling from a scaffolding while painting the
picture of the Espousals of St. Catherine. Another picture by the same
master may be seen in this church--St. Francis receiving the Stigmata.
The little Academia de Bellas Artes contains some admirable specimens of
the work of Zurbaran, brought from the Charterhouse of Jerez.

These are the only sights in the tourists' agent's acceptation of the
word, and it is likely enough that you will think three hours devoted to
the city amply sufficient. Yet its situation at the end of a narrow spit
like that at the entrance to the Suez Canal--in mid-sea as it were--its
associations, and its brightness and cleanliness, make it for some the
most charming of Spanish towns. Crenellated walls enclose it on all
sides, the space between them and the water's edge being devoted to
quays, promenades, and gardens. There are forts at the extremity of the
peninsula--the Isla de Leon, as it is called. The streets are all
very straight, very narrow, and very clean. Through the _rejas_ across
the doorways you obtain glimpses of trim little patios, bedecked with
flowering plants. Occasionally you come out into a little square,
prettily laid out with gardens, like the Plaza de Mina, where the
loungers asleep on the seats irresistibly recall dear old busy London.


The charming Parque Genovés, bordering the sea, reminds us of the great
merchant race of Italy who had their warehouses here. It is exquisite to
walk by night along the sea wall, which at some points rises sheer
upwards from the water, and to inhale the breezes blown straight across,
one would like to think, from the West Indies. You will crave for that
cool wind afterwards, in the parched interior of Andalusia.

From Cadiz you may go to Seville by steamer up the Guadalquivir, but it
is far from being an interesting trip. The river is about as
picturesque, and in the same way, as the Dutch Rhine. However, in these
days of distorted æsthetics--when all that we thought beautiful we are
now told is ugly, and _vice versa_--it is quite possible that some
rapturous travellers will extol the mystical loveliness of the plains of
the Guadalquivir, rating their charms far above the vulgar, blatant
scenery of Switzerland and the Riviera, which is at the disadvantage of
being at once realized by the mere ordinary person. _En passant_ I
cannot refrain from expressing my wonder why superior people of this
sort go abroad. If Rhenish and Italian panoramas are suggestive to them
only of oleographs and Christmas numbers, have we not our Abanas and
Pharpars in England--the Essex marshes, the treeless downs of Sussex,
the odoriferous banks of the Mersey, for instance?

But I digress--and I counsel you against doing so, but recommend you to
proceed to Seville, if that be your destination, by rail direct. The
journey occupies eight and a half hours, and is not among the most
agreeable experiences of a lifetime. The railway runs right round the
bay of Cadiz, touching several towns of importance. That any of them are
worth a break of journey I doubt. Puerto Santa Maria is said to be much
resorted to by toreros and their admirers. I have never heard what
attracts them there, but indeed my interest in bull-killing was never
more than languid. The country round the bay is marshy. It is traversed
by the river Guadalete, beside which, it seems, Don Roderic was not
slain, and the battle never took place. You must look for the scene of
that epoch-making encounter farther towards the strait near the Rio

Between Cadiz and Seville you stop at the buffet of Jerez to drink a
glass of sherry in its native place. As most people know, all the good
wine comes to England; but at Jerez I think, in all reason, the price of
the wine might be a little lower and its quality a good deal higher. The
city, of which I only caught a glimpse, looks like an inland Cadiz,
very clean, white, sunny, and bright.

And so we creep onwards over dreary country--like the South African
veld--to Lebrija, an old Moorish town with a great church on a height,
apparently the only building of note in the place. Further on is Utrera,
renowned for bulls and for possessing one of the thirty deniers for
which Judas sold his Master. It should be an interesting town, with its
Moorish castle and walls still extant. But the same individuality is not
to be expected of the smaller Spanish as of the lesser Italian cities;
for the history of the one country has been a record of steady
centralization; of the other, obstinate decentralization. In Utrera, and
Moron, and Lebrija--even in Cadiz and Granada--there were no independent
princes or ambitious municipalities to foster and to reward native art.
The genius and talent of Spain flocked to great centres like Seville,
Toledo, Valladolid, and Zaragoza, and became ultimately concentrated in
Madrid. We read the same story in our own country; and in fact it is
impossible to resist the dangerous and obvious conclusion that
centralization and unity are good things for nations but bad things for



[Illustration: SEVILLE--A STREET]

Seville, in the glory of the Andalusian summer, is a city of white and
gold. Her brilliancy dazzles you, as it dazzled those who wrote of her,
a little wildly, as the eighth wonder of the world. Luis Guevara, a poet
born within her walls, declared that she was not the eighth but the
first of those wonders. In our own day, men of genius have felt her
spell. "Seville," says Valdés, "has ever been for me the symbol of
light, the city of love and joy." So much few northerners would feel
justified in saying. To them this must be the city that most closely
corresponds to their preconceived ideas of the sunny and romantic South.
To Seville belong the sweep of lute-strings, the click of the castanets,
the serenade, and above all, the bull-fight. There is something feminine
about the radiant city, compared with the masculine strength of Toledo
and Avila, and the harsh decadence of Granada. You will agree that no
town is prettier, except perhaps Cadiz. So Byron said, and by him and
all the poets of his school--Alfred de Musset for one--the city by the
Guadalquivir was ardently loved. Yet though so conventionally
romantic of aspect, Seville is busy, prosperous, and well peopled,
before all other Andalusian towns. The blood still courses hotly through
her veins--her vitality intoxicates. If you come from Cordova or
Granada, you feel as though you were returning to the world. Here is
life, here is gaiety; yet your driver the next instant takes you into a
narrow, winding street, no broader than an alley, where absolute silence
reigns. The windows are shuttered, no one seems to stir in the patios.
There reigns a Sabbath-like calm. A minute later you are in a broad
plaza, where electric cars boom and whirr, where all is animation and
bustle. Such contrasts are very sharp in this city, where the streets
exist simply for folk to dwell in, the squares and paseos for them to
gather in and do their business. There are notable exceptions, it is
true. There is no want of life in the Sierpes, the narrow street which
is the Strand and Charing Cross of Seville. Here you return again and
again, feeling it is the focus of the city's life. Little better than a
lane is the Sierpes, where no wheeled traffic can pass. It is amazingly
dark in the summer, when awnings are drawn right across it from roof to
roof, and penetrating into it from the sunny plaza, it is a little time
before you can accustom your eyes to the shadow. Here are the best
shops, the banks, and those elegant and ostentatious casinos, where the
aristocracy and leisured class lounge and smoke, and survey at their
ease the unceasing procession of passers by. There are cafés here of a
different sort, some of which are frequented by the bull-fighters and
their admirers. Here too may be seen in all his glory that peculiar type
of Andalusian, the "Majo," a curious blend of the English "masher" the
"sporting man" and the "troubadour"! The people sit in the cafés to see
the others pass, and the others walk down the street to see the people
in the cafés. This is a form of amusement and exercise common on the
Continent, and acclimatized already at our English seaside towns.
Selling lottery tickets is a great industry in the Sierpes, the sale of
tickets for the next _Corrida de toros_ even more so. The boot-blacking
saloons remind the American visitor of his native land. For his
delectation the _New York Herald_ is displayed in the windows of the few
booksellers. There is nothing about this gay little thoroughfare to
remind us of the past. The history of Seville is more easily recoverable
by the fancy, when you are seated by the Guadalquivir, in sight of the
Torre del Oro, on the spot perhaps where George Borrow, in an unwonted
fit of hysteria, wept over the beauty of the scene before him.

Phœnician, Carthaginian, Roman, Vandal, Goth, and Moor--the city has
known them all and outlived them all. There seems to have been a
settlement of the Turdetani here, before the first Phœnicians came.
The name at all events was bestowed by the Tyrian traders, if it is
really derived from "sephela," a plain. Then came the Carthaginians,
whom the Spaniards accuse of having corrupted the pure and
simple-minded natives. The city became known to the little world of
civilization, and was spoken of by Grecian geographers as "Ispola" and
"Hispalis." The terrible Hamilcar reduced the greater part of Spain to
the Punic yoke. He and his successor Hasdrubal filled Andalusia with
their massive ungainly fortresses. Salambo, the Semitic Venus, was
worshipped on the banks of the Guadalquivir. From time to time, we doubt
not, human sacrifices stained the altars of Baal. One wonders if the
descendants of the Carthaginians became identified with the other great
Semitic people, and passed as Jews. Certainly it is otherwise a little
difficult to account for the presence in Spain of the Israelites in such
numbers at a very early period.

The Carthaginians fought hard for the province of Bætica, but Punic
force and fraud were alike powerless before the sword of Scipio. The
dominion of the province of Iberia passed to Rome. When the conquering
hero turned his face homewards to claim his triumph, he was mindful of
his warworn veterans. For them the journey back to Italy was too long
and wearisome; they were content to die in the land they had conquered.
Outside Hispalis a place of rest and refreshment was found for them in
the village of Sancios. Scipio laid there the foundation of a colony,
bestowed it on his veterans, and named it Italica, in memory of their
fatherland. And thus was founded the first Latin-speaking settlement
outside Italy. It lies--all that remains of it--on the slopes of the
hills that bound the prospect westwards.

Hispalis, not overshadowed by its new neighbour, flourished under the
Roman sway. Julius Cæsar besieged the city, which was garrisoned by
Pompey's partisans, and inscribed the date of its capture in the
calendar of the Republic (August 9, B.C. 45). His fleet, they say, lay
in the river between the Torre del Oro and the Palace of San Telmo. The
townsfolk were devoted to him, and he renamed the place Julia Romula. As
a Roman colony the town had a senate and consuls, ediles and censors.
The wall Cæsar built endured intact until the time of Juan II., so that
monarch wrote in his Chronicle.

While its Punic physiognomy was hard to efface, Seville soon became in
spirit a Latin town. All Andalusia was in course of time thoroughly
Romanized. Seneca, Lucan, the Ælii, as most of us remember, were
Spaniards--if Spaniards could be said, as yet, to have existed.

Then came the era of persecutions, the establishment of Christianity and
the disappearance of Astarte and Baal from the forum and the temple--to
be worshipped, perhaps, for a little while longer in the recesses of the
mountains, where Islam lingered in after times. Presently came the
Vandals, and their fury having spent itself, they made Seville their
capital, though they did _not_ give their name, as some have thought, to
Andalusia. When they passed over--a whole nation--to Africa, the
barbarous Suevi took possession of their old camping-ground. The Suevian
king, Recchiarus, became a Catholic, at the persuasion of Sabinus,
Bishop of Seville, in the year 448. We next hear of him murdering the
Byzantine ambassador Censorius, in this city, and of being defeated and
slain by the Visigoths in 456. Now comes an interregnum of seventy-five
years. The Suevi were expelled from Seville, but their conquerors did
not occupy the town. It must have been governed by its Catholic bishops,
who are spoken of as miracles of wisdom and sanctity. Under Theudis the
Gothic king, Seville again rose to the rank of a capital--or at any rate
shared the dignity with Toledo. Here Theudis was assassinated, and his
son and successor Theudisel also, a few months later. The latter
sovereign is described as a detestably wicked person. He was of course
an Aryan, and gave a shocking example of his hard-hearted incredulity.
Among the hills where lies Italica is a village called San Juan de
Aznalfarache. Near this in the sixth century was a tank which was
miraculously filled once a year, when the Catholics resorted to it to
baptize their catechumens. Theudisel had the tank, when it was dry,
thoroughly investigated, and, satisfied that it was fed by no spring,
had a lid fastened over it and sealed with his own seal. But next Easter
it was full of water! Not to be baffled, the king dug a ditch to the
depth of twenty-five feet all round the tank, but found no trace of a
spring. He would perhaps have gone on digging for years had not his
nobles rid the world of so sceptical a monarch.

We come now to the days of good King Leovgild, who consolidated the
Visigothic monarchy and warred successfully against the Greeks and
barbarous Suevi. His son, Ermengild, being sent to govern Seville, was
converted by Leander, the bishop of the city, to the Catholic faith. The
prince thought he could give no better proof of his zeal for his new
creed than by revolting against his father. A bloody war resulted.
Ermengild was worsted and was shut up in Seville, while his father
occupied Italica and pressed him closely. The rebels capitulated and
were treated leniently. The prince afterwards headed a second revolt
against his father, was captured and executed. He has been enrolled
among the saints of the Catholic Church.

It is quite conceivable that a man of fanatical temperament should feel
himself called upon to effect the conversion of his fellows to what he
believes to be the true faith, even at the cost of his kinsfolk's blood;
but unfortunately for the Visigothic prince, his interests so coincided
with his principles that worldly people not unnaturally suggest that the
desire to wear his father's crown had as much to do with his action as
the desire to convert his father's subjects.

When Spain from Aryan became Catholic, Seville became the Metropolitan
See, and Leander its Archbishop. He was succeeded in that office by his
brother Isidore, a much better man than he, and renowned as a doctor of
the Church and writer on things generally. But by the end of the seventh
century the primacy had passed to Toledo, and before the next century
was fourteen years old the last of the Visigoths had reigned over Spain.

After the victory over Roderic near Jerez, Tarik, the Moorish commander,
marched straight upon Toledo. The reduction of Seville he left to his
superior officer, Musa. The citizens offered, it is said, a stout
resistance, and then retired to Beja, on the other side of the Guadiana.
During the absence of the Moorish commander they recovered the city,
only to be dispossessed and finally subjugated by his son, the famous
Abd-el-Aziz, the Abdalasis of Spanish story. Thenceforward for 536 years
Seville was known as Ishbiliyah, one of the fairest cities of Islam.

When Musa was recalled to Damascus his son remained beside the
Guadalquivir (as the river Bætis had now come to be called). He
espoused, according to tradition, Roderic's widow, Exilona, who, legend
says, had originally been a Moorish princess. For a brief period he
dwelt in splendour in the old Acropolis, near where the Convent of La
Trinidad now stands. But his enemies had been busy far away at the
khalifa's court. While he was in the act of prayer in the mosque he had
built adjacent to his palace, the messenger of death appeared. Exilona
was left a second time a widow, and to the aged Musa was shown, months
later, the lifeless head of his valiant son. Under Abd-el-Aziz's
immediate successors the seat of government of the latest province of
the Moslem Empire was transferred from Seville to Cordova. From all
parts of the East, but especially from Syria, men came flocking to
Andalusia. Quarrels arose as to the partition of the conquered land
between the Berbers, who had composed the hordes of Tarik and Musa, and
the new Saracen settlers. Finally it was decreed that each tribe or
nationality should be allotted that region which bore the most
resemblance to its original place of abode. Under this arrangement
Ishbiliyah was assigned to the people of Homs, the ancient Emesa, a
Syrian town on the Orontes. (We are reminded of the parallel between
Macedon and Monmouth.) But in the course of time the original derivation
of the Spanish Moslems was half forgotten, and the classification was
rather into pure-blooded Arabs and Muwallads or half-breeds.


Here at Seville the young Abd-er-Rahman arrived, to restore the empire
of his forefathers, the Umeyyas, and under these walls the horde of the
Abbassides was cut to pieces. Yet despite the prosperity she enjoyed
under the Western Khalifate, the city murmured against Cordova, and more
than once essayed to throw off the yoke. In Abdullah's reign (888-912) a
chief named Ibrahim Ibn Hajjaj assumed semi-regal state at Ishbiliyah.
When he rode forth he was attended by five hundred cavaliers, and he
ventured to wear the tiraz, the official insignia of the amirs. He
was a liberal patron of the arts and letters. "In all the West,"
exclaimed a delighted bard, "I found no noble man but Ibrahim, and he
was nobility itself! When you have once lived within his shadow, to live
elsewhere is misery." Such flattery did not delude Ibrahim into too
great a confidence in his own power. He readily submitted to the great
khalifa, Abd-ur-Rahman III., by whom the city was greatly favoured. The
channel of the Guadalquivir was narrowed and deepened, the palm-tree
introduced from Africa, and the city adorned with gardens and fine
edifices. The splendour of the court of Cordova was reflected on
Seville, which became famous as a seat of learning. In those days
flourished Ahmed Ben Abdallah, surnamed "El Beji," or "The Sage," the
author of an Encyclopædia of Sciences which was long esteemed a piece of
marvellous erudition.

Some strange and unexpected figures about this time flit across the
stage of Andalusian history. The Northmen, or "Majus" as they were
called by the Arabs, appeared in the year 844 off Lisbon. After
spreading dismay through Lusitania they sailed their long ships
southwards to Cadiz, and disembarked. They vanquished the khalifa's
troops in three pitched battles, and penetrating into Seville sacked the
rich city from end to end. Luckily they remained but a day and a night,
and after sustaining several desperate attacks from the inhabitants of
the country, with varying results, they retired overland to Lisbon,
where they re-embarked. They came again fifteen years later, and this
time sailed up the Guadalquivir, burnt the principal mosque, and threw
down the Roman walls. Then they made sail for the eastern coasts of
Spain, where they were attacked and routed by the Saracen fleet. An army
of demons must these strange uncouth pirates have seemed to the
Andalusians, who knew not whence they came nor to what race of men they

On the break-up of the Western Khalifate in 1009, the shrewd and
powerful kadi, Mohammed Ben Abbad, secured the sovereignty of the city
for himself and his descendants. He contrived to give his usurpation the
appearance of legality. He espoused the cause of an impostor who
personated the deposed khalifa, Hisham, and pretended to govern the city
in his name. His power once firmly established, Ben Abbad disposed of
his puppet, and announced that the khalifa was dead and had designated
him his lawful successor. For the second time Seville rose to the rank
of an independent State.

The dynasty of Abbad, emulous of the glories of Cordova, outshone all
the other rulers of Spain in elegance and culture. The city was adorned
with beautiful gardens and buildings. Learning was held in honour, and
the amir disputed the palm with a swarm of fellow-poets. Walking one day
with his courtiers, on these very banks of the Guadalquivir, the Amir
Mut'adid-billah observed the water lying glassy beneath the waving
light. He improvised a line comparing the surface of the stream to a
cuirass, and called on the poet Aben Amr to complete the verse. This the
laureate found some difficulty in doing, and to his chagrin he was
anticipated by a girl of the people standing by, who contributed these

    "A strong cuirass, magnificent in combat,
     Like water frozen over."

The amir, far from resenting this intrusion of a bystander into the
royal circle, bade the girl draw nearer and asked her name. She said
that her name was Romikiwa and that she was the slave of Romiya. The
prince then asked if she were married. The maiden replied that she was
not. "It is well," said Mut'adid-billah, "for I propose to buy you and
to marry you." It is to be presumed that Romiya had no objection to
offer to this plan.

This monarch, the son of the first Abbadite amir, could do other things
than make verses. He was a mighty warrior in Islam, and kept a kind of
garden planted with the skulls of his enemies, in the contemplation of
which he took great delight. With a view to adding to his collection he
made extensive conquests in what are now the provinces of Ciudad Real,
Badajoz, and Alemtejo, and undertook successful expeditions against
Cordova and Ronda. It was the misfortune of his son and successor,
Mote'mid, to be the contemporary of those great and vigorous Castilian
kings, Fernando el Magno and Alfonso VI. Conscious of the weakness of
his little State, the Amir of Ishbiliyah neglected no means of humouring
his powerful neighbour. Fernando sent an armed mission to his court to
demand the body of the holy martyr, Justa. But though Mote'mid eagerly
extended all the assistance in his power, no trace of the relics could
be obtained. The mission would have been obliged to return empty-handed
had not St. Isidore (the brother of St. Leander) appeared in a dream to
one of the Christian envoys and commanded him to convey his remains to
Leon, instead of St. Justa's. The venerable prelate's body was
discovered at Italica and carried off to the north, fragrant with
balsamic odours and wrapped in costly silks. Mote'mid loudly lamented
the loss of the remains. "Oh! venerable brother," he was heard to
exclaim, "dost thou then leave me? Thou knowest what has passed between
me and thee, and the love I bear thee. I pray thee to forget me never."
Very remarkable words indeed, to fall from the lips of a Mohammedan
sovereign in reference to a Catholic saint.

[Illustration: SEVILLE--A COURTYARD]

In truth the Spanish Moslems of that day were sadly wanting in zeal for
their religion. "In those days," writes an Arab chronicler, "men of
virtue and principle were rare among the people of Mohammed. The
majority scrupled not to drink wine and to give themselves up to every
kind of dissipation. The conquerors of Andalusia disputed about their
slaves and singing girls, passing their time in debauchery and
pleasures, wasting the treasure of the State on amusement, and
oppressing the people with exactions and tributes that they might buy
the friendship of the tyrant Alfonso with costly presents. So things
went on among the quarrelsome Mussulman chiefs, until, the conquerors
and the conquered alike prostrated and the kings and captains having
lost their pristine worth, the warriors became cowards, the people
vegetated in misery and dejection, the whole of society became corrupt,
and the lifeless, soulless body of Islam was only a decaying carcase.
The Moslems who did not bow beneath the yoke of Alfonso consented to pay
him annual tributes, constituting themselves in this manner mere tax
collectors for the Christian king on their own territories. Meanwhile
the affairs of Islam were directed by Jews, who obtained the offices of
wizir, hagib, and khatib, reserved in another age to the most
illustrious of the citizens. The Christians devastated the beautiful
land of Andalusia, and carried off captives and booty, burning villages
and threatening the towns."

In pursuance of his policy of conciliation, Mote'mid gave his daughter
Zayda in marriage to Alfonso VI., her dowry being all the towns Mut'adid
had conquered in New Castile. Lucas of Tuy says the damsel was taken
"quasi pro uxore ut præmissam est." But this ambiguous union did not
avert a serious rupture between the sovereigns a year or two later.
When the Castilian king sent two ambassadors to Seville to collect his
tribute, one of them, a Jew, conducted himself so haughtily that the
exasperated Moslems stabbed him to death, letting the Christians escape
without serious injury. This outrage meant war. Mote'mid cast about him
for an ally. No help was to be found in Spain, and with inward
misgivings, no doubt, the Abbadite amir called on the Almoravides of
Africa to uphold the cause of Islam. Warned of the danger of this
course, Mote'mid is said to have replied, "Better be a camel driver in
the African desert than a swineherd in Castile." The Almoravides came
and routed the Christians. They returned to Africa, and then came again,
this time reducing all the petty Mussulman States beneath their sway. In
1091 Ishbiliyah became a mere provincial centre, the seat of a Berber
governor. Mote'mid was sent in chains to Africa, where he died four
years later.

The Almoravide rule was of scant duration. Fifty-five years later all
Andalusia was annexed to the empire of the Almohades. The third
sovereign of the new dynasty dealt what seemed a decisive blow to the
allied Christians at Alarcos in the year 1195. But the conquerors knew
not how to follow up their victory. The Spaniards rallied, and in 1212
was fought the battle of "Las Navas de Tolosa." The Mussulmans were
totally defeated, and left, it is said, six hundred thousand dead upon
the field. Yet the knell of Ishbiliyah had not yet sounded. The
authority of the Almohade khalifas was nominally recognized in the city
sixteen years longer. In 1228 the last of the race of Abd-ul-Mumin to
rule in Spain was expelled by the famous Ben Hud, who was himself slain
by his rival Al Ahmar, the founder of the Nasrite dynasty of Granada,
ten years later. In their despair the people of Seville turned once more
to the African Almohades. But no new army of Ghazis crossed the strait
to do battle with the Unbeliever. The Andalusians were left to fight
their last fight unassisted. Cordova had fallen before St. Ferdinand,
and the Sevillians provoked his anger by the murder of one of their
chiefs who was devoted to his interests. At the eleventh hour the
defence was entrusted--strangely enough for a Mohammedan community--to a
junta composed of six persons. Their names are worth being recorded: Abu
Faris Ben Hafs, Sakkaf, Ben Shoayb, Yahya Ben Khaldun, Ben Khiyar, and
Abu Bekr Ben Sharih.

Thus driven to bay, the Moors offered a determined resistance. They were
attacked not only by the Castilians, but by their own co-religionists;
for Al Ahmar, the new Amir of Granada, was serving with his followers
under the banner of Ferdinand. The siege lasted fifteen months. A fleet
was brought round from the shores of Biscay under the command of Admiral
Ramon Bonifaz. The Moorish ships were dispersed and the chain which the
defenders had stretched across the river broken. The besieged were thus
cut off from their magazines in the suburb of Triana. Meanwhile all the
outlying posts had been taken by the Castilians, and the Moors were
driven to take refuge within the walls. Only when threatened with famine
did the garrison ask for terms. They offered to capitulate if they were
allowed to destroy their principal mosque to save it from profanation.
The Infante Alfonso replied that if a single brick was displaced, the
whole population would be put to the sword. The terms finally accorded
the besieged were, for that age, not ungenerous. A limited number of
families were to be allowed to remain in the city, the lives and
property of these and of the rest were to be respected, and the means of
transport to Africa and other parts of the peninsula were to be provided
for those who were to leave. Probably only a few thousand Moors remained
in Seville. Abu Faris, magnanimously declining an honourable post
offered him by the conqueror, retired to Barbary. Thither he was
followed by thousands of his fellow-townsmen, while others accepted Al
Ahmar's invitation to settle at Granada.

Ferdinand took possession of the city on December 22, 1248. He took up
his residence at the Alcazar, and allotted houses and lands to his
officers, not forgetting even his Moorish auxiliaries. Among his first
cares was the purification of the mosque and its conversion into a
Christian church. It is interesting to note that the first of his
knights to mount the Giralda Tower was a Scotsman named Lawrence Poore.


Seville had remained in the power of the Mussulmans five hundred
and thirty-six years. We, who see all Spain Spanish and remember it was
so at the beginning, are apt to look on the Moorish occupation as a mere
episode or interlude in the history of the country. It is difficult to
realize that the sway of the Crescent lasted in Seville for as long a
period as has passed with us since the death of King Edward III.

Yet there are few monuments remaining to-day to commemorate a
civilization which endured five centuries. The Moors have left their
impress, it is true, in a scarcely definable way on the city, the
physiognomy of which is more Oriental than that of Granada, a later seat
of Mohammedan empire. But this is in great part due to the men who lived
under the Christian kings, who had caught the spirit of the Moors and
perpetuated their traditions of art and culture. Here we have no such
mighty memorials of the vanished race as the Mezquita or the Alhambra.
Still, a few memorials of that far-off age there are; and we will go in
search of them.

Here on the quays of the Guadalquivir rises a polygonal tower of three
storeys, poetically termed the "Torre del Oro." But here we find no
Danaë awaiting a rescuer, but only the harbour master and his
assistants. When the Almohades ruled in Seville a great iron chain was
drawn across the river, and a tower built on either side to support it.
The tower on the Triana side has long since disappeared, but the "Torre
del Oro" remains as it was built in 1220--except, indeed, for the small
turret or superstructure added in the eighteenth century. It is said,
too, that it was once adorned with beautiful glazed tiles, from which
(though this seems unlikely) it derived its name. In the days when it
stood the brunt of the attack from the squadron of Ramon Bonifaz, it was
connected with the Alcazar by a wall, called, in military language, a
curtain. This was not demolished until the year 1821. At the same time
disappeared the main entrance to the Alcazar.

The Almohades did much to embellish and to improve the city during their
century of sovereignty. The only important Mohammedan work remaining to
us in Seville belongs to that period, and illustrates the victory of the
African or Berber over the Byzantine influences traceable in earlier
Moorish architecture. The new conquerors of Andalusia were a virile,
hardy race, and there is something vigorous and coarse in their
handiwork. They developed an excessive fondness for ornamentation which
mars much of their work, and were too much addicted to the use of
painted stucco and gilding. To them we owe the stalactite roofing,
afterwards developed with such success at the Alhambra. "It is certain,"
says Don Pedro de Madrazo, "that the innovations characteristic of
Mussulman architecture in Spain during the eleventh and twelfth
centuries cannot be explained as a natural modification of the Arabic
art of the Khalifate, or as a prelude to the art of Granada, for
there is very little similarity between the style called Secondary or
Mauritanian, and the Arab-Byzantine and Andalusian; while on the other
hand it is evident that the Saracenic monuments of Fez and Morocco, of
the reigns of Yusuf Ben Tashfin, Abdul Ben Ali, Al Mansûr, and Nasr,
partake of the character of the ornamentation introduced by the
Almohades into Spain."

[Illustration: SEVILLE--THE GIRALDA]

The most important example of this style is the far-famed Giralda Tower,
at the north-eastern corner of the Cathedral, the most renowned of
minarets and one of the strongest buildings in the world. It was built
in the reign of Yakûb al Mansûr by an architect whose name is variously
written Gabir, Hever, and Yever. Quantities of Roman remains and
statuary were used in making the foundations. The wall at the base is
nine feet in thickness, which increases with the height. The lower part
is of stone, the upper part of brick. For the first fifteen metres the
four faces of the tower are plain; at that height begins a series of
vertical windows, mostly of two lights, some with the horseshoe, others
with the pointed arch; while on either side the masonry is carved into
what seem panels of trellis work. There is much in the details of this
decoration to interest the student of Moorish art, who will recognize in
them the inception of many forms developed (and not always to advantage)
at Granada.

But the Giralda as we now see it is a third as high again as it was
left by the Almohades. In their time it was crowned by a pinnacle to
which were attached four balls of gilded copper--one of which was so
large, we are told, that the city gate had to be widened that it might
be brought hither. The iron bar supporting the balls weighed about ten
hundredweights, and the whole was cast by a Sicilian Arab named Abu
Leyth at a cost of about fifty thousand pounds of our money. The balls
were thrown down by an earthquake in 1395, when their proportions were
carefully ascertained.

It was not till 1568 that the upper stage of the fabric, a graceful
Renaissance superstructure, was added by Fernando Ruiz. In the same year
Morel's great statue of Faith, cast in bronze, was placed on the apex to
symbolize the triumph of Christianity over the creed of Islam. It is a
clever piece of workmanship, for though it weighs twenty-five
hundredweights and measures fourteen feet in height, it sways and turns
with every wind. Hence the name applied to the Tower--Giralda, from _que
gira_, "which turns."

The first thing you will be asked to do by the guides at Seville is to
mount the Giralda, which you do by means of thirty-five inclined planes,
up which a horse might be ridden with ease to the very top. Each stage
of the ascent is named: "El Cuerpo de Campañas," after its fine peal of
bells, one of which weighs eighteen tons; "El Cuerpo del Reloj," after
the clock first set up in 1400--the earliest tower-clock in Spain. Then
there are the prettily-named floors of the Lilies and the Stars. Some of
the rooms are inhabited by the bell-ringers, who may at times be heard
practising not only the chimes but the peculiar guitar-playing of

The view from the summit of the tower I think, on the whole,
disappointing. The principal buildings of the city are too closely
grouped below the spectator to give a very fine effect to the panorama,
and the country round is not beautiful. Looking across the arid region
beyond the river, it is hard to believe that in Moorish times it was
renowned for its beauty and fertility and compared by Arabic writers to
the Garden of Eden. Looking down we scan the white city, a labyrinth of
lanes and alleys, only here and there a plaza opening like a lake among
the closely-set roofs. Far away to the north the Sierra Morena limits
the prospect. How often, when from this tower the muezzin proclaimed the
Islamic profession of faith, his eyes must have lingered apprehensively
on those mountains from whose crests the Christian seemed to hurl back
defiance and repudiation.

For the Giralda was the minaret of the great mosque begun by Yusuf, the
son of Abd-ur-Rahman, in 1171, and completed by his son and successor,
Yakub al Mansûr. The earlier mosque on the same site had been destroyed
by the Normans, but some portions of it seem to appear in the horseshoe
arches of the Puerta del Lagarto and the northern wall of the Patio de
los Naranjos. This latter court, which shuts in the Cathedral on the
north side, contains the fountain at which the devout Moslems performed
their ablutions. The picturesque Puerta del Perdon, through which you
pass on your way into the town, is a Mudejar, not a Moorish, horseshoe
arch, erected by Alfonso XI. to commemorate the victory at the Salado in
the year 1340. The doors with bronze plates, despite their Arabic
inscriptions, also date from that time. The gate was restored in the
sixteenth century and adorned with sculptures. The terra-cotta statues
of St. Peter and St Paul on the outer side are the work of Miguel
Florentin, one of the earliest of the apostles of Renaissance sculpture
to settle in Spain. The relief over the arch, representing the expulsion
of the money-changers from the Temple, is also by him, and commemorates
the substitution of the Lonja or Bourse for this gate as a rendezvous
for merchants. The belfry storey is modern. At the little shrine just
inside, to the left on entering, may be seen a "Christ bearing the
Cross," by Luis de Vargas. The money-changers and brokers have gone, but
this gate remains a favourite haunt of the gossips and loungers of
Seville, and in the cool of the evening is occupied by some pleasant
little family groups from the adjoining houses. The southern side of the
patio is occupied by the Cathedral, the western by the church or chapel
of the Sagrario. The house on the north side inside the old Moorish
wall, to the right of the Giralda gate (on entering), is occupied
by the Biblioteca Colombina, bequeathed by the son of Columbus. The
pulpit from which St. Vincent Ferrer, the "Angel of the Judgment,"
thundered forth his terrific fulminations against sinners, Jews, and
heretics, I omitted to notice.


Everyone who reaches the Patio de los Naranjos for the first time is
sure to enter the Cathedral, which he should not do until the Alcazar at
least has been visited. Not that the two great buildings of Seville
exhibit any transition of style from the one to the other, but because,
having begun the consideration of Moorish architectural work, we ought
naturally to pass on immediately to the Mauresque work of the first
century of Castilian rule.

The group of buildings which for greater clearness we will call, with
the Spaniards themselves, the Alcazares lie to the south of the
Cathedral, and are surrounded by an embattled wall built by the Arabs.
This enclosure, it should be understood, includes a great many private
houses and open spaces besides the Alcazar proper. Immediately inside
the wall are two squares called the Patio de las Banderas and Patio de
la Monteria. At the far end of the former is the office of the governor
of the palace, and to the right of this is an entrance whence a
colonnaded passage called the Apeadero leads straight through to the
gardens, or, by turning to the right, to the Patio del Leon. On one side
this latter square communicates with the Patio de la Monteria; on the
other side is the Palace of the Alcazar itself. I hope this will make
the rather puzzling topography of the place a little more intelligible.

Whether or not the Roman "Arx" stood on this spot, as tradition avers, I
cannot pretend to say. But there is no room for doubt that a palace
stood here in the days of the Abbadite amirs, and that this building was
restored and remodelled by the Almohades. To outward seeming the Alcazar
is as Moorish a monument as the Alhambra. In reality, few traces remain
of the palace raised by the Moslem rulers of either dynasty, and the
present building was mainly the work of the Castilian kings--especially
of Pedro the Cruel. But though built under and for a Christian monarch,
it is practically certain that the architects were Moors and good
Moslems, and that their instructions and intentions were to build a
Moorish palace. Historically, you may say, the Alcazar is a Christian
work; artistically, Mohammedan.

The actual palace occupies only a small part of the site of the older
structures, and incorporates but a few fragments of their fabrics. Since
Pedro the Cruel's day, so many sovereigns have restored, remodelled, and
added to the building, that it is far from being homogeneous, though we
can hardly agree with Contreras that it is "far from being a monument of
Oriental art."

Pedro built more than one palace, or, more correctly, two or three wings
of the same palace, in this enclosure. Traces of his Stucco Palace
(Palacio del Yeso) remain. Pedro looms very large in the history of
Seville. He plays as prominent a part here as Harûn-al-Rashid in the
story of Bagdad. He was fond of the Moors, and affected their costumes
and customs. He also favoured the Jews, and was alleged by his enemies
to be the changeling child of a Jewess. His treasurer and trusted
adviser was an Israelite named Simuel Ben Levi. He served the king long
and faithfully, till one day it was whispered that half the wealth that
should fill the royal coffers had been diverted into his own. Ben Levi
was seized without warning and placed on the rack, whereupon he expired,
not of pain, but of sheer indignation. Under his house--so the story
goes--was found a cavern in which were three piles of gold and silver,
twice as high as a man. Pedro on beholding these was much affected. "Had
Simuel surrendered a third of the least of these piles," he exclaimed,
"he should have gone free. Why would he rather die than speak?"

Stories innumerable are told of this king, a good many, no doubt, being
pure inventions. There is no reason to question the account of his
treatment of Abu Saïd, the Moorish Sultan of Granada. This prince had
usurped the throne, and being solicitous of Pedro's alliance, came to
visit him at the Alcazar with a magnificent retinue. The costliest
presents were offered to the Castilian king, whose heart, however, was
bent on possessing the superb ruby in the regalia of his guest. Before
many hours had passed, the Moors were seized in their apartments and
stripped of their raiment and valuables. Abu Saïd, ridiculously tricked
out, was mounted on a donkey, and with thirty-six of his courtiers,
hurried to a field outside the town, where they were bound to posts. A
train of horsemen appeared, Don Pedro at their head, and transfixed the
helpless men with darts, the king shouting, as he hurled his missiles at
his luckless guest: "This for the treaty you made me conclude with
Aragon! This for the castle you took from me!" The ruby which had been
the cause of the Moor's death was presented by his murderer to the Black
Prince, and now adorns the crown of England.

Nor did Pedro confine his fury to the sterner sex. Doña Urraca Osorio,
because her son was concerned in Don Enrique's uprising, was burned at
the stake on the Alameda. Her faithful servant, Leonor Dávalos, seeing
that the flames had consumed her mistress's clothing, threw herself into
the pyre to cover her nakedness, and was likewise burnt to ashes. Having
conceived a passion for Doña Maria Coronel, the king caused her husband
to be executed in the Torre del Oro. The widow, far from yielding to his
entreaties and threats, took the veil and destroyed her beauty by means
of vitriol. Pedro at once transferred his attentions to her sister, Doña
Aldonza, and met with more success. If a chronicler is to be believed,
he threw his brother Enrique's young daughter naked to the lions, like
some Christian virgin martyr. The generous (or possibly overfed) brutes
refused the proffered prey, and the whimsical tyrant ever afterwards
treated the maiden kindly. In memory of her experience, she was known as
"Leonor de los Leones."

The misdeeds and eccentricities of this extraordinary monarch have been
chronicled by Ayala (who was a partisan of Don Enrique), and given a
wider circulation by the pen of Prosper Mérimée. I cannot very well omit
the oft-told tale that gives its name to the curious little street, near
the Casa de los Abades, called Calle Cabeza de Don Pedro. There the
king's head may be seen in effigy high up on the wall at the corner of
the street. Pedro, prowling about the town after dark, had a quarrel
with a passer-by to whom, of course, he was unknown, and whom he
incontinently ran through the body. Thinking there had been no witness
to his crime, he stalked back to his palace. Next day he summoned the
Alcalde of Seville to his presence and asked for news of the town. The
magistrate told him that the body of a man had been found, murdered by
whom no one knew. The king would suffer no laxity on the part of his
officers. If the assassin were not discovered the alcalde must pay the
penalty of the crime with his own life. Luckily for the magistrate, an
old dame had beheld the encounter of the previous night, and now
hastened to him with the surprising news that the man he sought after
was no other than his majesty. She had recognized him beyond all
possibility of doubt, not only by his features, but by the peculiar
clicking of the royal knees. The alcalde hanged the king in effigy and
invited him to the spectacle. "It is well," said the prince, after an
ominous pause, "I am satisfied. Justice has been done."

I have told the tale rather hurriedly, as it is far from being well
authenticated, and because it will doubtless be familiar in some form or
another to most readers. That Pedro had a sense of humour is shown by
yet another incident. A priest for murdering a shoemaker was condemned
by the ecclesiastical tribune to be suspended from his sacerdotal
functions for the space of twelve months. On hearing this Pedro decreed
that any tradesman who murdered a priest should be punished by being
restrained from the exercise of his trade for the like period.

But now let us return to the palace of which the sinister king seems the
presiding genius.


Crossing the Plaza del Triunfo, which lies between the Cathedral and the
old Moorish walls, we enter the Patio de las Banderas, so called either
because a flag was hoisted here when the royal family was in residence,
or on account of the trophy, composed of the arms of Spain with crossed
flags, displayed over one of the arches. Pedro was accustomed to
administer justice, tempered with ferocity, after the Oriental fashion,
seated on a stone bench in a corner of this square. The surrounding
private houses occupy the site of the old Palace of the Almohades,
and one of the halls--the Sala de Justicia--is still visible. It is
entered from the Patio de la Monteria. Contreras assigns a date to this
room even earlier than the advent of the Almohades. It is square, and
measures nine metres across. The stucco ceiling is adorned with stars
and wreaths, and bordered by a painted frieze. The decorations consist
chiefly of inscriptions in Cufic characters. The right-angled apertures
in the walls were closed either by screens of translucent stucco or by
tapestries, "which must," says Gestoso y Perez, "have made the hall
appear a miracle of wealth and splendour." It was in this hall, often
overlooked by visitors, that Don Pedro overheard four judges discussing
the division of a bribe they had received. The question was abruptly
solved by the division of the disputants' heads and bodies. Thanks to
its isolation, the Sala de Justicia escaped the dreadful "restoration"
effected in the middle of the nineteenth century by the Duc de
Montpensier. The house No. 3, Patio de las Banderas, formed part, in the
opinion of Gestoso y Perez, of the Palacio del Yeso, or Stucco Palace,
of Don Pedro.

Passing through the colonnaded Apeadero, built by Philip III. in 1607,
and once used as an armoury, we reach the Patio del Leon, where
tournaments used to be held, and stand in front of the Palace of the
Alcazar. The façade is gorgeous yet elegant, of a gaudiness that in this
brilliant city of golden sunshine and white walls is not obtrusive. Yet,
despite the Moorish character of the decoration, the Arabic capitals
and pilasters, and the square entrance "in the Persian style," the front
is not that of an eastern palace; and it is without surprise that we
read over the portal, in quaint Gothic characters, the legend: "The most
high, the most noble, the most powerful, and the most victorious Don
Pedro, commanded these Palaces, these Alcazares, and these entrances to
be made in the year (of Cæsar) 1402" (1364). Elsewhere on the façade are
the oft-repeated Cufic inscriptions: "There is no conqueror but Allah,"
"Glory to our lord the Sultan" (Don Pedro), "Eternal glory to Allah,"
etc., etc.

This is a very different entrance from that of the Alhambra, the
building on the model of which the Alcazar was undoubtedly planned. From
the entrance a passage leads from your left to one extremity of the
Patio de las Doncellas, the central and principal court of the palace.
How this patio came to be so named I have never been able to ascertain.
There is an absurd story to the effect that here were collected the
girls fabled to have been sent by way of annual tribute by Mauregato to
the khalifa. Had such a transaction taken place, the tribute would have
been payable, of course, at Cordova, not at Seville. Moreover this court
was among the works executed in the fourteenth century.

The Alcazar strikes us (if we have come from Granada) as being on a much
smaller scale than the Alhambra. It is very much better preserved, as
it should be, seeing that it is a century younger; and if it vaguely
strikes one as being fitter for the abode of a court favourite than of a
monarch, it impresses one as being fresher, more elegant--in a word,
more artistic--than the older building.

The Patio de las Doncellas is an oblong, and surrounded by an arcade of
pointed and dentated arches which spring from the capitals of white
marble columns placed in pairs. The middle arch on each side is higher
than the others, and springs from oblong imposts resting on the twin
columns and flanked by the miniature pillars characteristic of the
Granadine architecture. The spandrils are beautifully adorned with
stucco work of the trellis pattern. On the frieze above runs a flowing
scroll with Arabic inscriptions, among them being "Glory to our lord,
the Sultan Don Pedro," and this very remarkable text: "There is but one
God; He is eternal; He was not begotten and has never begotten, and He
has no equal." This inscription, opposed to the tenets of Christianity,
was evidently designed by a Moslem artificer, who relied (and safely
relied) on the ignorance of his employers. The frieze is decorated also,
at intervals, by the escutcheons of Don Pedro and of Ferdinand and
Isabella, and by the well-known devices of Charles V., the Pillars of
Hercules with the motto "Plus Oultre." The inside of the arcade is
ornamented with a high dado of glazed tile mosaic (azulejo),
brilliantly coloured and with the highly-prized metallic glint. The
combinations and variations of the designs are very ingenious and
interesting. This decoration probably dates from Don Pedro's time.
Behind each central arch is a round-arched doorway, flanked by twin
windows. These are framed in rich conventional ornamental work. Through
little oblong windows above the doors light falls and illumines the
ceilings of the apartments opening into the court. The ceiling of the
arcade dates from the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, but was restored
in 1856. A deep cornice marks the division of the lower part of the
court from the upper storey, the front of which, with its white marble
arches, columns and balustrades, was the work of Don Luis de Vega, a
sixteenth-century architect.

Three recesses in the wall to the left of the entrance are pointed out
as the audience closets of King Pedro; but they are much more likely to
be walled-up entrances to formerly existing corridors and chambers


The door facing this wall gives access to the Hall of the Ambassadors
(Salon de los Embajadores), the finest apartment in this fairy palace.
The doors are magnificent examples of inlay work, and were, according to
the inscription on them, made by Moorish carpenters from Toledo in the
year 1364. The hall is about thirty-three feet square, and exhibits a
splendid combination of the various styles with the Gothic and
Renaissance. The ornamentation is rich and elaborate almost beyond
the possibility of description. The magnificent "half-orange" ceiling of
carved wood rests on a frieze decorated with the Tower and Lion. Then
come Cufic inscriptions on a blue ground and ugly female heads of the
sixteenth century. Then, below another band of decoration, is a row of
fifty-six busts of the Kings of Spain, from Receswinto the Goth to
Philip III. These date, at earliest, from the sixteenth century. The
wrought-iron balconies were made by Francisco Lopez in 1592. The
decoration of this splendid chamber is completed by a high dado of blue,
white, and green "azulejos." It was in this hall that Abu Saïd is said
to have been received by his treacherous host.

The Hall of the Ambassadors communicated on each side with the patio and
adjoining halls by entrances composed of three horseshoe arches,
supported by graceful pillars and enclosed in a circular arch.

Through the arch facing the entrance from the patio we pass into a long
narrow apartment, known as the Comedor, where the late Comtesse de Paris
was born in 1848. To the north of the salon is a small square chamber,
called the "Cuarto del Techo de Felipe Segundo," with a coffered ceiling
dating from the time of that king. North of this room is the exquisite
little Patio de las Muñecas (Court of the Dolls), purely Granadine in
treatment. The rounded arches are separated by cylindrical pillars--I
call them so for want of a better word--which rest on slender columns
of different colours, reminding one of the early or Cordovan style. The
capitals are rich, the pillars they uphold decorated with vertical lines
of Cufic inscriptions, many of which, says Contreras, are placed upside
down. The walls and spandrils are tastefully adorned with stucco work of
the trellis pattern, tiling and mosaic. This court, though still
harmonious and beautiful, suffered rather than benefited by its
restoration in 1843; but the architecture has been not unsuccessfully
reproduced in the upper storey.

This charming spot is by no means suggestive of deeds of blood and
violence; yet, just as they point out the Salon de los Embajadores as
the scene of the arrest of the Red Sultan by Don Pedro, so here do the
guides place the scene of the murder of Don Fadrique by the truculent
monarch--a fratricide to be avenged by another fratricide at Montiel.
The Master of Santiago, to give the Don his usual title, after a
successful campaign in Murcia, had been graciously received by his
brother the king, and presently went to pay his respects in another part
of the palace to the royal favourite, Maria de Padilla. It is said that
she warned him of his impending fate; perhaps by her manner, if not by
words, she tried to arouse in him a sense of danger, but the soldier
prince returned to the king's presence. With a shout, Pedro gave the
fatal signal. "Kill the Master of Santiago," he cried. Guards fell upon
the prince. His sword was entangled in his scarf, and he was butchered
without mercy. His retainers fled in all directions, pursued by Pedro's
guards. One took refuge in Maria de Padilla's own apartment, and tried
to screen himself by holding her little daughter, Doña Beatriz, before
him. Pedro tore the child away, and despatched the unfortunate man with
his own hand. The murder took place on May 19, 1358.

To the west of the court is a little room, elegantly decorated, and
named after the Catholic Sovereigns, by whom it was restored. Their
well-known devices appear, together with the Towers and Lions, among the
decorations, which reveal the influence of the plateresque style. The
north side of the patio is occupied by the Cuarto de los Principes, not
to be confounded with a similarly named apartment on the floor above. At
either end of this room is an arch, adorned with stucco work, admitting
to a cabinet or alcove. That to the right has a fine artesonado ceiling,
and that to the left is decorated in a species of Moorish plateresque
style. An inscription states that the frieze was made in the year 1543
by Juan de Simancas, master carpenter.

East of the Patio de las Muñecas, and occupying the north side of the
Patio de las Doncellas, is the long room called the Dormitorio de los
Reyes Moros. All the apartments in the Alcazar are fancifully named, but
the designation of none is quite so stupid and misleading as this. The
columns of the twin windows on either side of the door appear to date
from the time of the Khalifate. The doors themselves are richly inlaid
and painted with geometrical patterns. The three horseshoe arches
leading to the _al hami_, or alcove, also seem to belong to the early
period of Spanish-Arabic art. The room is so richly decorated that
scarce a handbreadth of the surface is free from ornament.

On the opposite side of the central court is the sumptuous Salon de
Carlos V., the ceiling of which was constructed by order of the emperor,
and is adorned with classical heads. The tile and stucco work is the
finest in the palace. There is a legend to the effect that St. Ferdinand
died in this room--on his knees, with a cord round his neck and a taper
in his hand--but it is unlikely that this part of the palace existed in
his time. The guide pointed out the room to the west of this salon as
the chamber of Maria de Padilla, but this again is, to put it mildly,

The upper chambers of the Alcazar, which are not accessible to the
general public, are very handsome. The floor overlooking the Patio del
Leon is occupied by the Sala del Principe, with its beautiful spring
windows, polychrome tiling, and columns brought from the old Moorish
Palace at Valencia. Adjacent is the Oratory, built by order of Ferdinand
and Isabella in 1504. The tile work is of extraordinary beauty, and
shows that the Moors had not a monopoly of talent in this kind of
decoration. The fine Visitation over the altar is signed by Francesco
Nicoloso, the Italian. On the same floor is the reputed bed-chamber of
Don Pedro. Over the door may be seen four death's-heads, and over
another entrance the curious figure of a man who looks back over his
shoulder at a grinning skull. These gruesome designs commemorate the
summary execution by the king of four judges whom he overheard
discussing the division of a bribe. The royal apartments on this floor
contain some precious works of art; but I abstain from mentioning the
most remarkable of these, as pictures are so often transferred in Spain
from one royal residence to another that such indications are often out
of date before they are printed.

The Alcazar, I think, disappoints most foreigners. The architectural and
decorative work of the Spanish Moors and their descendants pleases
people quite inexperienced in the arts by its mere prettiness, its
brilliance, its originality, and its colour; and it delights still more
those who are able to appreciate its marvellous combinations of
geometrical forms, its exquisite epigraphy, and all its subtle details.
But the average traveller stands between these two classes of observers.
He looks for grandeur where he should expect only beauty, and his eye is
wearied by the wealth of conventional ornamentation. What I think is
conspicuously lacking in the Alcazar, and to almost the same extent in
the Alhambra, is atmosphere. Memories do not haunt you in these gilded
halls. There is nothing about them to suggest that anything ever
happened here. The legends tell us the contrary; but assuredly no one
was ever less successful in impressing his personality on his abode than
were the founders and inhabitants of the Alcazar.

The gardens are really the most pleasing spot within the enclosure. They
form a delicious pleasaunce, where the orange and citron diffuse their
fragrance, and magic fountains spring up suddenly beneath the
passenger's feet, sprinkling him with a cooling dew. I noticed some
flower beds shaped like curiously formed crosses, which the gardener
told me were the crosses of the orders of Calatrava, Santiago,
Alcantara, and Montesa. You are also shown the Baths of Maria de
Padilla, which are approached through a gloomy arched entrance. In the
favourite's time they had no other roof than the sky, and no further
protection from prying eyes than that afforded by a screen of orange and
lemon trees. In Mohammedan times the baths were probably used by the
ladies of the harem.

But if the Alcazar is a disappointment to the majority of visitors, I
cannot conceive the Cathedral being so, despite the unfavourable
criticism to which it has been subjected. The exterior, it is true, is
unimpressive, and the vastness of the pile is largely responsible for
the powerful effect proclaimed by the interior. But when the worst has
been urged, this, the third largest church in Christendom, remains a
grand, a solemn, and a magnificent temple, thoroughly Christian in
atmosphere and details.


I like the story of its foundation better than the silly tales about Don
Pedro, or about crucifixes helping jilted damsels. It has, moreover, the
very unusual merit of being true. After the conquest by St. Ferdinand
the old mosque of the Almohades was "purified," and served as the
cathedral till, towards the end of the fourteenth century, it became
practically ruined by earthquakes. The dean and chapter took counsel
together, and at a conclave held in the Court of the Elms, on the south
side of the mosque, it was resolved to build a new church forthwith.
Then uprose a zealous prebendary and cried: "Let us build a church so
great that those who come after us will think us mad to have attempted
it!" The proposal was adopted with acclamation; and the great-hearted
priests bound themselves to contribute from their own stipends as much
money as might be necessary, should the revenue of the See prove unequal
to the cost of the undertaking. They could never hope to see the fruit
of their labours. I do not think the name of any one of them has been
preserved. The architect alike has been forgotten. All concerned sought
only the greater glorification of their faith. Such greatness of spirit
deserved a noble monument.[*]

[Note *: Instances of this lofty spirit are frequent in the history
of the Spanish peoples. When, after their first uprising against the
mother country, the people of Honduras (Central America) met in Congress
to frame a Constitution, a priest rose and proposed that before anything
else was done, every slave in the country should be set free. And the
measure was carried unanimously and enthusiastically by the Congress,
which must have included many slaveholders. It took the United States
forty years to follow this example.]

The Cathedral took one hundred and seventeen years to build, the first
stone having been laid in 1402 and the lantern having been finished by
Juan Gil de Hontañon in 1519. Of the mosque certain portions were left:
the Giralda, the Patio de los Naranjos, and the portal called the Puerta
del Lagarto. The latter is named after the wooden model of an alligator
which hangs from the roof. Three or four centuries ago the mummified
form of a real alligator hung there. It was one of the gifts of an
Egyptian khalifa to the daughter of a Castilian king, whom he sought in
marriage. The saurian was accompanied from the banks of the Nile by
various animals peculiar to that fertile region, but these interesting
offerings failed to make any impression on the heart of the Infanta.
Thus the forlorn-looking effigy of the reptile is in reality an
affecting memorial of unrequited love.

Churches, it has been remarked, were considered in the Middle Ages very
proper repositories for curiosities of all sorts. The cloister of the
Lagarto contains also an elephant's tusk, weighing seventy pounds, and a
horse's bit, said to be that of Babieca, the Cid's charger.

Very grateful is the sudden cool of the great church when you enter it
from the sun-scorched plaza. Then there comes over you a feeling of
profound reverence, followed very soon by an infinite restfulness. There
is no place in Seville where you more willingly linger. A holy calm
pervades the whole building, and you wonder that it should have
suggested to Théophile Gautier such fantastic comparisons. If it were
not the temple of Christ, I could believe it to be the temple of

The Puerta del Lagarto is the favourite entrance, but when the day comes
for a painstaking examination, you would do well to begin at one of the
entrances in the west front. Of these there are three: the Puerta Mayor,
the Puerta del Bautismo, and the Puerta San Miguel. All are enriched
with good statuary, the graceful and vigorous statues of the side doors
being the work of Pedro Millán, a fifteenth-century sculptor of renown.
Entering, we set foot on the fine marble floor and make out the
stupendous church to be composed of a nave and of two aisles on either
side. The nave, you are told, is one hundred feet high and fifty feet
wide. The noble columns, almost free of adornment, which uphold the
spacious vaults recede in the far distance like trees in an overarching
avenue. The effect, fine as it is, might have been much finer if the
centre of the nave had not been blocked up by the choir. The "Trascoro,"
or screen, facing the west entrance, is richly adorned with red columns.
Over the altar is a fourteenth-century picture of the Madonna, and a
painting by Pacheco, the Inquisitor, representing St. Ferdinand
receiving the keys of Seville. Over one of the beautiful little side
altars of the choir is one of the rare examples of good Spanish
sculpture--a Virgin, by Juan Martinez Montañez. On the altar side the
choir is shut off by a sixteenth-century railing, attributed to Sancho
Muñoz. This protects from intrusion their reverences the canons, who
sit in stalls, exquisitely carved between the years 1475 and 1538. The
patterns and coloured inlaid work of the backs reveal Moorish influence.
The lectern was the work of Bartolomé Morel. When the lantern collapsed
in 1888, the choir was severely damaged. The architect who restored the
fabric proposed to move it considerably nearer the high altar, but the
proposal was stupidly rejected. A good opportunity for improving the
appearance of the Cathedral was thus lost.

The retablo of the high altar is the quintessence of late Gothic
sculpture. It is a marvellous work of extraordinary delicacy and
elaboration. Each of the forty-five compartments into which it is
divided contains a subject from the Bible or from the lives of the
saints, carved, painted, or gilded with the rarest skill. Begun by the
Fleming Dancart, in 1479, this wonderful triumph of the carver's art was
completed by Spanish artists in 1526. The earlier work is in the middle.
Crowning it is a gilt crucifix and the statues of Our Lady and St. John.

There are some very interesting objects in the Sacristy, as it is
called, between the reredos and the hind wall of the chancel. The
sacristan will show you the reliquary, shaped like a triptych, which
came from Constantinople and was presented to the old cathedral by
Alfonso the Learned. The double folding door is also said to have come
from the Moorish temple. With a glance at the fine terra-cotta statues
by Miguel Florentin, Juan Marin, and others, we pass behind the chancel
wall, and see before us the plateresque Royal Chapel, built by Charles
V. over the remains of certain of his ancestors. Beneath the altar lies
the body of St. Ferdinand in crown and royal robes. He lies here in the
heart of his fairest conquest, even as his descendants, Ferdinand and
Isabella, sleep in the heart of Granada. You may see his sword, the
handle of which was denuded of gems by Pedro the Cruel, lest they should
excite the cupidity of others. That royal humorist also lies here, near
his saintly ancestor and the one woman whom he ever loved, the gentle
Maria de Padilla. Then there is to be seen the Vírgen de los Reyes, an
image presented by St. Louis of France to St. Ferdinand of Castile.
(Strange that when saints filled the thrones of Europe, things went on
no better than they do now!) Another relic highly prized is the Vírgen
de las Batallas, an ivory statuette which St. Ferdinand used to carry at
his saddle-bow. These memorials of the heroic past give you little time
or inclination for an examination of the chapel itself, which has a
lofty dome, and is flanked at the entrance by twelve good statues by
Peter Kempener--whom Spaniards call Campaña. At least (so I read) he
drew them on the wall with charcoal for a ducat each, and they were
executed by Lorenzo del Vao and Campos in 1553.

This chapel and the reredos of the chancel must be called, I suppose,
the great sights of the Cathedral, though to some its chief treasures
will be the numerous works of Murillo enshrined in its chapels and
dependencies. For myself, I like the building for its own sake, or, to
use a very hard-worked word, for its atmosphere. As you cross the nave,
looking upwards, where the light streams through the tall clerestory
windows, you will be tempted to neglect the dark chapels in the aisles,
and to revel for a while in these exquisite symphonies in coloured
glass. Few of them are of Spanish workmanship. Master Christopher the
German (Micer Cristobal Aleman) began the first--the first stained-glass
window in Seville--in 1504, the work being afterwards carried on by the
German Heinrich, the Flemings Beernaert of Zeeland and Jan Beernaert,
Carel of Bruges, and Arnulf of Flanders. The best windows are those
adorned with the Ascension, St. Mary Magdalen, Lazarus, and the Entry
into Jerusalem, by Arnulf and his brother, and the Resurrection, by
Carel of Bruges.

In the south transept is a monument, striking in itself and of very
recent erection, which will in the course of time attract more pilgrims
than the soldier saint's shrine. For here are contained the remains of a
man who added not a Moorish city but a continent to the realm of Leon
and Castile. The ashes of Christopher Columbus repose in a coffin which
is borne on the shoulders of four figures of bronze, representing the
kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon, and Navarre.


These figures are not wanting in majesty and expression. All are crowned
and wear semi-sacerdotal garb. Castile holds an oar, Leon a cross.
Behind them come Aragon and Navarre, sombre of countenance, wearing
shirts of mail. On the bosom of each is displayed the national
escutcheon: the Towers of Castile, the Lions of Leon, the Bats of
Aragon, and the Chains of Navarre. The pall bears words traced by
Isabella herself:

    "A Castilla y Leon,
     Nuevo mundo dió Colon,"

and round the pedestal is an inscription which relates how the body of
the immortal Admiral of the Indies was brought here when the "ungrateful
America" revolted from the Spanish yoke. But however much the Spain of
to-day may honour Columbus dead, it is hardly for her to reproach any
land with ingratitude towards him.

Half-way between the main entrance and the choir, the Great Navigator's
son is buried. An inscription on a slab invites the reader to pray for
the soul of Don Fernando Colon, who, as Ford very truly says, would have
been considered a great man if he had been the son of a less great
father. He rendered important services to literature, and left behind
him a library of 15,000 volumes, including some manuscripts of extreme
rarity. It was ultimately acquired by the Crown, and constitutes the
basis of the Biblioteca Columbina, housed in the Patio de los Naranjos.

The Royal Chapel is flanked by two little chapels, one of which,
dedicated to St. Peter, contains some Zurbarans, impossible to
distinguish in the dim light; while in the other (Capilla de la
Concepcion grande) is a fine monument of Cardinal Cienfuegos and a
crucifix attributed to Alonso Cano. Opening on to the north side are the
chapels del Pilar, de las Evangelistas, de las Doncellas, de San
Francisco, de Santiago, de las Escales, and del Bautisterio. In the
latter is one of Murillo's most famous works, "The Vision of St. Anthony
of Padua." Of Cano's works there is a specimen, the "Virgin and Child,"
over the altar of Belen, adjacent to the Puerta de los Naranjos. Valdés
Leal and Juan de las Roelas are represented in the chapel of Santiago,
and Herrera the younger by an ambitious "Apotheosis of St. Francis" in
the chapel of that saint. In the Capilla de las Escalas are two works of
Luca Giordano, strong in drawing, colour, and character. The same chapel
contains the fine tomb of Bishop Baltasar del Rio, dating from about

In the south aisle are the chapels of the Mariscal, San Andres, las
Dolores, la Antigua, San Hermenegildo, San José, Santa Ana, and Santa
Laureana. These chapels are richer in sculpture than in painting.
Kempener designed the beautiful altar-piece in the Capilla del Mariscal,
and Montañez the grand statue of St. Hermenegildo in his chapel. On the
west side of the Puerta de San Cristobal, over a small altar, is the
"Generacion" of Luis de Vargas--the much praised "leg" picture which
has given its name to the chapel. The fresco of St. Christopher that
faces it is remarkable only for its size. You find such pictures of the
saint at the entrances to many Spanish churches, the old belief having
been that those who gazed upon it would not die unpreparedly that day. A
much more ancient and interesting mural painting in the Byzantine style
is to be seen in the large chapel of the "Antigua," where it was placed
in 1578. The retablo of St. Anne's Chapel is also very old, and comes
from the former cathedral. The next chapel, San José, is adorned by
Valdés Leal's "Espousals of the Virgin." The Cathedral does not contain
any fine ancient tombs. One of the best is that of Archbishop Mendoza,
by Miguel Florentin, in the Antigua Chapel.

As every visitor to Seville professes a special devotion to Murillo, he
will probably overlook the fine "Nativity" by Luis de Vargas to the
right, on entering, of the Puerta del Nacimiento, and hurry at once to
the more famous master's "Guardian Angel," between Puerta Mayor and
Puerta del Bautismo. His "St. Leander" and "St. Isidore" are to be seen
in the great Sacristy, where they are eclipsed by Kempener's beautiful
"Descent from the Cross," before which Murillo himself used to stand for
hours in rapt contemplation. The French cut this priceless work into
five pieces, intending to remove it, and although their design was
frustrated, the subsequent restoration was badly effected. The
Sacristia de los Calices is a storehouse of art treasures. Here you may
see Goya's "Saint Justa and Saint Rufina," a "Trinity" by "El Greco,"
the "Angel de la Guarda" and "St. Dorothy" of Murillo, the "Death of a
Saint" by Zurbaran, and the superb crucifix of Montañez. A "Conception"
by Murillo is in the Chapter House, a splendid hall in the Renaissance

In the great Sacristy is preserved the "treasury" of the Cathedral. It
includes a wonderful monstrance by that prince of goldsmiths, Juan de
Arfe; and something more interesting in the shape of keys presented to
St. Ferdinand on the surrender of the city. The key presented by the
Jews is iron-gilt and bears the inscription in Hebrew: "The King of
Kings will open, the King of all earth will enter." The key offered by
the Moors is silver-gilt, and the Arabic inscription reads: "May Allah
render eternal the dominion of Islam in this city."

Attached to many (if not to all) Spanish cathedrals, one finds large
chapels which are the official parish churches of the cities--the
parochial clergy being distinct from the diocesan chapter. At Seville,
as at Granada, this chapel is called the "Sagrario," and is built at the
west end of the Patio de los Naranjos and entered from a door in the
north aisle of the Cathedral, near the Capilla del Bautisterio. Built
between 1618 and 1662 by Miguel Zumarraga and Fernando de Iglesias,
the church is in the Baroque style, and roofed with a single and very
daring arch. The rich statues that adorn the interior are by Dayne and
Jose de Arce. There is a notable retablo by Pedro Roldán that came from
a Franciscan convent now suppressed. In one of the side chapels is a
fine "Virgin" by Montañez. Beneath this church the Archbishops of
Seville are now buried.


As we emerge from this vast temple, we remain for a few seconds dazzled
by the sunlight. Then as we turn to the left we notice a rectangular,
classic-looking building, standing between the Cathedral and the walls
of the Alcazar. This is one of the numerous deserted Lonjas or Exchanges
of Spain. The Patio de los Naranjos was formerly infested by the
merchants and brokers of the city, to the great scandal of the devout.
Archbishop de Rojas prevailed upon Philip II. to erect an Exchange or
Casa de Contratacion, as Sir Thomas Gresham had just done in London. The
building was begun in 1598, at precisely the moment when the commerce of
Seville began to decline. It reflects the spirit of Philip II. and of
his architect, Herrera--stern, sober, simple. There is a fine inner
court, with Doric and Ionic columns. Here the South American archives
are deposited, a rich mine for some future historian who shall have the
patience to examine them. As an exchange, the Lonja soon proved a
failure. It was early deserted by business men, and is best remembered
as the seat of Murillo's Academy of Painters.

The spacious days of Charles V. and Philip II. were productive of
innumerable public buildings, mostly in a quasi-Roman style and all very
pompous and oppressive. The Town-hall or Ayuntamiento of Seville is an
extremely ornate structure, in what is called the plateresque or Spanish
Renaissance style. It stands in the Plaza de la Constitucion, where the
electric cars perform intricate evolutions. Its effect is lost through
its being placed on the ground level, without terrace, steps, or
approach, or even railings to prevent inquisitive urchins staring in at
the windows. The building is long and remarkably narrow, and of two
storeys. I have seldom seen a public building more elaborately adorned
or more badly placed. The interior is more satisfactory. The lower
council chamber is a magnificent hall, worthy, as a Spanish writer
remarks, of the Senate of a great republic. A noble staircase, with a
fine ceiling, leads to the upper council chamber, which has some
splendid artesonado work. Opposite--that is, on the east side of--this
building is the Audiencia or Court-house, where I whiled away a hot
afternoon by assisting at a Spanish trial. The case was of no particular
interest, but the differences in the procedure and constitution of the
court from our own were worth noting. There were three judges, who wore
black silk gowns, without wigs or bands. Over their heads was the arms
of Spain, and on the desk, facing the president, a large crucifix. The
jury sat on chairs on each side of the judges. A desk was reserved for
the public prosecutor, another for the prisoner's advocate. The judges
took far less part in the proceedings than they do in France. The case
seemed to be left entirely to the public prosecutor, who, it is just to
say, allowed the accused to make long rambling statements, without the
least attempt to interrupt or confuse him. The public at the rear of the
court appeared to take far more interest in the proceedings than any
immediately concerned in them.

The Plaza de la Constitucion, outside the court, is the place of
execution. But the death penalty is very rarely inflicted in Spain. Two
or three years ago the Crown could find no pretext for pardoning two
particularly atrocious murderers, who were accordingly put to death by
the garrote in this square. The people of Seville, not being accustomed
like the more enlightened Britons to some two dozen executions a year,
showed their sense of the awful occurrence and of the disgrace to their
city by donning the deepest mourning.

But the stranger does not come to Seville to visit courts or to hear
about public executions--unless these happened two or three centuries
ago, when as Sir W. S. Gilbert somewhere observes, they are looked at
through the glamour of romance. The searcher for the beautiful is
usually rewarded here by finding it in unexpected corners of the
monotonous labyrinth of lanes and alleys. Plunging into the maze of
white-walled dwellings in the north-eastern quarter of the city, a
minaret only less beautiful than the Giralda seems to beckon us from
afar. It appears and reappears, and we lose our way a dozen times before
we stand at its foot. It is a beautiful tower in the purest Almohade or
Mauritanian style, without any features borrowed from Christian
architecture. The highest edifice, this, in Seville, except the Giralda.
From its summit Cervantes used to scan the streets below, at certain
hours of the day, for the form of a local beauty of whom he was
enamoured. Here, of course, stood a mosque in Mussulman days, on the
site of the adjacent church of San Marcos. The portal is very fine, but
the Moorish features are the work of Mudejar and not Almohade artisans.

We wander on, and are presently surprised by the superb frontal of the
convent church of Santa Paula. It is faced with white and blue azulejos,
the work of Francesco of Pisa and Pedro Millán. Over the arch are
disposed seven medallions illustrating the birth of Christ and the life
of St. Paul, the figures white on a blue ground. On the tympanum of the
arch is displayed the Spanish coat of arms in white marble, flanked by
the escutcheons of the inevitable and ubiquitous Ferdinand and Isabella.
Having seen this, it is hardly worth our while to enter the church,
which contains the tombs of the founders, Dom Joao de Henriquez,
Constable of Portugal, and his wife Donha Isabel. In the same quarter of
the city, though some distance away, is a monument of some
interest--the church of Omnium Sanctorum, built in 1356 on the site of a
Roman temple. Here again there is a tower graceful enough, in its lower
storey recalling the Giralda. The church exhibits a rather happy
combination of the Moorish and Gothic styles. On one of the doors is the
coat of arms of Portugal, commemorating the pious generosity of Diniz,
king of that country. This must have belonged to the earlier structure.


Finding your way back to the Sierpes, you may inspect the interesting
Church of the University. Here repose the members of the illustrious
Ribera family, which looms very large in the history of Seville. Their
remains were brought hither on the suppression of the Cartuja, outside
the town. The oldest tomb is that of the eldest Ribera, who died in
1423, aged 105. He thus lived through the reigns of Alfonso XI., Pedro
the Cruel, Enrique II., Juan I., Enrique III., and Juan II., yet, as is
usually the case with centenarians, he failed to engrave his name as
deeply on history as did some of his shorter lived descendants.

The famous Duke of Alcalá, the owner of the Casa de Pilatos, is
commemorated by a fine bronze effigy--one of the few sepulchral
monuments of this kind in Spain. At the feet of Don Lorenzo Figueroa a
dog is sculptured, most probably the symbol of fidelity, but some say,
his favourite. Over the altar are three good pictures by Roelas, one of
the ablest interpreters of the Andalusian spirit. Here, too, are a
couple of works by Alonso Cano, "St. John the Baptist" and "St. John the
Divine." The statue of St. Ignatius Loyola by Montañez is said to be a
faithful likeness of the saint. It was coloured by Pacheco the

The adjacent University was originally a Jesuit college, and was built
in the middle of the sixteenth century, after designs by Herrera. It is
not very well attended to-day, and from the outside would be taken for
an inconsiderable college. It seems to have been much more flourishing a
hundred years ago, when our countryman Blanco White attended its
courses. The original university was founded by Canon Rodrigo de
Santuella in 1472, in the Colegio Maese Rodrigo, near the Cathedral.

From the last resting-place of the Riberas in the centre of the town it
is not far to their old home, the Casa de Pilatos, though Dædalus
himself might easily get lost in this labyrinth of streets resembling
each other as closely as those of an American city. The names of some of
these thoroughfares--Francos, Gallegos, Genovés--remind us of the days
of St. Ferdinand, when the room of the banished Moors was filled by
settlers, not only from all parts of Spain, but from the rest of Europe.
It was the same with all the towns resumed by the Spaniards. These
foreign colonies had their own laws and customs, and yet they were
entirely absorbed by the natives and left no trace or influence behind
them. The Spaniards possessed, in those days at any rate, the same
wonderful capacity for the absorption of other races displayed by the
Anglo-Saxons in America. There was nothing new in this; for they had
absorbed the Visigoths, just as they had absorbed the Romans before
them. The Castilian tongue is indeed Latin, but I fancy that the people
of Spain are as much the children of the soil--_autochthones_--as the
Athenians themselves.

Reflections like these--which I do not expect will profoundly influence
ethnologists--occupied me as I pursued my tortuous course to the Casa de
Pilatos. When I at last found it, I was struck by the plain and
dignified exterior. To the left of the door I observed a plain cross of
jasper. The story goes that in October, 1521, the Marquis de Tarifa, on
his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, placed this cross against the
wall and counted thence the fourteen stations of the Cross, according to
their order in the Holy City. The last fortuitously coincided with the
Cruz del Campo, raised near the Caños de Carmona in 1482. I doubt if the
marquis had any such thought when he raised this jasper cross, for the
distance from the Prætorium at Jerusalem to the chapel in the Church of
the Holy Sepulchre that marks the site of Calvary is greatly less than
the distance between the two points mentioned here in Seville. But why
the house was called after Pilate is not easy to determine. It was begun
in 1500 and finished thirty-three years after by Don Per Afan de
Ribera, first Duke of Alcalá, and sometime Viceroy of Naples. This great
nobleman was the Mæcenas of his generation. Not only did he enrich his
house with priceless works of art and a fine library--since removed to
Madrid--but he made it the rendezvous of all the art and talent of
Andalusia. Hither came Gongora, the poet, to converse, it is said, with
Cervantes. Here Pacheco, the artist-inquisitor, discussed the mission of
art with Herrera. Here came Rioja, Cespedes, Jauregui, and others of
less note. The example set by the Medici was followed by many of the
great grandees of Spain at this time. The Velascos presided over a
coterie of literati at Burgos; the Duke of Villahermosa, at Zaragoza,
affected to delight in the company of the brilliant and learned. Even so
small a place as Plasencia had its own patron of the arts in Don Luis de
Avila, and in Madrid there was "the feast of reason and the flow of
soul" at the mansion of Don Antonio Perez. But for all its associations,
like the Alcazar, the Casa de Pilatos remains very much like a museum.


The building illustrates the fashion of the Mudejar and Renaissance
styles, almost to the effacement of the former. In the architecture of
this epoch we usually find an Arabic groundwork nearly concealed by
ornament of the newer style. The geometrical designs remain, but the
flowing inscriptions, so important a feature of Moorish decoration, have
gone. A thousand details would show the veriest tyro that this was
not the work of Moors, yet the central court bears a general
resemblance to the Alcazar. Pedro de Madrazo directs attention to the
harmonious variety of the arches and windows, and compares it to the
admired disorder of the forest and plantation. I imagine the architect
had the Court of the Lions, at Granada, in his mind. Here dolphins
uphold the upper basin of the fountain, and noble statues of the deities
of Greece and Rome--the gift of Pope Pius V.--stand in the angles of the
court. Hence you pass into the so-called Prætorium, with its splendid
coffered ceiling and beautiful tiling, where you may distinguish the
Spanish azulejos of the best moulds by the designs stamped on them of
fanciful monsters, grotesques, and escutcheons. Then there is the superb
staircase with its "half-orange" ceiling, and the chapel with its mixed
Gothic and Mudejar features. What grandee in Europe has a finer home
than this? And yet, I am told the owner, His Grace of Medinaceli, comes
here but seldom.

There are many old mansions in Seville worth a walk on a cool day--and a
glimpse. They are not great sights, such as those we have already seen
in the city, or such as are more numerous in Paris and Rome, Brussels
and Venice. But those visitors who are really interested in Seville, and
are capable of appreciating Moorish and plateresque art in their various
imitations and combinations, will enjoy these little excursions. There
is an interesting old house at No. 6, Abades. It is now a
boarding-house, and you may live there in princely fashion for six
francs a day. No one knows how old it is. It belonged at the beginning
of the fifteenth century to a family of Genoese merchants called Pinelo.
In 1407 the Infante Fadrique, uncle of Juan II., lodged there. What was
the occasion of his visit to Seville I forget. Afterwards it became the
property of the "abbés" or "abades" of the Cathedral. Many of these
reverend gentlemen still patronize the establishment, and may be seen
puffing their "Puros" in the court, which is said to be a fine example
of the Sevillian Renaissance style. That style I conceive to have been
compounded of all pre-existing styles. Digby Wyatt, however, considered
the house to be much more Italian than Spanish. It is a vast place,
where dark corridors seem to lead indefinitely into space.

There is rather less to reward your curiosity at the Palacio de las
Dueñas, a vast mansion belonging to the Duke of Alba. Once it boasted
eleven "patios," with nine fountains and one hundred columns of marble.
A fine court, surrounded by a graceful arcade, remains. The staircase
recalls that of the Casa de Pilatos. Our countryman Lord Holland stayed
here a hundred years ago. He was a great admirer of Spanish literature
at a time when it was hardly as much a matter of interest to foreigners
as it is at present.

Then there is the Casa de Bustos Tavera, where, according to Lope de
Vega, Sancho the Brave used to visit the "Star of Seville"; and the
Casa Olea, in the Calle Guzman el Bueno, with a hall of Mudejar
workmanship dating from the days of Don Pedro.

It is the romantic aspect of Seville that has impressed some visitors
much more than its historical or archæological side. Over the poets and
dramatists of the Romantic school the city exercised a strange
fascination. Byron and Alfred de Musset found the atmosphere of the
place most congenial. Through their rose-coloured spectacles every girl
they met in these narrow white streets seemed "preternaturally pretty."
The principal business of the inhabitants in the 'twenties and 'thirties
of last century, to judge by the French poet's descriptions, was
love-making, strumming the guitar, and duelling. That Spain was ever a
romantic country in the vulgarly accepted sense of the term, I doubt.
Roman Catholic customs and institutions forbid that free intermingling
of the sexes from which result the thousand and one emotions,
complications, situations, and catastrophes that are the ingredients of
romance. In countries like Spain, where the canon law obtained, there
could be, for instance, no runaway matches, no desperate flights in a
post-chaise to a church (say) over the Portuguese border, with an irate
father in pursuit. There could not have been, and cannot be at the
present time, any walks with the beloved down the moonlit grove, any
trysts by the stile or the ruined keep, any rendezvous among the
rose-bushes. If a Spanish girl did any of these things, she would
indeed, in French parlance, have thrown her cap over the mill. The
affair would no longer have the complexion of a romance but of a sordid
intrigue. This being so, I was delighted to hear that occasionally
clandestine marriages are resorted to in Spain, and that fond lovers
find a means of uniting in defiance of stern parents, even in Andalusia.
The couple, accompanied by a few friends, contrive to sit next to each
other in church, as far out of sight of the rest of the worshippers as
possible. Their troths are plighted in an undertone just loud enough for
the witnesses to hear, the ring slipped on under cover of the mantilla,
and the hands joined at the precise moment the all-unconscious celebrant
turns towards the congregation at the end of the mass and pronounces the
benediction. In the eyes of the Church the two are married as
irrevocably as if the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of Toledo had performed
the ceremony. The vows have been exchanged before witnesses in a sacred
edifice, and an anointed priest has simultaneously blessed the
contracting parties from the altar. What can parents do? The Don may
rage, the Doña may upbraid, but when the Church makes itself an
accomplice of lovers, even in Spain the law must acquiesce. And there is
no divorce!

That genuine romance tinges the lives of Spanish men and women, few who
know them can doubt. But the Andalusia of musical comedy, the creation
of which is largely due to the poets of the Romantic school, does not
exist. Seville never was a glorified Cremorne; and persons of a
Byronic turn would find adventures suitable to their mood more readily
by the banks of the Thames and the Hudson than by those of the


For all that, some romantic stories are told about old Seville, and one
of these has some foundation of truth. About the middle of the
seventeenth century, the city re-echoed with reports of the wild and
desperate doings of a certain wealthy gallant, Don Miguel de Marana by
name. By some he is called De Mañara. Marriage with the heiress of the
Mendoza family did not sober him, though an alliance with so solemn a
thing as money generally brings the most hot-headed Latin youth to his
senses. Like many other wicked persons, our gallant had a nice taste in
art, and is said to have encouraged Murillo. Now comes the remarkable
and the improving part of the story. It is not safe to vouch for the
accuracy of the details of any part of it. One morning Seville woke up
to find--no doubt to her unspeakable consolation--the wicked De Marana a
changed man. He became a saint--an ascetic in the seventeenth-century
acceptation of the word. The wine-bibber forswore even chocolate as too
strong a beverage.

What had happened to produce so edifying a change? Accounts vary. The
most picturesque explanation is that the Don, prowling about the streets
one night, perceived a funeral procession approaching. Curiosity
impelled him to look at the face of the corpse, which was uncovered, and
lo! it was his own.

If you doubt the sincerity of Don Miguel's conversion, you have only to
visit the Church of La Caridad, which, together with the adjoining
hospital, he founded and wherein he was buried. I do not think you will
share the opinion of Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell that this is the most
elegant church in Seville, but you will be rewarded for the visit by
seeing some very remarkable works of art. Near the entrance are the two
extraordinary pictures which proclaim the artist, Valdés Leal, to have
been a master of realism. One of these exhibits a corpse at which,
Murillo declared, you must look with your nostrils shut. The church
contains six canvases by Murillo himself--"Moses Striking the Rock,"
"The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes," "The Charity of St. Juan de
Dios," "The Annunciation," "The Infant Jesus," and "St. John." The third
is really the finest of these pictures, though the first, commonly
called "La Sed" (Thirst), is the most generally preferred. The figures
are, as usual in this master's compositions, ordinary Seville types.
Over the altar is another great work, "The Descent from the Cross," by
Pedro Roldán.

The "Caridad" has indeed the most important collection of pictures in
southern Spain, next to the Museo, as the old Convent of La Merced is
now called. There, of course, some of the greatest works of art by
Spanish masters are to be seen. There you may see the "St. Thomas of
Villanueva" giving alms, Murillo's favourite picture; his beautiful
"St. Felix of Cantalicio," and "St. Leander and St. Buenaventura," and
his famous "Vírgen de la Servilleta" which was _not_ painted on a
serviette. On the south wall hangs his "Saints Justa and Rufina"
(holding the Giralda), exquisitely coloured, and on the north wall the
admirable "St. Anthony de Padua." But one grows a little weary of
Murillo in Seville. Zurbaran, the great painter of monks, is well
represented by the wonderful "St. Hugh in the Refectory," and
"Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas." This last picture, I am told, was
carried off by Soult, and recovered by Wellington at Waterloo. The older
Herrera's "St. Hermenegild" is good, but by no means Andalusian. The
native temper finds more truthful expression in the works of Roelas,
Valdés Leal, Cespedes and Frutet, which may be studied to the best
advantage here. Curiously enough, the gallery contains not a single work
by Velazquez, who was born in Seville; nor any paintings by Alonso Cano
or Luis de Vargas. Spanish sculpture, of which one sees so little, is
not unworthily represented by a beautiful St. Bruno by Montañez, and by
some busts and crucifixes of less importance. The students of Andalusian
art must also visit the Hospital de la Sangre, near the Macarena Gate,
for some splendid works by Zurbaran and by his less-known forerunner
Roelas. The three pictures ascribed to the last named are, however, very
awkwardly placed and difficult to see.

Murillo's house is still standing in the Plaza de Alfaro in the old
Ghetto. Here he died on April 3, 1682, after his fall from the
scaffolding at Cadiz. His studio is shown filled with several undoubted
works of his brush. The house belongs to the executors of the late Dean

The Duke de Montpensier has a fine collection of pictures at his ugly
Palace of St. Telmo, near the Torre del Oro. Among them is included a
sketch by our late Queen, when she was still a princess. The palace
looks on a parade which is much resorted to by the Sevillanos in the
summer months. Here you see the boys playing at the inevitable
bull-fight. One who takes the part of toro has a real bull's horns with
which he "gores" his comrades with great ferocity. The insistence on
this brutal "sport" among the Andalusians has taken the form of acute
monomania. Exasperated strangers have been heard to declare that in
southern Spain you hear of but two things--Toros y Moros. In another
corner of the promenade, you will come upon a party of little girls
going through the peculiar and stately dances, or rather measures, of
their country, to the accompaniment of a low chant and a clapping of
hands, in which the boys, looking on from a distance, will join. Boys
and girls, unless they are quite babies, are seldom seen together. You
pass on and find a group of citizens seated at the little tables round a
kiosk, refreshing themselves with lemonade and being entertained by a
conjuror--a fine-looking man--who sends round the hat after every two
or three tricks. In the ordinary way you are asked for alms more often
than in Granada, but not, of course, to anything like the same extent as
in London. English travellers are given to commenting on the mendicity
in foreign cities, but I must confess that nowhere have I met with so
many beggars as in our own capital. In Spain the fraternity chiefly
haunt the steps of churches, the one spot in our happy country that they
seem to avoid.

We reach the beginning of the Delicias Gardens, which extend two or
three miles southward along the river bank. All the rank and fashion of
Seville--and a great deal besides--turns out in summer evenings to drive
in the Delicias. The concourse of vehicles is immense, but reminded me
rather of the return from the Derby than of Rotten Row. The great
ambition of the Spaniard is to possess a conveyance, and he seems to
care little how dilapidated or ancient it may be, so long as it goes on
wheels. Side by side with the handsome equipages of the Sevillian
aristocracy, you will see a wretched Rosinante painfully dragging what I
took to be the original "one-hoss shay," or the carriage in which Lord
Ferrers was driven to the scaffold. It is impossible to restrain a
smile, but after all a conveyance is a real necessity in a climate like
this, and if a man cannot afford a good carriage, he must needs put up
with a bad one. The traffic is well regulated by mounted police. The
foot-paths are also crowded, and when night falls, everyone adjourns to
the numerous open-air cafés and kiosks to drink light beer and lemonade.
Sober, steady Spain! How certain of our reformers at home would love
you, if they but knew you! Where in the world (except in the East) are
men more abstemious or women more staid and demure?

If you wish (as of course, being a modern traveller, you are sure to do)
to study the life of the people, you had better betake yourself to the
other end of the city--to the Alameda de Hercules, so called after two
columns which the natives believe were presented by that muscular
demigod. Here a perpetual fair seems in progress. There are the usual
booths, with fat ladies, boneless wonders, and dwarfs, and more
questionable exhibitions. On a platform sat three depressed and underfed
wretches, who, I thought, were to be immediately garrotted. Suddenly one
sprang up and gave a very clever rendering of the arrival and departure
of a train at a country station. He was vociferously applauded, and,
thus encouraged, danced a sort of "cellar-flap" with great animation to
the indispensable accompaniment of hand-clapping. In a popular assembly
of Andalusian town and country folk, the modern observer ought, I am
well aware, to find many extraordinary and significant phases of
humanity, exhibiting the striking individuality of the people, their
race-consciousness, their psychological import, their evolutional
significance, and so forth. I blush to confess that in the crowds
applauding the ventriloquist or gaping at the fat lady, I saw only a
collection of good-humoured ordinary people, enjoying themselves much
after the fashion of ordinary people in England.


Perhaps the Sevillano is more his real self on these occasions than when
disporting himself at the world-famous fair, which begins on the Monday
after Easter and attracts strangers from all parts of Europe. Though a
somewhat overrated festival, I think it more distinctive and original in
certain of its aspects than the gorgeous religious ceremonies by which
it is preceded. The wealthier families of Seville rig up for themselves
on the fair-ground "casetas," or temporary residences of wood or canvas,
with two or more apartments. A great deal of expense is lavished on the
upholstering and decoration of these pavilions, and those of the four
principal clubs are fitted up in the most luxurious fashion. In the
evening the _jeunesse dorée_ of the city drive out to the fair in smart
traps drawn by dashing little horses with jangling little bells, and
visits are exchanged at the casetas, where as the evening becomes
cooler, dancing takes place, to the sound of the piano, the guitar, and
the castanet. The pretty señoritas of Seville have no objection to going
through the graceful measures of the South in full view of an uninvited
audience who crowd round the opening of the tent and from time to time
give vent to admiring "Olés!" and bursts of hand-clapping. Dancing will
be interrupted at 8.30, when everyone comes out to look at the firework
display. Then of course there are the usual popular amusements--the
inevitable bioscope, the gramophone, and all sorts of shows. Peasantry
and aristocracy alike dress their very best on this occasion. The
smartest toilettes and the most picturesque of native costumes are seen
side by side, the latest confections of Worth and Paquin and costly
heirlooms handed down from the days of Boabdil and Gonsalvo de Cordova.

Whether such an intermingling of all classes, of the richest and the
poorest, could take place with mutual enjoyment and comfort in any
country but Spain, is a matter open to doubt.

The object of the fair is, I believe, the sale of cattle, and about
eighty thousand beasts are to be seen on the Prado de San Sebastian. To
say that the most sanguinary bull-fights complete the festivities is
perhaps superfluous. The most skilful and renowned toreros are engaged
on this occasion, and the arenas literally smoke with the blood of bulls
and disembowelled horses. Smithfield and Deptford can show nothing in


The religious ceremonies, of which travellers talk so much, are not for
the most part peculiar to Seville, as it ought to be unnecessary to
remind them. The tableaux in the processions struck me as theatrical,
but as being on the whole as well represented as similar show-pieces in
our pageants. The famous Dance of the Seises is reserved for the
octaves of the Immaculate Conception and Corpus Christi. It has been
described over and over again. There is nothing irreverent about the
performance, which is in itself graceful and quaint; only carried out
before the high altar it strikes one as rather meaningless. So, I
suppose, most such functions impress those who are unprepared for them
by temperament and education. There cannot be much doubt that the
ceremony originated in an attempt to attract the ungodly to church--an
early and respectable precedent for the methods of the Salvation Army.

Others have it that the dance is a survival of some pagan
ceremony--which will remind us that we have so far neglected the
monuments of the Romans which were bequeathed to Seville. These are not
very numerous or interesting. Only a fragment remains, at the north-east
angle of the city, of the massive wall which Cæsar built, and which
completely girdled Seville as late as the reign of Juan II. It was
strengthened, tradition tells us, by 166 towers, which were freely used
as prisons by later rulers. The Cordoba Gate marks the site of the
dungeon of the canonized Hermenegild. Close to it is the Capuchin
Convent, built upon the foundations of the palace of the Roman governor,
Diogenianus, and afterwards associated with Murillo. A noble aqueduct
built by the Romans, and known to-day as the Caños de Carmona, still
brings water from Alcala de Guadaira to Seville. Everyone who visits
Seville is expected to make an excursion to the ruins of Italica, a few
miles on the other side of the Guadalquivir. There is remarkably little
to see when you get there, and not much is known about the place. There
were few, if any, private dwellings here, and it existed rather as the
place of meeting and distributing centre for the colonists scattered
over the district. It was indeed raised to the dignity of a municipality
by Augustus, but petitioned to be restored to its old rank of a Roman
colony. It did not prove unworthy of its connection with the great
capital. Hence sprang the illustrious line of the Ælii, and many of the
eminent Roman Spaniards who conferred such lustre on the early empire
are believed to have been natives. The town was embellished in those
palmy days with temples, palaces, amphitheatres, and baths, quite out of
proportion to its population.

Its downfall, like its earlier history, is mysterious. Here Leovigild
placed his headquarters when besieging Seville. Then came the Arabs, who
dismantled it and carried off columns and blocks of masonry on which are
founded the Giralda and other important buildings in the neighbouring
city. Italica disappeared from history; and all you can see of it to-day
is a few remains of walls and earthbanks outlining the amphitheatre.

It might not be worth the journey were it not that it can be included in
an excursion to the villages of Santi Ponce, Castilleja la Cuesta, and
the Cartuja. The parish church of the first named wretched village is
remarkable as the last resting-place of the illustrious Guzman el Bueno,
that Spaniard of the Roman mould who refused to save the life of his son
at the cost of the fortress of Tarifa, which he held for his king. The
hero's kneeling effigy dates, as the inscription beneath informs us,
from the year 1609, the three hundredth anniversary of his death. The
modern traveller, whose sympathies are usually more with the æsthetic
than the heroic, will be more interested in the lifelike St. Jerome, one
of the finest works of Montañez, to be seen over the high altar. The
saint, regarding a crucifix devoutly, beats his breast with a stone. On
either side are beautiful bas-reliefs of the Nativity and the Adoration
of the Magi.

The convent was inhabited first by the Cistercians, next by the Hermits
of St. Jerome. It presents rather the appearance of a fortified abbey of
the middle ages. The church is divided into two naves, each of which was
a distinct church--one, I suspect, belonging to the monastery, the other
to the parish; a not uncommon medieval arrangement. I almost forgot to
add that it contains the ashes (literally) of Doña Urraca Osorio, a lady
burnt to death, as I have said, by Pedro the Cruel.

At Castilleja la Cuesta--a village on the height--is the house where
Hernando Cortes died in 1547. The house has been converted by the Duc de
Montpensier into a sort of museum. The Conquistador's bones repose in
the land which, with so much intrepidity and ruthlessness, he won for

The old Charterhouse or Cartuja is now occupied by the porcelain factory
of Pickman & Co. It lies on the west bank of the Guadalquivir, a few
minutes' walk from the railway bridge. It was founded in the first
decade of the fifteenth century by Archbishop de Mena, and was the
burial-place of the Riberas, till their remains were transferred to the
University Church. There is little to see except some stalls carved, if
I remember aright, by Duque Cornejo, in the little chapel.

You may return to the city through the transpontine quarter of Triana, a
collection of whitewashed houses inhabited chiefly by gipsies. To
distinguish these no longer nomadic Bohemians from the lower-class
Andalusians around them is not an easy task. As at Granada, gipsy dances
are got up by the guides and hotel people, and here, I am told, they
possess the merit which a Frenchman denies to those of the other
city--impropriety. The patron saints of Seville, Saints Justa and
Rufina, were potters in this quarter. In their time the Carthaginian
goddess, Astarte or Salambo, was much venerated in the Roman city. The
commemoration of the death of Adonis took place in the month of July,
when the image of the goddess was borne in triumph through the streets,
while the people following with cries and lamentations deplored the
untimely end of her beloved. A strange survival, this, on soil so
far to the west, of the hideous Punic rites! The two maidens, newly
converted to the religion of the Crucified, refused to do reverence to
the image as it was carried past, and were haled before the governor,
Diogenianus, in his palace by the Cordova Gate. They were put to death
in due course, and have received more honour since from architects,
sculptors, and painters, than Venus-Astarte in all her glory received
from her devotees.

[Illustration: CORDOVA--A COURTYARD]

Before leaving Triana, visit the Church of Santa Ana, to see the
exquisite Madonna of Alejo Fernandez, whom Lord Leighton considered the
most conspicuous among the Gothic painters. There is a regard for beauty
in the figures, not by any means obtrusive in most of the paintings of
the period, though the awkward pose of some of the angels shows that the
artist had not quite emancipated himself from Byzantine influence. And
the thought occurred to me as I made my way back to the Delicias
Gardens, where the people were driving out to take the air, and knots
were collecting round musicians and mountebanks--when the whole city was
yielding itself up to the sensuous charm of the summer night--that the
art of Fernandez was expressive of Seville: of a people in whom the
sense of beauty and the joy of living cannot be extinguished, though at
the call of religion they reluctantly keep their faces half turned
towards sad facts and yet more sombre unrealities.



    "They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
     The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep."

The sands of Asia are strewn with the ruins of cities once the gorgeous
capitals of mighty empires. Here in Spain the followers of the Prophet
raised a metropolis as splendid as any of the new Babylons of the East;
and its fall has been wellnigh as great as theirs. We need not credit
all the assertions of the Arabian writers (for the scribes of that
nation, as Cervantes remarks, are not a little addicted to fiction). We
can hardly believe that Cordova in its prime contained 300,000
inhabitants, 600 mosques, 50 hospitals, 800 public schools, 900 baths,
600 inns, and a library of 600,000 volumes; but there is evidence enough
to satisfy us that this was in the tenth century the most magnificent
and populous city in Europe, Byzantium alone excepted. Now it is a small
provincial capital, bright, white, and coquettish, utterly without the
solemnity and majesty which should invest the seats of vanished empires.
Here greatness has been swallowed up in insignificance, not in
desolation. The Court of the Khalifas, the Western Mecca, does not lie
in lordly ruin like a fallen Colossus, but has sunk into mere pettiness.


Victor Hugo draws, as only he knew how, in a couple of lines, a
picturesque sketch of Cordova, but this hardly corresponds to the
impressions of the modern traveller. The houses may be old (some of them
certainly are), but in their coats of dazzling whitewash they look
brand-new. Gautier very sensibly remarks that, thanks to whitewash, the
wall which was erected a century ago cannot be distinguished from that
which was erected yesterday. Its general application "imparts a uniform
tint to all buildings, fills up the architectural lines, effaces all
their delicate ornamentation, and does not allow you to read their age."
Cordova, which was formerly a centre of Arabian civilization, is now
nothing more than a confused mass of small white houses, above which
rise a few mangrove trees, with their metallic green foliage, or some
palm trees with their branches spread out like the claws of a crab;
while the whole town is divided by narrow passages into a number of
separate blocks, where it would be difficult for two mules to pass
abreast. Such is Cordova to-day, and I doubt very much if its external
aspect was a whit more splendid or by any means as pleasing in the days
of its glory. Some authors write as if they imagined the Mohammedans
built their capitals on the lines of Paris and Washington. A visit to
Constantinople or to Cairo would remove that impression. Imagine
Cordova covering three or four times its present area, its windows
obscured with lattices, its walls less white, its streets filled with a
noisy mob of beshawled and beturbaned men--black, brown, and white--with
noble mosques and elegant minarets here and there, and you will have a
fair picture of the capital of the Western Khalifate.

Of its outward seeming only. Its culture and refined social life merited
for Cordova the title of the Athens of the West. When all Europe was
sunk in barbarism, medicine and chemistry, the natural sciences, the
arts and philosophy, all found a refuge here. Culture was diffused
through all classes of the population, if only very superficially, to an
extent never perhaps equalled elsewhere. And though there was little
initiative or originality about the scholars at Cordova, their labours
contributed to keep alive a taste for the humanities which otherwise
would never have revived in Europe. The comforts and amenities of life
were carefully studied in the Western Khalifate. All the products which
minister to luxury were at that time the almost exclusive property of
the Moslem world, and to the bazaars of Cordova were brought the
choicest spoils of Egypt, Persia, Arabia, and Hindostan. And at the head
of this urbane and flourishing commonwealth sat the great Umeyyad
khalifa, emulous of the glories of Bagdad and Cairo, and eager to
surpass them in elegance and splendour.


Of those great days all that remains is the Mezquita--and that is much.
Next to St. Peter's it is the largest of Christian temples, and
certainly among the most ancient. As a Mohammedan place of worship, it
ranked in sanctity with the Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem, immediately
after Mecca, which it was indeed designed to eclipse. It was
Abd-ur-Rahman's ambition to focus all the interests of Islam at this
point within his own dominions. Spanish Moslems were taught that a
pilgrimage to the "Zeka" of Cordova was in all respects equivalent to a
pilgrimage to Mecca. Hence Sancho Panza's saying, "Andar de Zeca en
Mecca." That the Umeyyad khalifa succeeded in diverting the Faithful
from the old shrine to the new is doubtful, but he and his successors
spared no pains to render their mosque one of the wonders of the world.
In the year 786, seized, it is said, by a sudden inspiration,
Abd-ur-Rahman convoked his council and declared his intention of raising
a temple to Allah on the site of a Christian church. The Moslems had
already appropriated half of the Basilica of San Vicente to their use,
suffering the Christians to perform their rites in the adjoining
portion. The khattib was commanded to approach the unbelievers to
negotiate the purchase of the whole edifice. The Christians stood out
for a high price, and got it. They received a sum equal to £400,000 of
our money, and permission, moreover, to rebuild all their churches in
the city that had existed at the time of the Conquest. When we remember
the violent seizure and "purification" of the Church of St. Sophia by
the Turks, seven hundred years later, we can see how little Islam had
learnt of toleration in the meantime.

The old basilica was accordingly demolished and the mosque begun. The
khalifa set apart a portion of his revenues for the work, and laboured
himself upon it for an hour each day. Thus encouraged, his subjects of
all ranks made it a point of honour to contribute either their personal
labour or their money to the great work. Though most of the columns came
from the marble quarries of the neighbouring town of Cabra, as many as
possible were brought from the most distant parts of the Mohammedan
empire, from the works of civilizations which Islam had subdued. The
mosque was to be a monument to the triumph of the Crescent. Its
dimensions as projected by the founder were four times less than those
of the existing building.

The successors of Abd-ur-Rahman obtained the assistance of Byzantine
craftsmen, and embellished the mosque with rich mosaics. Almost a
quarter of the actual building was added by Al Hakem II., and the
eastern half by Al Mansûr. To effect this last expansion, a cottage
beneath a palm tree had to be acquired. The old lady to whom it belonged
refused to budge till an exactly similar abode was found for her. This
was done at last, after a diligent search, and a liberal donation made
to her to boot.


Thus was reared this mighty temple of Islam on European soil, at a time
when the state of the Christian world went far to justify the exultant
words of the khalifa: "Let us build the Kaaba of the West upon the
site of a Christian temple, which we will destroy, so that we may set
forth how the Cross shall fall and become abased before the True
Prophet. Allah will never place the world beneath the feet of those who
make themselves the slaves of drink and sensuality, while they preach
penitence and the joys of chastity, and while extolling poverty, enrich
themselves to the loss of their neighbours. For these, the sad and
silent cloister; for us, the crystalline fountain and the shady grove;
for them, the rude and unsocial life of dungeon-like strongholds; for
us, the charm of social life and culture; for them, intolerance and
tyranny; for us, a ruler who is our father; for them, the darkness of
ignorance; for us, letters and instruction widespread as our creed; for
them, the wilderness, celibacy, and the doom of the false martyr; for
us, plenty, love, brotherhood and eternal joy."

The face of the world has changed somewhat in ten centuries.

It must, I think, be admitted that the Mezquita, to European eyes, is
fantastic and interesting rather than beautiful. It may be compared to a
forest of columns or to a seemingly endless series of parallel aisles
spanned by low horseshoe arches. It does in truth remind one, as one
writer observes, of a gigantic crypt. The additions of Al Mansûr, may be
distinguished by the pointed arches. Otherwise there is little of the
variety insured in Christian churches by the distribution of the parts.
It is only in the columns themselves that we find any relief from the
prevailing uniformity. There are interesting differences in their
capitals, and in their bases also, which are, however, buried
underground. In the ruder carving is seen an attempt on the part of the
Moorish masons to copy the work of the more skilled craftsmen of Rome
and Byzantium. The mean vaulting overhead is modern. It is gradually
being taken down and replaced by the beautiful carved ceiling of white
larchwood which Murphy described a hundred years ago. He says: "Above
the first arch is placed a second, considerably narrower and connecting
it with the square pillars that support the timber work of the roof,
which is not less curious in its execution than are the other parts of
the building. It was put together in the time of Abd-ur-Rahman I., and
subsists to this day unimpaired, though partially concealed by the
plaster-work of the modern arches. The beams contain many thousands of
cubic feet; the bottoms and side of the cross beams have been carved and
painted with different figures; the rafters also are painted red. Such
parts as retain the paint are untouched by worms: the other parts, where
the paint no longer remains, are so little affected that the decay of a
thousand years is scarcely perceptible; and, what is rarely to be seen
in an edifice of such antiquity, no cobwebs whatever are to be traced
here. The timber work of the roof is further covered with lead; and
the whole has been executed with such precision and taste, that it may
justly be pronounced a _chef-d'œuvre_ of art, both with respect to
the arrangement of the different parts, as well as to the extent and
solidity of the whole."

[Illustration: CORDOVA--MEZQUITA]

But what must have lent so much of beauty to the building originally was
that, instead of being enclosed with walls as it is at present, its long
arcades opened into the groves of orange trees without, which were
simply their natural continuation--a graceful and symmetrical plan which
one would like to see attempted in modern times. Though, too, every
Mohammedan temple is necessarily simple in plan and can never approach
the Christian churches in elaboration and gorgeousness, here Moslem art
exhausted its ingenuity on the embellishment of those more sacred parts
of the building such as the Sanctuary and the Maksurrah.

The Sanctuary or Zeka has been spared to us. It is a little heptagonal
recess, paved with white marble and roofed with a shell-like cupola of
marble of a single block. The sides are formed by dentated horseshoe
arches which interlace and enclose each other in a beautiful
complication. Here in the southern wall is the recess which indicated
the direction of Mecca, and towards which the worshippers turned; it is
adorned with exquisite mosaic work and with inscriptions from the Koran
and the names of the architects. In the Sanctuary was preserved for
several centuries after the Reconquest the superb "mimbar" or pulpit of
Al Hakem II. "It was of marble," says Señor de Madrazo, "and of the most
precious woods, such as ebony, red sandal-wood, bakam, Julian aloe,
etc.; it cost 35,000 dineros and 3 adirames. It had nine steps." We are
told that it was composed of 36,000 pieces of wood, joined with pins of
silver and gold, and encrusted with precious stones. Its construction
lasted seven years, eight artificers being employed upon it daily. This
tribune was reserved for the khalifa, and in it was deposited the
principal object of the veneration of the Moslems of Andalusia and Al
Moghreb--a copy of the Koran supposed to have been written by Othman and
stained with his precious blood. This treasure was preserved in a
binding of cloth-of-gold sewn with pearls and rubies, covered with the
richest red silk, and placed on a lectern of aloe-wood with nails of
gold. Its weight was extraordinary, and two men could carry it only with
difficulty. It was placed in the mimbar, when the imam read from it the
prayer of the Azulah, and was then placed in the treasury with the gold
and silver vessels used in the ceremonies of the "Ramadan."

The Maksurrah is now transformed into the chapel of Villa Viciosa. Here
sat the khalifa when not officiating as imam. Little is visible of the
original decoration, except the cupola, similar to that of the
Sanctuary. Adjacent to this chapel another has been discovered which it
is thought will prove to be the treasury to which Madrazo refers.


When Cordova was taken by St. Ferdinand in 1236, the mosque was
reconsecrated as a Christian cathedral, but little alteration was made
in the original structure. It was in 1523 that the unfortunate idea
possessed the bishop, Don Alfonso Manrique, to build a new church in the
middle of the Mohammedan temple. So proud were the Cordovans of their
great monument, that the municipality threatened the innovators with
death if they ventured to carry the project into execution. However,
this decree was overridden by an order from Charles V., who knew so
little what he was about that on visiting Cordova a few years later, he
bitterly expressed his regret at having allowed the mosque to be
interfered with. Two hundred columns had been swept away to make room
for the existing chancel, choir, and lateral chapels. Though we resent
their appearance here, these parts of the church are not wanting in
taste and richness. The reredos of jasper and bronze is painted by
Antonio Palomino, and flanks a sumptuous and beautifully moulded
tabernacle. Not so much praise can be bestowed on the choir, where,
however, the stalls by Pedro Duque Cornejo reveal skilful workmanship.
Lope de Rueda, the Spanish Molière, is entombed here. In the Cathedral
is also buried the poet Gongora, whose style is aptly compared by Mme.
Dieulafoy to that of Churriguera in architecture. A more interesting
grave is that of Doña Maria de Guzman de Paredes, a lady celebrated for
her wit and wisdom in the days of Philip II., and who won every degree
it was in the power of the University of Alcalá to confer. Duque Cornejo
is also buried here.

In the Sacristy is a fine monstrance by Juan de Arfe. The chapels do not
call for particular examination.

If the Mezquita is strange within, it is eminently picturesque without.
The massive walls are crenellated and supported by stout square
buttresses. Between these are horseshoe arches, richly decorated, and
forming originally sixteen entrances, most of which are now blocked up.
The Puerta del Perdon has been adorned with the arms of Castile and
Leon, and is secured by bronze doors of an interesting type. An
inscription upon it runs:--"On the 2nd day of the month of March of the
era of Cæsar 1415 (1577 A.D.), in the reign of the Most High and Mighty
Don Enrique, King of Castile."

Of the minaret, once equal to the Giralda and, like it, once surmounted
by great metal globes, only the lowest storey remains, an earthquake
having thrown down the superstructure in the sixteenth century. And the
famous Court of the Orange Trees, on to which the aisles at one time
opened, has lost much of its charm. The trees are stunted and withered,
and the soil covered with coarse grass and weeds. On three sides the
court is surrounded by a gallery, on the fourth by the buildings of the
chapter. The basin was placed here in 945 by Abd-ur-Rahman, and might
with advantage be used for its original purpose by some of the
habitués of the patio. Two Roman columns at the entrance to the
Cathedral announce the distance to Gades (114 miles) from the Temple of
Janus, which stood on this site.


On the whole the far-famed Mezquita may be pronounced disappointing. It
must always be so with the simply planned temples of Islam, when they
are stripped of the innumerable lamps, the rich carpets and handsome
furniture, still to be seen in them at Cairo, Constantinople, and

Of the magnificent Palace of the Khalifas, the wonderful domain of Az
Zahara, no trace remains. It was built by a Byzantine architect on the
flanks of a hill, three miles north-east of Cordova, which the khalifa
at one time thought of levelling. Arab writers declare this to have been
the largest palace, as of course it was the most magnificent, ever
raised by the hand of man. The harem (_credat Judæus_) could accommodate
6,000 women, 3,790 eunuchs, and 1,500 guards. Marble appears to have
been freely used in the construction, from which it would seem that the
building bore little resemblance to the Alcazar of a later day. There
were, of course, thousands--tens of thousands--of columns brought from
Rome and Tunis, and probably from Carthage, and fine fragments of
terra-cotta are still unearthed on the site. Aqueducts conducted sweet
waters to every chamber in the palace, and fountains cooled the air in
the luxuriantly planted gardens. We are told of the Hall of Ceremonial,
with its brilliant mosaics and its ceiling of scented wood, in the
centre of which was set an immense pearl, the gift of the Emperor
Constantinos Porphyrogenitos. And we hear in addition of basins filled
with quicksilver for the amusement of the odalisques.

This gorgeous pile owes its existence to a favourite of the Khalifa An
Nasir, who at her death directed that her immense wealth should be
employed in ransoming Moslem prisoners in the clutch of the Christian.
The bereaved potentate sent east, west, north and south in order to
execute this pious request, only to find to his joy that no such thing
as a Moslem captive was anywhere to be found. The happy thought then
came to him to expend the money on the erection of a palace to be named
after a new favourite, Zahara, whose name it should perpetuate, and in
whose society he might hope to forget the deceased. This seems to us a
somewhat queer application of the legacy. The work occupied ten thousand
men daily for many years, and cost during An Nasir's reign alone seven
and a half millions of dineros or pieces of gold.


The palace seems to have excited, as well it might, the cupidity of
neighbouring monarchs. Alfonso VI., the conqueror of Toledo, demanded it
of the Amir Al Mutamed, as a residence for his queen, Doña Constancia,
whose accouchement he suggested might take place in the mosque. It was
the Moor's rejection of this original proposal that led to hostilities,
and threw the Spanish Moslems into the arms of the terrible
Almorávides. Those fierce sectaries seem to have entirely neglected Az
Zahara, and under the puritanical Almohades we can easily imagine it
would be suffered to decay. How little was left of it when Ferdinand
took the place is shown by his referring to it merely as Cordova la
Vieja (Old Cordova).

Men who lived in such comfort and luxury might be supposed to have
regarded their less fortunate fellows with easy good nature and
tolerance, and according to most historians the khalifas of Cordova were
benevolent despots, even towards their Christian subjects. Some Spanish
writers, however, paint the lot of these last in gloomy colours, though,
if we accept their accounts _in toto_, without the least reservation,
there can be no question that the lot of the Christian under the Moor
was very much better than the lot of the Moor under the Christian. But
that standpoint would not be that of the historians in question. They
are frankly partisans. The Mohammedans, they would argue, deserved what
they got, because they worshipped the false Prophet; the Christians were
in the right. It is more difficult to understand their vehement
condemnation of the Bishop Recafred, because he forbade his flock to
seek voluntary martyrdom by publicly cursing Mohammed. To curse the
Arabian Prophet or anyone else is nowhere laid down as a Christian's
duty, and on merely prudential grounds the prelate was surely justified
in dissuading his people from pursuing a course which must finally have
resulted in their complete extermination. Probably in disgust at the
ingratitude and imbecility of his flock, Recafred embraced the creed of
Islam, and died cursed and abominated by the people whose utter
extinction he had averted. The history of the martyrs of Cordova is a
curious chapter in the annals of religion.

It was recently remarked of Italy that there was not enough faith to
generate a heresy, and by a parity of reasoning the lamp of faith must
have burnt very brightly in the Christian community of Cordova. The
Saracen authorities were bewildered by the multitude of sects and
factions which claimed to represent the Church of Christ, and to
administer its temporalities. Councils of the Christian prelates were
frequently convoked by the khalifas, but by the defeated side their
decisions were always branded as schismatical or heretical. Religious
debate is the favourite occupation of a decaying State, and the
Mohammedans themselves had their divisions. The doctors of the law, who
congregated in a special quarter of the capital, constituted themselves
the critics of their rulers and of public morals. They considered
culture and luxury incompatible with morality, and preached the creed of
the Uncomfortable and the Unlovely with the zest of an English Puritan.
One day there arose a sovereign (Hakem) more sensitive of censure than
his predecessors. He burnt out the Puritan quarter and forced the
zealots to take refuge in distant parts where their peculiar talents
were more in demand.

[Illustration: CORDOVA--A STREET]

The more human side of Islam found an embodiment in the illustrious
Ziryab, the favourite of Abd-ur-Rahman II. In his case, I suppose, as in
all else, it is necessary to discount by fifty per cent. all the
appreciations of Arabic writers; yet through all the cobwebs of
exaggeration and tradition, we can discern the outlines of a very
remarkable personality. Ziryab was the Admirable Crichton of his age. He
combined the attributes of Leonardo da Vinci and Beau Nash. He alone
could decide on the proper method of eating asparagus and on the
planning of a city. He could pronounce with finality on the wisdom of a
move at chess and a far-reaching treaty of state. He had views on the
organization of armies and aviaries; he was listened to with equal
respect by statesmen and scullery-maids. And (wonderful to relate) this
authority on everybody's business was loved by everyone!

The history of Cordova, like that of most capitals, belongs to the
nation at large, and cannot be more than touched upon here. Memorials of
ancient days are the picturesque Moorish walls with their flanking
towers and the grand old bridge of sixteen arches, built by the
khalifas. It marked the limit of navigation in Roman days, whereas now
no boat can ascend the Guadalquivir above Seville. The bridge is
defended on the south side by a very picturesque _tête du pont_ called
Calahorra, a fine specimen of the medieval barbican. Here a strange
scene was witnessed in the year 1394, when the prototype of Don
Quixote, Don Martin de la Barbuda, Grand Master of Calatrava, appeared
at the head of a few knights and a fanatical rabble on his way to fight
the Moors of Granada. His enterprise was directly counter to the king's
orders; the two countries were at peace. The royal officers assembled on
the bridge expostulated and threatened the crusaders in vain. The Grand
Master was accompanied by a hermit, who exhorted him to proceed and
promised him that his victory should be purchased without the loss of a
single Christian life. The officials were swept aside, and the wild
cavalcade went on its way to destruction. None of the knights ever
returned alive across the bridge of Cordova.

[Illustration: CORDOVA--THE BRIDGE]

During the four centuries following the Reconquest, the city boasted
that it was the home of the finest flower of the European aristocracy.
Their old mansions have for the most part disappeared, but the name of
the most distinguished member of the order is treasured in Cordova and
honoured far beyond the limits of Spain. Gonzalo Hernandez de Aguilar y
de Cordova, "the Great Captain," is the hero of the city. The principal
street is named after him, as indeed one might suppose the town to have
been, from the reverence in which he is held. On the whole, he was the
greatest soldier this country has produced. With forces hardly superior
to those with which Cortes and Pizarro conquered a savage foe, he
vanquished the best equipped troops in Christendom and matched his
strength successfully against the most brilliant warriors of his day.
His reward, it is hardly necessary to say of the servant of a
fifteenth-century king, was ingratitude and neglect. When the odious
Ferdinand V. demanded from him a statement of his military expenditure,
he responded with the famous "Cuentas del Gran Capitan," which silenced
even the venal monarch. The statement ran:

     "200,736 ducats and 9 reals paid to the clergy and the poor who
     prayed for the victory of the arms of Spain.

     "100 millions in pikes, bullets, and entrenching tools; 100,000 in
     powder and cannon-balls, 10,000 ducats in scented gloves to
     preserve the troops from the odour of the enemies' dead left on the
     battlefield; 100,000 ducats spent in the repair of the bells
     completely worn out by every day announcing fresh victories gained
     over our enemies; 50,000 ducats in 'aguardiente' for the troops, on
     the eve of battle. A million and a half for the safeguarding
     prisoners and wounded.

     "One million for Masses of Thanksgiving, 700,494 ducats for secret
     service, etc.

     "And one hundred millions for the patience with which I have
     listened to the King, who demands an account from the man who has
     presented him with a kingdom"!

This singular balance-sheet sufficiently shows the temper of the
grandees of Spain even in the days of the New Monarchy. Cordova has
reason to be proud of her eponymous hero. She has not been very fruitful
in great men. She has produced no painters of eminence, unless Pablo de
Cespedes may be classed among such; but Mme. Dieulafoy reminds us that
to Juan de Mena, a native of the place and a courtier of Juan II.,
Spanish poetry is deeply indebted:

     "His great work, 'The Labyrinth,' may in a measure be compared with
     that part of the 'Divina Commedia' where the Florentine places
     himself under the protection of Beatrice. Accompanied by a
     beautiful young woman personifying Providence, the poet witnesses
     the apparition of the worthies of History and Legend, and amuses
     himself in sketching their portraits. At times the style becomes
     heavy and pedantic, at others the touches of the pencil have a
     vigour and simplicity altogether Dantesque. Before Juan de Mena,
     the Castilian muse had never taken so daring a flight; and in spite
     of the defects of the general scheme, the untasteful phraseology,
     and the measure, 'The Labyrinth' abounds in conceptions and
     episodes where energy blended with beauty reveals a genius of the
     first order."


From poetry to leather the transition may seem abrupt, but it is to be
feared that our city has derived more renown from the latter than the
former. The stamped and gilded leather of Cordova was highly esteemed
all over the civilized world from the fifteenth century to the
eighteenth. Whether the industry was introduced by the Moors it is idle
to inquire; long after their departure it formed the principal business
and source of revenue of the Spaniards of the city. A powerful guild
laid down strict rules as to apprenticeship, and regulated the quality
and quantity of the manufacture. Terrible penalties were enforced
against the tanner who made use of the hides of animals that had died of
disease. The kings of Spain considered trunks or other objects
bound in Cordova leather gifts very suitable for their fellow-princes.
The Catholic kings, absurdly enough, forbade its exportation to the New
World, not wishing to deprive the mother-country of goods of such price.
With protection on this scale, we are not surprised to learn that the
industry began to decline. Cordova was at length surpassed in its own
line by Venice and other cities. The rich specimens of its work which
adorned the mansions of its old noblesse were sold and dispersed all
over the world, upon the general impoverishment of the kingdom in the
eighteenth century. Then came the sack of the city, a hundred years ago,
by the army of Dupont. Time has spared the famous race of Cordovan
horses, and many a poor hidalgo rides into the town on a steed which if
sold in London might redeem his shattered fortunes.

I have said a great deal about Cordova and its titles to remembrance;
but it must be confessed that there is little enough to see in it. The
churches present no features of interest, except the Colegiata de San
Hipolito, modernized in 1729, which contains the tombs of Ferdinand IV.
and Alfonso XI. Nor is walking through the city an exercise altogether
pleasing, as the streets which were the first paved in Europe, in 850,
might also claim to be the worst paved in the world. The stones are so
sharp and pointed that in parts you have to skip from one to the other,
like a bear dancing on hot iron--an original but ungraceful method of
locomotion. A drive in the surrounding country is productive of more
pleasure. The neighbourhood is a Paradise of fertility, and sets one
wondering what becomes of all the money that this must bring in and
represent. Spain and Greece are very poor countries, but I do not think
that Spaniards and Greeks are, for the most part, very poor.




Over two thousand feet above the sea stands the ancient city of Granada,
once the teeming centre of the kingdom of the Moors and now a town of
memories eloquent of the grandeur of older days. The province bearing
its name is bounded on the north by sterile ranges, while close to the
southern seaboard stretch the huge shoulders and serrated peaks of the
noble Sierra Nevada, rivalling in height the chief summits of the
Pyrenees. Between these ranges spread fertile vegas, or plains, rising
here and there to over a thousand feet, a district of vineyards and
olive groves, and semi-tropical plants find a favourable habitat.

Granada, though on the verge of an arid territory, is in a strip of
great fertility, watered by the Genil and the Darro, the latter--the
Hadarro of the Moors--a stream that is heavily taxed by the farmers for
purposes of irrigation. Théophile Gautier praised the river of Granada
for its beauty, but since his day the stream has shrunk, and nowadays
the volume of water is insignificant, especially during a dry summer.

The waters of the Darro have a reputation for their healing qualities,
and cattle that drink from it are said to recover quickly from diseases.
Hence, in the ancient speech, the river had the title of "The Salutary
Bath of Sheep." Under the Moors the environs of Granada were in the
highest state of cultivation, and they are still very productive. The
land yields plenteous wine and oil. The chief crops are grains of
various sorts. Hemp and flax flourish, and oranges, lemons, and figs are
a source of income to the agriculturists. Granada is also famed for its
mulberry trees, whose leaves provide food for the silk caterpillar,
though the silk trade is in a state of sad decay.

The soil around the city never rests. There is no waste of land. Oranges
and pomegranates grow profusely. The cactus is cultivated for the
production of the cochineal insect. Clovers yield several cuttings each
year in this fecund territory.

In the neighbouring mountains there are rich veins of marble, and jasper
and amethyst are found. Yet the mining industry in the Sierra Nevada
remains to be developed. The Granadines are hardly a commercial
population, though numerous crafts are practised in their city.
Factories for the production of sugar from beetroot have been erected in
recent years, and it is hoped that this industry will increase.


The life of Granada in its lighter aspects can be well studied on the
promenade of the Salón, one of the most beautiful parades in
Europe. Here, under the shade of luxuriant trees, amid handsome
fountains, and by parterres decked richly with many flowers, the people
of the city stroll upon summer evenings after the great heat of the day.
From the Salón you gain a superb view of the purple Sierra Nevada, which
at sunset wears a wealth of changing hues.

A walk along the promenade precedes the evening gathering in the patios
of the houses of the upper and middle classes, when to the sound of
guitar and the rattle of castanets, young and old dance together. At
these tertulia, or evening parties, singing alternates with dancing the
bolero and the jota. And later, when the lights are dim, and the
watchman tramps slowly through the streets, you see the lovers, the
"novios" waiting beneath the windows of the adored fair ones, or lightly
strumming serenades on their guitars.

At festival times the city is all animation. The anniversary of the
taking of Granada is celebrated on January 2, when a procession is
formed and proceeds to the Cathedral. Corpus Christi is another feast
day, and there are two fairs during the year, one in June and the other
in September.

But it is Granada of the past rather than of the present that holds us
during a sojourn in the city of hills and vistas. It is the scene of
dreams, a city of meditation. You court serenity rather than hilarity
amid these haunted streets and silent ruins. The Arabs had a saying,
referring to one who was sad, "He is thinking of Granada." It is this
spirit, perhaps, which prevails in the patios of the Alhambra and amid
the orange trees of the Generalife Gardens. And yet it is not true
depression. It is a sense of the glory that has been, a meditativeness
which is induced by the somnolence of the scene, and fostered by the
languorous atmosphere of the South.

An ancient legend, often rehearsed by chroniclers, ascribed the founding
of the city to certain descendants of Noah. It stated that Tubal settled
in Spain and populated the country. There is some evidence that the
province of Granada was the first district in Spain peopled by aliens.
The founder of a town on the site of modern Granada is alleged to have
been the mythical Iberus, who built Illiberis, which has been referred
to as the original city. At any rate Illiberis existed in the Roman
days, for it was a municipium under the rule of Augustus. The town was
also the scene of an ecclesiastical council in the fourth century.

Plundered by the Vandals, and won by the Visigoths, Illiberis was in
decay at the time of the coming of the Moors to the Iberian Peninsula.
With the conquest of Andalusia, the town of Granada first came into

At this period the Berbers overran the territory, though the Moorish
authors relate that settlers from Damascus were the first Eastern
colonizers of Granada.


The greatest obscurity shrouds the history of the city. It is strange
that the writers of medieval times so rarely allude to Granada. About
the year 860, a war raged over Andalusia between the native Moslems and
their foreign rulers, the chief leader of the former being Omar Ben
Hafsûn. Under his lieutenant, Nabil, an attack was made on Granada, and
we read that some exultant verses written by the belligerents were
attached to an arrow and propelled over the city wall. In these verses
the words _Kalat-al-hamra_ ("the Red Castle") appear. This first
reference to Al-Hamra suggests that an edifice for defence stood on the
hill now occupied by the Alhambra.

In 886 Omar Ben Hafsûn appears to have wrested Granada from the Khalifa
of Cordova. A few years later Omar was conquered, and retiring to the
Castle of Bobastro, he embraced the Christian faith, in which he died.

Zawi Ben Ziri, a Berber, first established Granada as a kingdom in 1013.
Gayangos, the Spanish historian, states that Illiberis--or Elvira, as it
was called at this time--was a dwindling city and that Habus Ibn
Makesen, nephew to Zawi Ben Ziri, founded a new town and capital.

Habus was a builder as well as a warrior. He is the putative founder of
the old Kasba, or citadel, in the Albaicin quarter, which was added to
by his heir, Badis, who succeeded him in rule. The king is also said to
have built the Casa del Gallo de Viento, in the same quarter, where he
probably resided. Badis proved an ambitious and warlike monarch, for he
enlarged his dominions widely, and even subdued the resolute hillfolk of
the Alpujarras. He conquered Malaga, and made plans to besiege Seville.
But his force was routed at Cabra by the famous Cid Campeador, Ruy Diaz
de Bivar, the ally of the sultan of that city. To Badis is attributed a
persecution of the Jews, who numbered several thousands in Elvira, and a
terrible slaughter decimated their ranks.

At the advent of the Almoravides, a fierce sect of Northern Africa,
Granada was captured (1090) by Abd-ul-Aziz. The city now rose in
importance. Soon after the Almoravide settlement, the followers of Islam
in Granada attacked the Christians of the city and destroyed their
church by fire. The unfortunate Christians appealed for help to Alfonso
of Aragon, and the king came to their relief at the head of a strong
army. In the combat at Anzul the Almoravides were worsted. Alfonso
before retiring laid waste the fertile plain, and left the Christians to
make the best of their position. His action had little effect upon the
Almoravides, for in 1126 numbers of Christians were banished to Barbary
and the rest bitterly oppressed.


The doom of the Almoravides came in 1148. A mightier host, the rapacious
and fanatical Almohades, surged over the city. The Moorish inhabitants,
strengthening their forces with the aid of Christians and Jews, invited
Ibrahim Ibn Humushk to lead them to the expulsion of the new sectaries.
The invaders took refuge in the Kasba, and sought relief from
Africa, whence an army was despatched. This force was beaten by Humushk,
and the Granadines secured the assistance of the Sultan of Murcia and
Valencia, whose troops attacked the Kasba, which was held by the
Almohades. On the arrival of a second army, they made a sally and
inflicted severe losses upon the soldiers of the sultan and his
Christian allies. After this success, the Almohades endeavoured to
pacify the unruly among their neighbours. Their governor, Sidi Abu
Abrahim Ishak, was a tactful and benevolent leader. He improved the
city, built a palace for himself, and made the Kasba a stronger
fortress. The power of the Almohades was, however, insecure. Ben Hud, a
potent chieftain, who had gained a strip of territory on the coast, now
discerned that the hour was ripe for an assault upon Cordova, Jaen, and
Granada. His domination was not permanent. Mohammed al Ahmar, uniting
with the foes of Ben Hud, held Seville for a brief space, and then drove
his rival to Almeria, where he was murdered in 1237.

Granada now came under the sway of Al Ahmar, and in the hour of his
triumph he was proclaimed monarch of a large part of southern Spain. For
two hundred and fifty years the State founded by him resisted the
Christian hosts. Granada rose to the zenith of power and prosperity. Its
first sultan was a man of high character, courteous, dignified, and
astute. He reigned long, and spent himself in affairs of government and
in military enterprises, though he used every means to maintain peace.

Al Ahmar's last expedition was undertaken against the Spanish forces and
the governors of Guadix and Malaga (their allies) when he was eighty
years of age, and failing in strength through illness. A fall from his
horse brought him to his end. He expired in the arms of his ally, the
Infante Don Felipe, and under cover of darkness his body was borne to
Granada, where it was entombed in the burial ground of Assabica.

The sovereignty now descended to Al Ahmar's son, named Mohammed II., who
ascended the throne in 1273. He was renowned for his wisdom in the law,
and during his reign of twenty-nine years he proved a worthy son of a
great father.


During his negotiations with Alfonso X. at Seville, Mohammed was the
victim of an artifice of Queen Violante. Upon being asked by the queen a
favour, he yielded in accordance with the chivalric notions of the time,
but his chagrin was deep when he learned that he had agreed to a year's
truce to the rebels within his dominion. Smarting under this device, he
made plans for the annihilation of his foes. Now the friend of the
Spaniards against the African, now the ally of his own co-religionists,
Mohammed's career was one of strife. He died in 1302, able to boast that
he had not lost a particle of the soil bequeathed to him by his father.
Mohammed III. was, like his father, a forceful sovereign. He
applied himself rigorously to the government of his territory, often
spending the whole twenty-four hours in affairs of State. In 1306 he
seized Ceuta, and brought a number of the conquered to Granada. But
reverses came when the governor of Almeria rebelled and joined hands
with the King of Aragon. Meanwhile the Castilians attacked Algeciras,
and Mohammed, between two foes, was brought to bay. He extricated
himself from danger by yielding four fortresses and paying a heavy sum.
But his troubles were not at an end. Returning to Granada, he was
surrounded by conspirators in his palace, and forced to yield the throne
to his brother, Abu-l-Juyyush Muley Nasr. Humiliated and defeated,
Mohammed retired to Almuñecar, where he lived in seclusion.

Nasr's first coup after seizing the throne was a successful attack upon
Don Jaime at Almeria. Unfortunately a conspiracy was fomented by his
nephew Abu-l-Walid. Nasr, who seems to have had a fit of apoplexy, was
thought to be dead when Mohammed III. was brought back to Granada. He
was, however, alive upon the return of the lawful sovereign; and on the
authority of some historians he ordered that his rival should be put to
death, while other writers assert that Mohammed was again banished to

Soon after, Nasr was assailed by the followers of Abu-l-Walid, and
forced to yield. As a solatium he was allowed to rule over the town of
Guadix, whither he retired. Al Khattib relates that Nasr was a
philosopher, and versed in the sciences of astronomy and mathematics.

Abu-l-Walid was an implacable foe of the Christians. His assault on
Gibraltar was frustrated; but he gained a signal victory over the
Castilians in 1319, when the princes Pedro and Juan were killed.
Following up this success, he marched upon the towns of Martos and Baza,
and ravaged the country. It was at the latter town that artillery was
first used in Spain.

Hailed with joy, the victorious Abu-l-Walid returned to Granada bearing
the spoils of war. Among the captives was a maiden of unusual beauty,
whom he had wrested from an inferior officer. This act so incensed the
chieftain that three days after he stabbed his ruler outside the
Alhambra. Dying from the wound, Abu-l-Walid exacted an oath of fealty
from the eminent and powerful to his eldest son, Mulai Mohammed Ben
Ismaïl. This command was fulfilled before the sultan's minister
disclosed the death of his royal master.

The boy king, Mohammed IV., was soon busy quelling factions in his
State, and repelling the African army, which took in turn Marbella,
Algeciras, and Ronda. He also defeated the Castilians in several
desperate encounters, but lost the day at Gibraltar.

[Illustration: GRANADA--IN THE MARKET]

Mohammed IV., who was assassinated at Gibraltar by his allies the
Moroccans, was succeeded in 1333 by his brother Yusuf I. This king
was a hater of warfare; he sought the peaceful reform of the community
rather than the expansion of his kingdom. Under his rule Granada
prospered and the condition of the people was bettered. Yusuf I. was
disturbed in the tranquillity of his noble palace at Malaga by the
appeals of the African potentates for his aid in reconquering Spain.
Compelled to join the invaders, he sustained a severe disaster at the
Salado, and was forced to acquire peace at the cost of yielding
Algeciras. He was murdered by a madman in 1358.

Mohammed V. was the next sovereign. He was a worthy son of his
high-principled father, Yusuf; but fate decreed that his reign should
not prove peaceful, for soon after his accession, his younger brother
Ismaïl conspired with certain officers of state and made an attempt to
gain the throne. Upon a night in August, 1360, about one hundred
conspirators climbed the walls of the Kasba and after killing the wizir,
proclaimed Ismaïl as sultan. Mohammed, who was without the palace at the
time, essayed to enter; but he was received with a flight of arrows, and
mounting a horse he galloped away to Guadix. Here he was welcomed, and
from this town he sped to Marbella, thence to Africa, where he received
the aid of Abu-l-Hasan. With troops lent to him he returned to Spain,
hoping to crush the usurper. But Abu-l-Hasan capriciously ordered the
return of his soldiers, and Mohammed retreated to Ronda with a few

Dissension had arisen meanwhile between Ismaïl and Abu Saïd, one of the
chief conspirators, who was burning to take the reins of government in
his own hands. Ismaïl was besieged by Abu Saïd, and upon venturing out
of his palace was slain.

Fresh trouble arose in Granada, for Pedro of Castile came to the
assistance of the lawful ruler. But Mohammed, witnessing the ravage of
the district by the Christian army, was far from receiving the invader
with open arms. "For no empire in the world would I sacrifice my
country," cried the sultan. Thereupon the King of Castile retired, and
Abu Saïd, mistaking the reason of his return to Seville, went thither to
beg his alliance. The story of the sultan's murder, at the instigation
of Pedro the Cruel, has often been told. Abu Saïd was done to death at
Seville, and the resplendent ruby which was taken from him was presented
to the Black Prince of England, and is still preserved among the regalia
of England.

Mohammed then returned to his capital. With the exception of a rebellion
under Ali Ben Nasr, he passed twenty years of peace. Granada became a
more thriving city, and under the sultan's clement administration, it
was the resort of traders of all nations and the centre of culture in
the south. According to Mendoza, the inhabitants of Granada numbered
about 420,000 in the reign of Mohammed V., but it is probable that the
number was wildly over-estimated.


Yusuf II. followed Mohammed V. He was suspected of favouring the
Christians. He certainly released all the captives of that faith, and
restored them to their own country. This act appears to have incited his
son Mohammed to rise against the throne. Yusuf was at first disposed to
relinquish his sovereignty, for he was a lover of peace; but on the
advice of an ambassador from Morocco he raised an army and advanced on

At this period the King of Castile was Enrique III., an incapable
monarch in defiance of whose orders Don Martin de la Barbuda, the Master
of Calatrava, headed an advance into the kingdom of Yusuf. The force
was, however, entirely routed by the Moors. Soon after (1395) Yusuf, the
pacific sovereign, was dead--the victim, it is said, of a poisoned
potion, in the form of a tonic sent him by the Sultan of Fez.

The first exploit of Yusuf's son Mohammed was a visit to Toledo, with
twenty-five mounted attendants, where he appeared before Enrique III.
and besought a renewal of the truce. The armistice was disregarded by
the governor of Andalusia, who invaded the Moorish dominions, till
Mohammed, in reprisal, seized the citadel of Ayamonte. At Jijena he was
defeated, and was forced to plead for peace. He was at the point of
death, when the idea seized him to secure the government of Granada for
his son by the assassination of his brother. The governor of Salobreña
was commanded to put to death the prince whom he had in his keeping.
The doomed man asked leave to finish the game of chess in which he was
engaged, and before either player could cry "Checkmate," the news came
that the prince's brother was dead and that he had been declared sultan.
Yusuf III. was faced with difficulties immediately upon his accession.
Antequera fell into the hands of the Castilians, led by the Infante
Fernando. The defenders were slain, and only about two thousand of the
townsmen outlived the rigours of the siege. The survivors were allowed
to settle in Granada, and they gave the name of Antequeruela to the

When the natives of Gibraltar revolted, and declared allegiance to Fez,
the sultan of that State sent his brother Abu Saïd to secure the town.
Abu Saïd, being left to the mercy of the enemy, was seized and brought
to Granada, where he was shown a letter from the ruler of Fez desiring
that he might be despatched. With this request the generous Yusuf
refused to comply. He released his captive and furnished him with money
and troops with which he left for Africa. The brother who had planned
his death was hurled from the throne, and till Abu Saïd's death Granada
did not want an ally.


In rapid succession sultans now flit across the lurid page of Granada's
history. It is a gloomy tale of incessant civil strife and of
unsuccessful warfare with the Christians. Rulers are expelled from their
thrones by pretenders who themselves fall victims to the poignards
of their partisans. Sovereigns purchase their disputed crowns by selling
the honour and independence of their country to the foreigner. To trace
the miserable vicissitudes of the careers--we cannot call them
reigns--of Mohammed VII., Mohammed VIII., Yusuf IV., and Saïd Ben
Ismaïl, would be to weary and disgust you with a nation whose stubborn
fight against overwhelming odds should command our respect.

The last act in the protracted drama began with the accession of Mulai
Hasan in the year 1465. With his famous reply to the Castilian
ambassadors who demanded tribute, "Here we manufacture only iron
spear-heads for our enemies," the final campaign began. Every incident
of that war has been made familiar to us Anglo-Saxons by the pen of
Prescott. In his pages long ago most of us read of the taking of Zahara
by the Moors and of the brilliant surprise of the fortress of Alhama by
the gallant Marquis of Cadiz. We have not forgotten the wailing of the
Moors, "Ay de mi, Alhama!" nor the domestic revolution that followed
when the old sultan was hurled from his throne by his son Boabdil. Poor
Boabdil, on whom the blame of all his country's disasters has been laid
by historians, Christian and Arab! Weak or foolhardy, the "Little King"
fought like a Trojan against Ferdinand and Isabella for his country, and
against his father and his uncle for his crown, at one and the same
time. He was taken prisoner by Ferdinand and is said to have signed a
treaty surrendering his dominions to the Catholic Sovereigns. This is
rendered improbable by his comparatively generous treatment at the end
of the war, when he had resisted the Spaniards to the uttermost, and
fought them many times after his release from captivity. Desperate deeds
of valour were done on both sides, though the strategy of the Spanish
commanders does not appear to have been of a very high order, since,
with the whole of Spain at their back, it took them eleven years to
conquer a small kingdom distracted by three rival rulers. The old sultan
retired from the contest, as finally did his brother, the brave Zaghal.
When the Christians were preparing a final assault on the doomed city,
Boabdil rode out from the Alhambra, for the last time, on the morning of
the memorable 2nd of January, 1492. Ferdinand with a brilliant cavalcade
awaited him on the banks of the Genil. The keys were handed over, a
hurried exchange of formal courtesies, and the last ruler of the Spanish
Moors passed away into exile and obscurity. The rays of the wintry sun
glinted on the great silver cross which was hoisted on the Torre de la
Vela in token that the reign of Mohammed was for ever at an end in


Yes, at an end. On that morning, Ferdinand and Isabella accomplished the
task begun by Pelayo at Covadonga, seven hundred and seventy-four years
before. The Moorish dominion in Spain had endured little short of eight
centuries. It was as if the descendants of Harold Godwin were to
arise and overthrow the existing English monarchy. But what is most
remarkable is that the petty State of Granada had survived the break-up
of the great Moorish empire in the west by two hundred and fifty years.
Such a race deserved a manlier if not a more beautiful monument than the

What followed the extinction of the Nasrid monarchy is not pleasant
reading. The rights and privileges guaranteed the conquered were soon
swept aside. The mild Archbishop de Talavera, the humane Tendilla, were
superseded in the government of the city by fanatics more after
Isabella's heart. Systematic persecution of the luckless Moslems ensued.
They revolted, and their revolt was quenched with their own blood. They
were intimidated, browbeaten, imprisoned, condemned, and burned. Their
language, costume, and creed were banned. They were ordered to embrace
Christianity under pain of death, and forbidden to quit the country.
They appealed to Egypt, but it is a long way from the banks of the Genil
to those of the Nile. Finally (and one hears of it with relief) they
were all expelled from the country. As a race they perished utterly. The
art, the civilization, which they had learnt on Spanish soil, they left
buried in Spanish ground, and it was a long time before it was

The price Spain paid for national unity was a heavy one, but it was
worth it. When we turn to Turkey, can anyone say that a united Spain
would have been possible, with the fairest of her provinces and cities
and the whole of her southern seaboard in possession of a people alien
in race, tongue and creed?

With Oriental people, the history of the palace is the history of the
State. At Granada every traveller turns instinctively towards the
Alhambra as the point of supreme interest. The famous pile is to the
city what the Mezquita is to Cordova--not quite, perhaps, since Granada
contains more than one building of intrinsic interest.

The Alhambra has been so often described (by the present writer among
others) that it is not easy to say anything new in regard to it, or even
to avoid identity of language with other writers in the description of
certain of its parts. Yet it would be impossible to give any account of
Granada without some notice of this famous building. To begin with, I
must impress on those about to visit it for the first time that the
Alhambra is not a single palace, but properly speaking is the name given
to a fortified eminence lying to the south-east of the city, and
including two palaces, a citadel, and a multitude of private residences.
In its nature it may be compared with the Acropolis of Athens and the
far-distant Castle of Bamborough. The name, as most people are aware, is
derived from _Kalat al hamra_--"the Red Castle," to adopt a translation
which I have never seen disputed. (While not pretending to rank as an
Arabist, I have not failed to notice that an infinite number of
words put forward as Arabic by writers on the Spanish Moors are
unintelligible to Syrian and Egyptian Arabs, and, which is more to the
point, to many Hindu students of Arabic.) In shape the hill has been
cleverly compared by Ford to a grand piano. Rearward it abuts on the
Cerro del Sol ("the Mountain of the Sun"), to which Washington Irving
alludes so often.


To the south of the Alhambra hill lies another and a narrower spur,
which is crowned near the town end by the Vermilion Towers, or Torres
Bermejas; on the north-east rises the hill of the Generalife, laid out
in gardens. The townward extremity of the Alhambra is washed at the foot
by the river Darro, and is crowned by the Torre de la Vela, of which
more anon.

To reach the Alhambra you ascend from the Plaza Nueva in the heart of
the town by the steep and narrow Calle Gomeres. This street is laid out
to attract and cater for tourists, who are greeted here with a civility
and cordiality not always conspicuous in the rest of the town. Half-way
up the toilsome ascent you will probably be waylaid by a
theatrically-attired personage who will accost you in bad French with
the information that he is the chief of the gipsies. The costume he
wears was given to his father or grandfather by Fortuny--one of the rare
examples of artists condescending to manufacture the picturesque. The
chief will endeavour to engage you in conversation, and will offer you
his photograph at fifty centimes a copy. If you have a camera he will
allow you to take his portrait for a consideration. It seems incredible
that a human being could be so much of a nuisance and yet remain in good
health and spirits.

The dragon having been successfully circumvented, you enter the
Hesperides, or in other words, the charming Alamedas of the Alhambra.
These groves occupy the deep depression between the famous hill and the
Vermilion Towers. They are planted with magnificent elms, sent hither, I
believe, from England by the Duke of Wellington. They have thriven well
in Spanish soil, and harbour a colony of nightingales and other
singing-birds, unusually numerous for this land of passion, where wines
are rich and birds are rare. The "bulbul," as certain writers love to
call it, sings very sweetly in these leafy retreats, a statement some
travellers who persist in coming at the wrong season will not hesitate
to contradict. I must admit that the bird is as elusive as the
"alpengluh," or as the hunter's moon at Tintern. It is always cool here
on the slope of the Alhambra. Even the fierce rays of the Andalusian sun
cannot penetrate the thick leafage. Rills bubbling forth from the red
sides of the hill, or tumbling over its edge, keep the roots of the
trees perennially moist and feed a dense under-growth. On summer
afternoons this is the only spot in Granada where you may sit in
comfort. Meanwhile, up and down in quick succession pass the sandalled
water-carriers hurrying to fill their skins with the precious fluid
and to dispense it in the scorched, thirsty town below. "Agua-a-ah!"
Their prolonged nasal drawling cry comes back to me as I write, and I
seem to hear the rapid patter of their feet and to see the light cutting
chequers on the shadow of the trees. A great man is the water-carrier,
loved and respected by all the people of southern Spain. We who live in
the humid sea-girt North can little understand the longing for clear,
cool water, the reverence for its dispensers, that must ever be felt in
the South. How constantly wells are referred to in the Bible: "As the
hart panteth after the water brooks," "With joy shall ye draw waters
from the wells of salvation." How significant are these beautiful
passages for those that have journeyed to the South!


Reluctantly withdrawing from this delightful spot, you must climb the
hill to the right of the entrance--there is a winding path to the
summit. Here you find the Torres Bermejas--a group of exceedingly
ancient and not very dilapidated towers, used as a military prison. They
date, it is believed, from the days before the Zirite dynasty, but you
will not be tempted to examine them attentively, for the purlieus are of
the most uninviting description. The adjoining cottages are peopled by
rascally-looking men and slatternly women, who would be better, one
would think, inside than just outside a gaol.

In ancient days an embattled wall connected these towers with the
opposite point of the Alhambra, closing the mouth of the valley, which
was not then the pleasaunce it is now, but an arid ravine used as the
burial ground of the fortress. The entrance to the valley is now through
the Puerta de las Granadas, built by order of Charles V. Taking the path
to the left, we soon reach the fountain in the Renaissance style,
erected in 1545 by Pedro Machuca, by order of the Conde de Tendilla. It
is ornamented with the imperial shield and the heads of the three
river-gods, Genil, Darro, and Beiro. The medallions represent Alexander
the Great, Hercules slaying the hydra, Phryxus and Helle, and Daphne
pursued by Apollo. The laurels growing out of the distressed damsel's
head give her the appearance of a Sioux brave. A few steps beyond we
reach the famous Puerta de la Justicia, so called because within it the
Moorish sultans or their kadis administered justice--or it may have been
merely law. This entrance is formed by two towers of reddish brick,
placed back to back, and united by an upper storey. We look at once for
the hand and key so often referred to by Irving, and distinguish them
with difficulty--the first over the outermost horseshoe arch, the latter
over the middle arch. Opinion is divided as to the meaning of these
symbols. The key is supposed by some to signify the power of God to
unlock the gate of Heaven to the true believer, while the hand appears
to have been regarded as a talisman against the evil eye. A winding
corridor leads through the gate into the citadel, past an
inscription celebrating the Conquest in 1492, and an altar now enclosed
within a sort of cupboard.


This gate is placed at right angles to the wall which girdles the hill
and runs along its edge, following all its inequalities of level. It is
in fairly good preservation, but the rampart walk has disappeared here
and there. Of the square mural towers a great many remain--some
hopelessly ruinous, others inhabited by the guardians of the domain or
their widows and relations. The towers on the south-west side, as far as
I could judge, were better adapted for defence than those on the
north-east, where the width of the windows would have greatly
embarrassed the defence. The area enclosed by the outer wall was
divided, it seems, by two cross walls into what, in the medieval
parlance, we would call the outer, middle and inner wards. To the last
corresponded the citadel proper or Kasba (Alcazaba, the Spaniards call
it), whose massive walls rise to your left on emerging from the Puerta
de la Justicia. This is the oldest part of the fortress. It occupies the
extremity of the plateau, which is marked by the tall, square Torre de
la Vela, or watch tower, whereon a silver cross was planted by the
"Tercer Rey," Cardinal Mendoza, to announce the occupation of the
Alhambra by the Spaniards. Here also is a bell which can be heard as far
off as Loja, and which, if struck with sufficient force by a maiden, is
said to have the faculty of procuring her a husband. The view from the
platform is noble. The dazzling white city is spread out beneath, in
front stretches the Vega, to the south the eyes rest lovingly on the
white streaks of the Sierra Nevada.

Upon this tower I met a French entomologist, who announced that he
should not trouble to visit any other part of the Alhambra, and was, in
fact, surprised to learn that there was anything more to see. His
horizon was bounded by the Lepidoptera, on one side, and the Coleoptera
(I think that is the word) on the other. After all, archæologists take
no more interest in black beetles than entomologists do in buildings.
Incidentally, I should think Granada an admirable place for the intimate
study of insects.

From the Torre de las Armas, a road led from the citadel down the
declivity to the town, crossing the Darro by the ruined Puente del Cadi.
On the inner side the citadel is strengthened by the picturesque Torre
del Homenage--a name often given to towers in Spain. The open space
before it, where the water-carriers gather round the well, was a
comparatively deep ravine in Moorish times, and was not levelled up till
after the fall of Boabdil. On the opposite side--facing the Torre del
Homenage--it was bounded by what I will call the wall of the middle
ward, which ran across from the Torre de las Gallinas to near the Puerta
de la Justicia, and of which only the gatehouse, the beautiful Puerta
del Vino, remains.


This admitted to the area which contained the palaces and also the
little town of the Alhambra--inhabited by persons attached to the
court, the ulema, chiefs of such powerful tribes as the Beni Serraj and
the Beni Theghri, discarded sultanas, ex-favourites, soldiers of
fortune, plenipotentiaries and envoys, and a crowd of parasites and
hangers-on. To-day the population is limited chiefly to one little
street, composed of pensions, photographers' shops and estancos. The
plan of the whole fortress no doubt varied from age to age, but in the
main agreed with that according to which most European strongholds were
constructed. There was the outer wall with its mural towers and
gatehouses; a strong inner ward, in place of a keep shut off by a ditch
or ravine; and two or more other enclosures, each defended by a wall
with a fortified entrance. It does not seem that the portcullis and
drawbridge were used by the Moorish engineers.

While the Kasba is generally attributed to an earlier dynasty, the outer
wall and the other Moorish buildings are almost unanimously ascribed to
Al Ahmar and his successors of the Nasrid dynasty. To reach the Alhambra
Palace, called pre-eminently by foreigners the Alhambra and by the
Spaniards the Alcazar, or Palacio Arabe, you pass across the plaza,
leaving the unfinished Palace of Charles V. to your right. Behind it you
find not an imposing and gorgeous structure, but what appears to be a
collection of tile-roofed sheds. A mean, characterless entrance admits
you to the far-famed palace.

The building belongs to the last stage of Spanish-Arabic art, when the
seed of Mohammedan ideas and culture had long since taken root in the
soil and produced a style purely local in many of its features. Some
authorities trace the first principles of Arabic architecture back to
the Copts; the Spaniards argue that their style is derived from
Byzantine works they found before them in Andalusia. The germs of Arabic
art are certainly not, if travellers' tales be true, to be found in
Arabia. The Saracen conquerors were warriors, not artists, and their
ideas of form and ornament were undoubtedly borrowed--like their vaunted
culture--from the more civilized nations with which they came in
contact. With Morocco just across the strait, it is not safe to claim
too much of native genius and refinement for the Moor. Whatever may have
been the primitive models of Andalusian architecture, as time went by it
lost much of the dignity and simplicity of its earliest examples--such
as the Giralda and the Mezquita. The Moors of Granada had wearied of the
fanaticism and austerity of Islam. If not precisely decadent, they had
lost the fire and enthusiasm of youth, and wanted to enjoy a comfortable
old age. If the palace we are about to enter seems in parts more like
the bower of an odalisque than the seat of royalty, we must remember
that the sultans wanted to enjoy life here, and had no fancy for the
stern, military-looking palaces of their Christian rivals. Your
Oriental, like the cat, values luxury very highly, and yet, from
our point of view, does not seem to secure it. A European would have
found himself hopelessly uncomfortable at the court of Al Ahmar and
Mohammed V.


Architecturally the Alhambra Palace has little merit. It is impossible
to trace any order in the distribution of its parts, which ought not of
course to be expected in a building repeatedly added to in the course of
two and a half centuries. Moreover, a portion was demolished to make
room for the Palace of Charles V. The Moorish builders were fond of
conceits which our taste condemns. They liked to conceal the supports of
a heavy tower, and to leave it seemingly suspended in the air. There is
nothing imposing about the edifice, nothing stately. Its great charm
consists in its decoration, which is wonderful and, in its own line,
beyond all praise. It is based on the strictest geometrical plan, and
every design and pattern may be resolved into a symmetrical arrangement
of lines and curves at regular distances. The intersection of lines at
various angles is the secret of the system. All these lines flow from a
parent stem, and nothing accidental or extraneous is permitted. The same
adhesion to sharply-defined principles is conspicuous in the
colour-scheme. On the stucco only the primary colours are used; the
secondary tints being reserved for the dados of mosaic or tile work. The
green seen on the groundwork was originally blue. To-day, when the white
parts have assumed the tint of old ivory and time has subdued the vivid
colouring, the effect is more harmonious than it could have been

Epigraphy, or long flowing inscriptions, proclaiming the merits of the
sultans or of the chambers themselves, enters largely into the
decoration. Those who can read these at a glance must find the halls
less monotonous than most people are likely to do. The beauty of the
ornamentation consists in its exquisite symmetry, and this is not
apparent to every comer, who may fail to realize with Mr. Lomas "that
the exact relation between the irregular widths of cloistering on the
long and short sides of the court [of the Lions] is that of the squares
upon the sides of a right-angled triangle"!

The inscription that most frequently recurs in the decoration is the
famous "There is no conqueror but God"--the words used by Al Ahmar on
his return from the siege of Seville, in deprecation of the acclamations
of his subjects. The newer parts are readily recognizable by the yoke
and sheaf of arrows, the favourite devices of Ferdinand and Isabella,
whose initials, F and Y, are also seen; and by the Pillars of Hercules
and the motto "Plus Oultre," denoting work executed by order of Charles

The oldest part of the building--by which I mean that which appears to
have been the least altered--is round about the Patio de la Mezquita,
more properly named "del Mexuar," after the divan or "meshwâr" that held
its sittings here. The southern façade of this small court reminds one
very much of the front of the Alcazar at Seville. From this you enter
the disused chapel, an uninteresting apartment consecrated in 1629. The
Moorish decoration has almost completely disappeared, but much of the
work in the little apartment adjacent, called the Sultan's Oratory,
seems to be original. There never was a mosque here, but there may have
been a private praying-place. Yusuf I. is supposed to have been stabbed
here. The tragic deed was more probably done at the great mosque outside
the palace where the Alhambra parish church now stands. From the Patio
del Mexuar a tunnel called the Viaducto leads to the Patio de la Reja,
the Baths, and the Garden of Daraxa.

The Court of the Myrtles (Patio de las Arrayanes, or de la Alberca) is
the first entered by the visitor. It is an oblong space, the middle of
which is occupied by a tank of bright green water. This is bordered by
trimly kept hedges of myrtle. The side walls are modern, and do not
deserve attention. The front to the right on entering is very beautiful.
It is composed of two arcaded galleries, one above the other, with a
smaller closed gallery--a sort of triforium--interposed. The arches
spring from marble columns, with variously decorated capitals. The
central arch of the lowest gallery rises nearly to the cornice, and is
decorated in a style which Contreras thought suggestive of Indian
architecture. Fine lattice work closes the seven windows of the
triforium. The upper gallery is equally graceful, but looks in imminent
danger of collapse. Above a similar but single arcade at the opposite
end of the court rises the square massive upper storey of the Tower of
Comares, with its crenellated summit. To reach its interior we cross the
gallery beneath a little dome painted with stars on a blue ground, and a
long parallel apartment (Sala de la Barca) gutted by fire in 1890, and
enter the spacious Hall of the Ambassadors (Sala de los Embajadores),
the largest hall in the Alhambra. Here was held the final council which
decided the fate of Islam in Spain. Looking upwards we behold the
glorious airy dome of larch-wood with painted stars. The decoration is
magnificent--mostly in red and black--and may be divided into four
zones: (1) a dado of mosaic tiles or azulejos; (2) stucco work in eight
horizontal bands, each of a different design; (3) a row of five windows
once filled with stained glass on each side; (4) a carved wooden
cornice, supporting the roof. On three sides of the hall are alcoves,
each with a window, the one opposite the entrance having been near the
Sultan's throne.

The Hall of the Ambassadors probably never looked very different from
what it is now. It was never a private apartment. We can imagine it
occupied, when no function was proceeding, by a few slaves dozing on
mats or reclining dog-like on the richly carpeted floor, ready, however,
to spring up and make the lowest of salaams as some bearded dignity


This splendid hall and the other apartments adjacent to the Court of the
Myrtles are supposed (I know not on what authority) to have
constituted the official or public part of the royal residence, together
with the apartments demolished to make room for the Palace of Charles V.
The rest of the building, on this supposition, was the private or harem
quarter. A narrow passage leads from the Court of the Myrtles to the
Court of the Lions. "There is no part of the edifice that gives us a
more complete idea of its original beauty and magnificence than this,"
says Washington Irving, "for none has suffered so little from the
ravages of time. In the centre stands the fountain famous in song and
story. The alabaster basins still shed their diamond drops; and the
twelve lions which support them cast forth their crystal streams as in
the days of Boabdil. [The fountain nowadays plays only once a year.] The
architecture, like that of all other parts of the palace, is
characterized by elegance rather than grandeur; bespeaking a delicate
and a graceful taste, and a disposition to indolent enjoyment. When one
looks upon the fairy tracery of the peristyles, and the apparently
fragile fretwork of the walls, it is difficult to believe that so much
has survived the wear and tear of centuries, the shocks of earthquakes,
the violence of war, and the quiet though no less baneful pilferings of
the tasteful traveller; it is almost sufficient to excuse the popular
tradition that the whole is protected by a magic charm."

I fancy that the gifted American was himself responsible for that
tradition, for the Spaniards, as Lady Louisa Tenison observed sixty odd
years ago, are not an imaginative race, and whatever legends or
traditions are current relate almost exclusively to the Virgin and
saints. Spanish folk-lore knows nothing of fairies and goblins. The
palace which Irving tells us the people regarded as enchanted had been
used by them for years as a factory, as store-rooms, as a laundry, as a
caravanserai. This hardly suggests that it was looked upon with
superstitious awe. The truth is that the palace had enchanted Washington
Irving, as it has done many others--not natives--since.

The Court of the Lions is an oblong, surrounded by a gallery formed by
124 marble columns, eleven feet in height and placed irregularly, some
in pairs, some single. The arches exhibit a similar variety of curve,
and the capitals are of various designs. The tile roofing of the
galleries rather mars the effect, but the stucco work within them is of
the richest and finest description. In the centre of the short sides are
two charming little pavilions, with "half-orange" domes and basins in
their marble flooring. The court is gravelled, and derives its name from
the twelve marble animals that support the basin of the central
fountain. These creatures are called lions, but why I am at a loss to
understand. They look more like poodles than any other living
quadrupeds. Ford humorously remarks: "Their faces are barbecued, and
their manes cut like the scales of a griffin, and their legs like
bedposts, while water-pipes stuck in their mouths do not add to their
dignity." An Arabic inscription reminds us that nothing need be
feared from them, as life is wanting to enable them to show their fury.
That fury would no doubt have been directed in the first instance at the
sculptor who had made of the unfortunate creatures such grotesque


The court is surrounded by four splendid rooms--the halls of the
Mocarabes, the Abencerrages, the Two Sisters, and of Justice. The second
and third resemble each other, and are covered with the most marvellous
specimens of the artesonado or carved wood ceiling. The stalactites or
pendants, though in reality following a strict geometrical plan, exhibit
complications and varieties that it is impossible for the eye to follow.
The style may well have been suggested by the honey-comb. It is
confusing, beautiful, glorious--certainly the most remarkable
achievement of the art of the Spanish Moor. The walls are covered with
lace-work in stucco of the most exquisite pattern, with mosaic dados,
and friezes decorated with inscriptions in praise of Mohammed V. At the
sides of the rooms are the alcoves characteristic of Oriental domestic

The Hall of the Two Sisters is so called from a couple of slabs of
marble let into the flooring. The other chamber derives its name from
the thirty-six chiefs of the Beni Serraj tribe, fabled to have been
decapitated within it by order of Boabdil. The story was a pure
invention of a Ginés Perez de Hita, a writer who lived in the sixteenth
century. It has now spread through all lands, thanks to the version of
Chateaubriand. The tribe is supposed in this story to have espoused the
"Little King's" cause against his father, Mulai Hasan. Later on their
chief, Hamet, was suspected of intriguing with the Castilians; and, what
was still more criminal in the eyes of a Moslem, of carrying on a love
affair with one of the sultanas. A cypress in the gardens of the
Generalife is pointed out as the lovers' trysting-place. The sultan
resolved to make an end of this pestilent brood, but Hamet himself,
warned at the eleventh hour, escaped the fate of his kinsmen. The frail
sultana would have shared their fate, had not four champions presented
themselves and vindicated her reputation against all comers in the
lists. Thus the affair ended happily--except for the thirty-six chiefs.
Thus the story. I hope it will stimulate your imagination. For myself,
there is an utter absence of the personal and human note about these
gorgeous Moorish halls. It is certainly easier to believe that they
sprang into existence at the bidding of an enchanter than that they were
ever the scenes of men's loves and hates, hopes and fears.


The Hall of Justice (Sala de la Justicia), at the far side of the Court
of Lions, is a long apartment, divided into alcoves specially remarkable
for the paintings on its ceiling. These have been the subject of endless
controversy. To begin with, it was doubted if a Mohammedan could have
painted them, since the representation of living objects is contrary to
the injunctions of the Koran. I have it on the authority of a very
learned Moslem friend, a recognized authority on Mohammedan law, that
the plastic arts are not forbidden by the Prophet, but merely pointed
out as a possible snare and stumbling-block in the way of the believer.
Painting has been a recognized art in Persia for centuries, and I have
seen some pictures from that country which reveal no mean degree of
skill. There is therefore no good reason to doubt that these curious
works were executed by Moorish artists at the end of the fourteenth
century. They are done on leather prepared with gypsum and nailed to the
wooden ceiling. The colours (red, green, gold, etc.) are still vivid,
but mildew is covering them in parts, and in places the gypsum is
peeling off. These valuable specimens of Moorish art ought to have been
taken down and placed under glass long ago. The first of the three
represents ten bearded, robed, and turbaned personages, who may with
some degree of probability be identified with the first sultans of the
Nasrid dynasty. According to Oliver, the Moor in the green costume
occupying the middle of one side is Al Ahmar, the founder of the race.
Then, counting from his right, come Mohammed II., Nasr Abu-l-Juyyush,
Mohammed IV., Saïd Ismaïl, Mohammed V. (in the red robe), Yusuf II.,
Yusuf I., Abu-l-Walid, and Mohammed III. The family likeness between
these potentates is striking, and the red beards suggest a liberal use
of the dye still largely used by the Oriental man of middle age. The
other pictures are more interesting. The first represents hunting
scenes. Moors are seen chasing the wild boar, while Spanish knights are
in pursuit of the lion and the bear. In another part of the composition
the huntsmen are seen returning and offering the spoils of the chase to
their ladies. The Moor greets his sultana with a benign and
condescending air, the Christian on his knees offers his prize to his
lady. In the next picture is another hunting scene, with a page, with
sword and shield, leaning against a tree, awaiting his master's return.
In another quarter of the picture his master (presumably) is rescuing a
distressed damsel from a wild-looking creature who is quite undismayed
by the tame lion accompanying his captive. Further on, the same knight
is unhorsed and overthrown by a Moorish huntsman, two ladies from a
castle in the background most ungratefully applauding the Christian's
discomfiture. The pictures evidently were intended to record the
incidents of a border warfare not dissimilar to those commemorated in
our ballad of Chevy Chase.

In this hall a temporary chapel was set up, and mass was celebrated, on
the taking of the city by the Spaniards.


Crossing the Hall of the Two Sisters, we enter the beautiful Mirador de
"Lindaraja," the most charming and elegant of all the apartments in the
palace. Through three tall windows, once filled with coloured crystals,
we look down into the pretty Patio de Daraxa, which, like the chamber,
does not derive its name from an imaginary sultana, but from a word
meaning "vestibule." It is a delightful garden, where shade is always to
be obtained between the closely planted cypresses, orange, and peach
trees, rising between twin hedges of box and bushes of rose and myrtle.
In the centre is a seventeenth-century fountain. Here you will always
find some artist committing to canvas his impressions of one of the
fairest gardens men have fashioned for themselves.

The rooms on the other side of the patio were built by Charles V., and
include the Tocador de la Reina, or Queen's Boudoir, a prettily
decorated belvedere affording an entrancing view. It was in this room
that Washington Irving took up his quarters. Théophile Gautier slept
sometimes in the hall of the Abencerrages, sometimes in that of the Two
Sisters, and was impressed by the eerieness of the palace at night. Yet
there is not a manor-house in England or a château in France that is not
more suggestive of the spectral and uncanny than these gilded halls and
open courts. However, everyone has his own preconceptions of the weird
and the picturesque.

From the Patio de Daraxa we enter the very interesting Baths, ably
restored by the late Don Rafael Contreras. The Sala de las Camas, or
chamber of repose, is among the most brilliantly decorated rooms in the
palace, yet, as elsewhere in this neglected pile, the gilding is being
suffered to fade and the tiling in the niches, I noticed, is loosening
and breaking up. From a gallery running round the chamber, the music of
the odalisques was wafted down to the sultan reclining in one of the
divans below. He must have been in no hurry to leave this spot, where he
dreamily puffed at his hubble-bubble and watched the play of the
fountain. The light came from apertures in the superb artesonado
ceiling. Without, on a stone seat, the eunuchs mounted guard and
preserved their lord's repose from interruption. The actual baths are
contained in two adjacent chambers. A staircase ascended to the Hall of
the Two Sisters above, for the use, not improbably, of the ladies of the
harem. On leaving the baths you may follow the tunnel across the
uninteresting Patio de la Reja and beneath the Tower of Comares, to the
Patio del Mexuar.


No visitor to the Alhambra must omit to walk round the outer wall or
enceinte, and to inspect the towers. The Torre de las Damas, a fortified
tower dating from the time of Yusuf I., was inhabited by Ismaïl, the
brother of Mohammed V., and marked the palace limits on this side. It
contains a tastefully decorated hall. Adjacent to it is a beautiful if
gaudy little Mohammedan mihrab or oratory, approached through a private
garden. Here was the house of Anastasio de Bracamonte, the esquire of
the Conde de Tendilla, to whom was assigned the custody of the Alhambra
at the Reconquest. The Puerta de Hierro, a little further on, was
restored at the same time, and faces the gate and path leading to the
Generalife. Passing the Torre de los Picos, we reach the Torre de
la Cautiva, which contains a beautiful chamber, over which a lovely rosy
tint is diffused by the tiles and stucco. The Torre de las Infantas,
built by Mohammed VII., is a perfect example of an Oriental
dwelling-house. Through the usual zigzag vestibule you reach a hall with
a fountain in the centre and alcoves in three of the sides. The
decoration is perhaps over elaborate. The towers on the other side of
the enceinte were, as I have said, intended mainly for defence. Near the
ruinous Torre del Agua, at the south-east extremity, a viaduct crosses
the ravine from the Generalife, and some of the water precipitates
itself over the brow of the hill in a mass of vivid living greenery.
Further on, towards the Gate of Justice, is the Torre de los Siete
Suelos, through which Boabdil is said to have made his last exit. It is
supposed to extend far underground, and to contain much buried treasure.
So at least Irving was told by the inhabitants, or possibly told them!
Hence issues the Belludo, the spectral pack, which traverses the streets
of Granada by night--also according to legend. This story of the Wild
Huntsman crops up, in one form or another, in every part of Europe.
There are the Dandy Dogs in Cornwall, the Wild Huntsman in Germany,
Thibaut le Tricheur in the valley of the Loire, the Chasseur Noir of
Fontainebleau, and so on. Folk-lore of this sort is easily fabricated.
Foreigners in search of the picturesque ask the natives of such a place
as this if ghosts do not haunt the ruins. The guide, anxious to please,
says "Doubtless!" The foreigner goes on to tell him of spectres that
affect this particular class of building at home; and the guide readily
devises a local version of the yarn for the benefit of the next
stranger. I have found that the peasantry in most European countries
hear of their local traditions and folk-lore first through the medium of
books. And these remarks apply with especial force to the people of
Latin countries, whom, contrary to the received opinion, I know to be
less imaginative and less superstitious than northerners. It is natural
that the gloomy forests of Germany and Sweden, rather than the sunlit
plains of Andalusia, should generate dark fancies.

Strictly speaking the Generalife, the Trianon of the Moorish kings, is a
more beautiful place than the Alhambra, though it has no architectural
merit. It became the property at the Reconquest of a Christianized Moor,
Don Pedro de Granada, who claimed to be descended from the famous Ben
Hud, and from whose family it passed into the possession of the
Marquises of Campotejar. The approach lies along a magnificent avenue of
cypresses and tall shrubs. Arrived at the entrance you are admitted by a
very comely damsel, and allowed to wander about the lovely gardens by
yourself and to stay there all day if you like. At the far end of the
first court is a poor collection of portraits, among which is one--No.
11--absurdly supposed to be a portrait of Ben Hud (died about 1237),
though the person is dressed in the costume of the fifteenth century.
This is the portrait which English travellers, and even the usually
correct Baedeker, persist in mistaking for Boabdil's.


The gardens of the Generalife are beyond all praise. Water bubbles up
everywhere, and moistens the roots of gorgeous oleanders, myrtles,
orange trees, cedars, and cypresses--the tallest trees in Spain. Beneath
one of these--that to the right as you reach the head of the first
flight of steps--the sultana is alleged to have kept her tryst with
Hamet, the Abencerrage. Not a bad place, this, for a lovers' meeting.
You rise from one flower-laden terrace to another till you reach the
ugly belvedere--scribbled all over with idiots' names--whence you obtain
a ravishing view of the Alhambra, the city, the Vega, and the mountains.
The hours spent in the Generalife Gardens will be remembered as among
the pleasantest of one's lifetime.

It may be, as a French writer states, impossible to tickle the surface
of Granada without discovering Moorish remains, but certainly, outside
the Alhambra, very few are to be seen above ground. The most conspicuous
of them in the lower town is, on the whole, the Casa del Carbon, a
dilapidated structure with a bold horseshoe archway which confronts you
as you cross the Reyes Catolicos near the Post Office. The house is now
used as a coal depot, but beneath the thick coating of grime you may
discern the traces of graceful decorative work. The building is said to
have been a corn exchange in Moorish days. More interesting are the
vestiges of the ancient walls that girdled the oldest quarter, _el
viejo Albaicin_. They were built in great part by Christian
captives--perhaps by those whose chains are hung up on the walls of San
Juan de los Reyes at Toledo. The Moors of Granada grew embittered by
their reverses, and treated their Christian subjects harshly. The
martyrs whom the monument on the Alhambra hill commemorates are not
merely the creatures of pious imagination. There is an ugly story, too,
of an unfortunate monk accused of heretical doctrines, who took refuge
at Granada and was burnt at the stake by the Moslems.

Two of the old gatehouses on this side of the city are still standing.
They are massive crenellated towers, pierced with round-headed archways.
I do not consider them entrancingly picturesque; they form the northern
entrances to the Albaicin quarter, which is now a perplexing congeries
of squalid houses, formless convents, and churches tottering to their
fall. Whatever interest its antiquity may excite is lost in disgust at
its wretchedness. On the outskirts dwell the gipsies--mostly in
semi-underground burrows, and left very much to themselves by the local
authority. These are the poor creatures who are dragged out to bore
visitors with their wearisome dances, the fee charged for which goes
almost entirely into the pockets of the guides. The gipsies of Spain are
not nomadic. There are people in Granada who wish they were.


In the Albaicin the Zirite sultans had their palaces, one of which was
called the House of the Weathercock, from the bronze figure of a
horseman that surmounted it and served as a vane. Washington Irving has
written a story about it. Fragments of all these ancient buildings are
incorporated with modern houses, and may be identified by those who care
to take the trouble. Romantic legends (of the precise nature of which I
am ignorant) cluster round the Casa de las Tres Estrellas, possibly
because it affords ingress to a subterranean passage leading no man
knows whither. But I do not think you will be tempted to linger long in
this odoriferous, wormeaten quarter. You may be said to have escaped
from it when you reach the picturesque Carrera de Darro, the embankment
of that narrow stream facing the Alhambra. Here may be seen a Moorish
bath at one of the private houses, and--much more delightful to the
artist--a broken Moorish bridge, the Puente del Cadi, to which a path
led down from the Torre de las Armas. Against the little church near
this point you will notice a white corner house with a handsome doorway
in the Renaissance style. At the angle of the house is a balcony,
bearing the odd inscription, "Esperandola del Cielo" ("Waiting for it
from Heaven"). The words are accounted for by the following story: The
house was built by Hernando de Zafra, the astute secretary of Ferdinand
and Isabella, and the negotiator of the capitulation of Granada. He
suspected his daughter of a love affair with an unknown cavalier. To
satisfy his doubts he surprised her one day, and found his page
assisting the lover to escape by the window. Baulked of his prey the
enraged father turned upon the lad. "Mercy," implored the page. "Look
for it in Heaven!" answered the Don, as he hurled his daughter's
accomplice after her lover into the street below. There are those who
say that De Zafra had no daughter, and that he has been libelled in this
matter. But the episode is more probable than the foreign-made yarns
about the Alhambra.


The rivers of Granada are more spoken of than seen. At the foot of the
Alhambra the Darro disappears, its channel through the town having been
roofed over at different epochs. Till the middle of the last century the
houses of the Zacatin looked at the back upon the stream, as may be seen
from a picture by Roberts in the South Kensington Galleries. There was a
local proverb which said "Ugly as the back of the Zacatin," an evidence
of the persistent confusion of the ugly and the picturesque. This part
of the stream is now covered by the Reyes Catolicos Street. The famous
Zacatin--a lane-like thoroughfare, like those we have seen in
Seville--was once the principal street in Granada, and seems to have
been full of animation in Gautier's time. That brilliant Frenchman
speaks of meeting there parties of students from Salamanca, playing as
they went on the guitar, triangles, and castanets--truly a singular mode
of taking one's walks abroad, such as even the Spaniards of the
'thirties and 'forties must have marvelled at exceedingly. Are we
to understand by this remarkable passage that the alumni of Salamanca
formed processions like those of the Salvation Army, whenever they met
by chance in the public street, or that, like the fine lady of Banbury
Cross, they were determined to move nowhere without a musical
accompaniment? At all events, the Zacatin is quiet enough nowadays. It
still contains some of the best shops in the town and is one of the few
comparatively shady walks outside the precincts of the Alhambra. It
leads you to the far-famed Plaza de Bibarrambla, with the name of which
we have been familiarized by Byron's rendering of the Spanish ballad,
"Ay de mi, Alhama!" The square, like so much else in Granada, has been
so completely modernized that nothing remains to recall the days when
the sultans here assisted at pageants and tournaments, wherein
Christians often took part. It is edifying to learn that Spanish
knights, forbidden in their own country to cut each other's throats,
often resorted hither to do so, by gracious permission of his Moorish

We are now in the neighbourhood of the second great sight of
Granada--the Cathedral with its adjoining buildings. The church called
the Sagrario is an eighteenth-century structure immediately adjoining
the west front of the Cathedral, on the south side, which served for a
time as the metropolitan church of Granada. The interior is sombre,
heavy, and Churrigueresque--a style which, it always strikes me, might
have been devised by an undertaker accustomed to a high-class business.
One of the chapels, however, is interesting. It contains the bones of
"the magnificent cavalier, Fernando del Pulgar, Lord of El Salar," as
the inscription records. This gallant knight, during the last siege of
Granada, penetrated into the city with fifteen horsemen, and nailed a
paper bearing the Ave Maria on the door of the mosque. This brave
exploit earned for him and his descendants the right of remaining
covered in the Cathedral and before the king. In Philip II.'s time the
Marqués del Salar, the representative of the family, was fined for
appearing covered before the High Court of Granada. He appealed to the
king, invoking the privilege conferred on his ancestor. "Not so,"
replied Philip; "you may wear your bonnet in the presence of the king,
but not in the sacred presence of Justice." With the fine was built the
staircase in the Audiencia in the Plaza Nueva.

Behind the Sagrario is the mausoleum of Ferdinand and Isabella--the
Capilla Real--a temple peculiarly sacred in the eyes of all good
Spaniards. The two great sovereigns lie here in the heart of the city
which they recovered for Christendom, even as many great soldiers have
caused their remains to be buried on the sites of their greatest
victories. The chapel, founded in 1504 and completed in 1517, is a noble
example of late Gothic. The exterior is very simple, the decoration
consisting mainly of two highly ornate balustrades, surmounting each of
the two stages. The well-known devices and monograms of the
founders are interwoven with the decoration. Through a portal flanked by
the figures of heralds we enter the chapel--plain, bright, and airy. The
chancel is railed off by a magnificent grille of gilt ironwork, wrought
by Maestre Bartolomé of Jaen, in 1522. Between this and the altar are
the superb tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, and of their daughter Joanna
and her husband, Philip I. The former is ascribed to a Florentine
sculptor, Domenico Fancelli.


The recumbent effigies of the Reyes Catolicos are full of expression and
majesty. Both wear their crowns, and Ferdinand is in full armour. At the
angles of the tomb are seated figures, and the sides are sculptured with
medallions and escutcheons and the figures of angels and saints. The
figures of the unhappy Joanna and her Flemish consort are less lifelike,
and the decoration is much more florid. It must be admitted that the
Renaissance character of these sepulchral monuments contrasts rather
oddly with the Gothic surroundings. The kneeling statues of the founders
at the sides of the altar are believed to be actual likenesses. The
reliefs on the retablo, by Vigarni, represent the surrender of Granada
and the subsequent baptism of the Moors. In the former, both the
sovereigns are shown, in the company of Cardinal Mendoza, receiving the
keys from Boabdil; in the latter, we note that the candidates for
baptism are so many that the rite is being administered by means of a

Beneath the tombs is the vault containing all that was mortal of the
makers of Modern Spain. The sacristan thrusts a lighted taper forward
into the gloomy abode of death, and you are able to distinguish five
coffins--those of Ferdinand and Isabella, Philip, Joanna, and the
Infante Miguel. Philip's coffin, it will be remembered, was carried
about by his lovesick widow till she had to be parted from it by force.
The coffins are rude, bulging, and almost shapeless. One only, that of
Ferdinand, can be identified, and this only by the simple letter F upon
it. Might not this stand as well for Felipe?

The sacristan next shows you the treasury of the chapel. Among the
relics are the crown, sceptre, and mirror of Isabella, her missal
beautifully illuminated, and the standard embroidered by her that
floated over the city. A casket is shown which was filled with jewels
which she pawned to procure funds for Columbus's first voyage of
discovery. Few investments have proved more profitable, as far as
material wealth is concerned. You may also see Ferdinand's sword, rather
interesting to those curious in ancient weapons.

The Royal Chapel is quite independent of the immediately adjacent
Cathedral. The chaplains have a right of way across the Cathedral
transept to the Puerta del Perdon, a privilege deeply resented by the
chapter. Once when the Archbishop wished to visit the chapel, his
attendant canons were refused admission. The irate prelate caused the
chaplains to be arrested for this affront, and a long lawsuit
followed. But all this happened a long time ago, and it is to be hoped
that the two bodies of clergy now live upon good terms with each other.


A very beautiful arch, richly and tastefully adorned with statues,
admits to the Cathedral. This church, described by Fergusson as one of
the finest in Europe, was begun by Diego de Siloe, about 1525, and not
completed till 1703. The exterior is far from corresponding to the
majesty of the interior, though the Puerto del Perdon, already referred
to, on the north side, is a beautiful piece of work. The impression
produced on entering the Cathedral is rather similar to that experienced
on entering St. Peter's. There is an atmosphere of loftiness, luxury,
and cold purity--like that clinging to the finest classical works. This
is certainly the triumph of Spanish Renaissance architecture. The effect
is, of course, utterly different from that of the grand old Gothic fane
of Seville. Like all Renaissance churches, as it seems to me, it lacks
the devotional atmosphere. The nave, as usual, is obstructed by the
choir--where, by the way, Alonso Cano was buried. The dome above the
chancel is sublime, the daring of the arches wonderful. The altar is
completely insulated by the ambulatory.

Before it are the grand sculptured heads of Adam and Eve by Cano. His
also are seven of the frescoes decorating the upper part of the dome.
The others are by his pupils. The Cathedral contains much of this
irascible and wayward artist's best work. In the chapel of San Miguel is
a "Virgen de la Soledad," in whose human beauty and pathos his genius
finds its highest expression. In the chapel of Jesus Nazareno, Cano's
"Via Crucis" does not suffer by comparison with three works of Ribera
and a "St. Francis" by El Greco. The artist's studio may be seen in one
of the towers flanking the west front of the Cathedral. He was a native
of Granada, and a lay canon of the chapter. He died in poverty at his
house in the Albaicin quarter, aged 66 years, on October 5, 1667. He was
a man of hasty but not ungenerous temper, and in some of his phases of
character recalls Fuseli. Justice has hardly been done to his great
talent, of which he himself seems to have entertained an exaggerated


The minor churches of Granada are not of very great interest. The church
of San Geronimo was built by the Great Captain as a mausoleum for
himself and his wife, but such of his remains as escaped the ghoulish
spoliation of the French have been transported to Madrid. The church is
no longer used as a place of worship. The retablo is remarkable, and in
it may be traced the dawning of Siloe's ambition to create a true
Spanish Renaissance style. The church of San Juan de Dios, not far off,
is filled with tawdry rubbish, petticoated crucifixes, etc. Here is
buried the titular saint, a Portuguese, Joao de Robles, who in the
seventeenth century devoted himself with so much energy to the sick
and suffering that his contemporaries esteemed him mad. You may see the
cage in which he was confined at the hospital founded by Isabella the
Catholic on the arid, ugly Plaza de Triunfo, near the Bull Ring. A
column in the middle of the square marks the spot where Doña Mariana
Pineda was publicly garrotted in 1831. This lady is the great heroine of
Granada. She perished a victim to the reactionary tendencies then
prevalent in Spain. Spaniards were then crying "Hurrah for our chains!"
and Doña Mariana's house was known to be a rendezvous of the Liberals of
Granada. On raiding her house the police discovered a tricolour flag.
This was evidence enough, and in the thirty-first year of her age this
beautiful and accomplished woman suffered a shameful death. A few years
later, when the nation had recovered its sanity, the magistrate who had
condemned her was shot, and her remains were transported with great pomp
to the Cathedral, where they have been interred close to Alonso Cano's.
A monument has also been raised to her memory in the Campillo Square.

There is another story connected with the Triunfo worth telling, though
it is not very well authenticated. The remains of royal personages on
their way to the Capilla Real were here identified by the officers of
the court. The Duke of Gandia was present on such an occasion, and was
so impressed by the evidences of mortality when the coffin was opened
that he vowed he would never again serve an earthly master. He entered
the Society of Jesus, and after his death was canonized under the name
of St. Francis Borgia. The story is a curious and suggestive one, as
also is that of the duke praying that his wife might die if it were for
his soul's good. St. Francis Borgia has always seemed to me an extreme
example of other-worldliness.

A dusty road through most uninviting surroundings leads to the Cartuja,
or Charterhouse, founded in 1516 by the Great Captain. The cloisters are
painted with scenes of the martyrdom of the Carthusian monks in London
by the minions of Henry VIII.

The church is an extraordinary edifice. Its style is damnable, but it is
gorgeous and dazzling to a degree which compels admiration. The doors of
the choir are exquisitely inlaid with ebony, cedar, mother-of-pearl, and
tortoiseshell. The statue of Bruno is by Cano. In the sanctuary behind
the altar coloured marbles, twisted and fluted, are combined in
extravagant magnificence. Some of the slabs are richly veined with
agate, and the hand of nature has traced some semblances of human and
animal forms. In the adjoining sacristy are some wonderful inlaid doors
and presses. They must surely be the finest works of their kind in the
world. It is strange that so much genius for detail and so much costly
material should have been combined to produce so tasteless a building.


Outside this church there are not many places in the vicinity of Granada
worth a visit. The church of Sacramonte looms rather prominently in the
landscape, and you are to some extent rewarded for the trouble of a
pilgrimage thither by the fine view of the city. The hill contains some
caves in which, in the year 1594, one Hernandez professed to have
discovered certain books written in Arabic characters on sheets of lead.
The find was reported to the archbishop, Don Pedro Vaca de Castro, who
examined the books and declared them to contain the acts of the martyrs,
Mesito and Hiscius, Tesiphus and Cecilius, put to death by the Romans
and buried in the caves. His grace's pronouncement was not considered
final, and theological opinion was sharply divided on the subject for
many years. At last the continuance of the controversy was forbidden by
Papal decree. It seems that doubt is now thrown even on the existence of
the martyrs. The church built over the place of their supposed sepulchre
was for a time famous as a shrine of pilgrims. The usual rock worn away
by the kisses of the devout is shown. There is a superstition that a
person kissing the stone for the first time will be married within the
year, if single, and released from the conjugal tie if already married.
As divorce does not exist in Spain it is to be hoped that few
discontented Benedicts have recourse to this stone.

St. Cecilius, at all events, was known to fame before the alleged
discovery of his grave; for in the Antequeruela quarter an oratory
dedicated to him existed throughout the Moorish domination, and was the
only Christian place of worship within the city. I do not think that
any trace of it is to be detected now. In that part of the city is the
Casa de los Tiros, where you must apply for tickets for the Generalife;
it is worth seeing on its own account, and it is the repository of the
sword of Boabdil, which seems to have more claims to authenticity than
most of the relics of the Little King. Descending towards the Puerta
Real we pass the Cuarto de Santo Domingo, a private villa in which is
incorporated all that remains of an Almohade palace. Near by, against
the church of Santo Domingo, is an exceedingly picturesque little
archway where one can fancy a bravo waiting, stiletto in hand. The
Campillo, in the centre of which rises the statue of Mariana Pineda, is
a quiet little square enough, referred to (as the Rondilla) by Cervantes
as a resort of adventurers and desperadoes. These gentry are now more
likely to be found in the immediately adjacent Alameda, outside the
hotel of the same name, where the cafés and tables spread in front of
them seem exceedingly well patronized.


Following the Genil, and leaving the unimpressive monument of Columbus
and Isabella to the left, you reach, after a walk overpoweringly
fatiguing in summer, the little Ermita de San Sebastian. This was a
Moorish oratory in old days, and outside it took place the surrender of
the keys by Boabdil on the memorable 2nd of January, 1492. If you go
farther on--and I doubt if you will be tempted to--you will come to a
very old Moorish palace called the Alcazar Genil, now the property
of the Duke of Gor. Here, says Simonet, were lodged the Christian
princes and knights who so often found an asylum at the court of
Granada. In the gardens are tanks once used, it is believed, for mimic
naval fights. In the same direction, I understand, is Zubia. Here
Isabella the Catholic, reconnoitring the city during the siege, narrowly
escaped capture by a Moorish patrol. She concealed herself behind a
laurel bush, which is still pointed out. Another instance of the small
chances that determine the fate of kingdoms! To commemorate her escape
the queen built near by a convent, which has long since disappeared.

You may return to the city by the Puerta Verde, near the Bab-en-Neshti
or Puerta de los Molinos, through which the Spaniards entered after
Boabdil's submission.

Apart from the Alhambra and the Cathedral buildings, it will have been
seen that Granada has not many claims on the stranger's interest.
Considering the expectations formed of it after reading Prescott and
Irving, most English people will pronounce it to be a disappointment.
From certain points of view it remains the pleasantest place for a
protracted stay in Andalusia during the summer. It is only when you come
to it from Seville or Cordova or Cadiz, that you realize how cool, in
comparison, is this city on the plateau between the snow-clad mountains.
Even before the sun has gone down, you can dine very pleasantly in the
open, hearkening to the splash of the fountains, and inhaling the
fragrance of the rose. There is no need here, as at Seville, to shut
yourself, till nightfall, within walls three feet thick. By night we
stroll across the Plaza of the Alhambra, and see the white city gleaming
with a shimmer reflected in the luminous sky above. Granada resumes her
aspect of an Oriental city beneath the crescent moon riding triumphant
over Andalusia.




Second in size among Andalusian cities, Malaga is the least interesting.
Were it not for the sea, its position would be one of singular
remoteness. On the extreme verge of Europe, the mighty Sierra Nevada
rises behind it, and cuts it off from the rest of Spain. Yet as a
flourishing port it is one of the towns in the Peninsula best known
among Englishmen. It is beloved by our sailors. From the odd phases of
life to be seen in and around the harbour, they derive their notions of
the people and the country. With that utter absence of curiosity
noticeable in their kind, they never penetrate inland, or even into the
outskirts of the town. But nothing can dispel Jack's conviction that his
knowledge of Spain and the Spaniards is intimate and profound.

Malaga is not, as its appearance suggests, a city of purely modern
growth. It was known to the Phœnicians and the Romans, and before it
became subject to the Almoravides was an independent principality under
the Hammudiya dynasty. Later it shared the fortunes of the Sultanate of
Granada, and its siege and capture by Ferdinand and Isabella contributed
to bring about the fall of the capital. This part of its history is
dealt with in great detail by Prescott. Among the numerous incidents of
the siege was a determined attempt on the part of a Moor named Ibrahim
al Gherbi to assassinate the Spanish sovereign. The defence was
conducted by the indomitable Hemet el Zegri, who yielded to famine
rather than to the arms of the besiegers. The treatment of the fallen
city leaves an indelible blot on the fame of the conquerors. The
population, with the exception of a few hundreds, were sold into
slavery, presents of the fairest maidens being made to the various
courts of Europe. A worse fate was reserved for the Jews and renegades,
who were committed to the flames.

The old Moorish fortress of Gibralfaro still frowns down on the lively
city to remind us of those days. Some of the walls and towers are
believed to be of Phœnician origin. The stronghold has undergone
repeated restorations and adaptations to military requirements, but a
great deal of Moorish work may still be detected. A horseshoe arch
behind the Paseo de la Alameda serves to identify the Moslems' dockyard
or Atarazanas, and to indicate how far the sea has receded in the wake
of the banished race southwards towards Africa.

[Illustration: MALAGA--THE HARBOUR]

The Cathedral towers high above all the other buildings of the
city. It is in the Classical style, and though designed by Diego de
Siloe in 1528, was built for the most part in the early eighteenth
century. It must be confessed that it looks better at a distance than
near. The interior is solemn and cold. It is worth visiting for some
specimens of Cano's art which it contains, and for Mena's magnificent
carving in the choir. As at Granada, the edifice is adjoined by a
smaller church called the Sagrario, founded by the Catholic Sovereigns
in 1488 as the cathedral of the conquered city.

But it is not for its monuments or historical associations that Malaga
is to be visited. Its interest is of to-day. And in truth it needed not
the hand of man to embellish a spot where Nature has been so lavish of
her choicest gifts. The gardens round Malaga abound in the finest
specimens of tropical flora. Tall india-rubber plants, gigantic
eucalyptus, great bamboos, the rarest exotics, such as the _Pritchardia
folifera_, the araucaria, and the _Scaforthia elegans_, flourish on this
favoured shore. The villas of the wealthier classes stand each in a
veritable Paradise. And everywhere the white flower of the orange, the
oleander, the vine, and tree-high ferns!

This luxuriant vegetation is the less to be expected since want of water
is the great drawback to the prosperity of the district. Through the
middle of the town runs the Guadalmedina--a broad channel, without a
drain of water! The new and magnificent promenade, planted with palms,
sweeps round the sea-front, as fine as anything on the Riviera. To drive
along it in the sensuous southern night is to drink a deep draught of
the joy of life. At one point the drive descends into the bed of the
river, along which you may proceed for a mile or more. And yet at times
the Guadalmedina becomes a roaring torrent, bursting its banks and
sweeping away farmsteads and stock. It is difficult to say whether flood
or drought has done most damage to the province.

As at Seville, you find life here focussing in lane-like streets, closed
to vehicles, and lined with cafés and casinos, among the finest I have
seen in Spain. Here to an early hour of the morning the men of the city
gossip in garrulous, intimate groups of nine and ten, all, as it seemed
to me, talking together. The number of cigarettes smoked during the
progress of these tremendous conversations must be stupendous. As you
will see the same group meeting night after night, you wonder what there
can be in the outwardly uneventful round of life of Malaga to supply
topics for conversation. To an Englishman there is a mystery about this
ability to talk for five or six hours about nothing at all. You will see
the same thing in the dullest provincial towns in France and Italy--the
same groups of stout, bald-headed citizens talking with frantic
animation every evening. Their newspapers afford the slenderest mental
pabulum--their contents could be dismissed in ten minutes--and the
respectable gentlemen in question are never seen to read books. How
then do they recruit their stock of ideas and find an inexhaustible
stock of topics for conversation?


Women are, of course, conspicuous by their absence. Here we have another
illustration of the utterly false ideas Englishmen usually entertain
concerning Latins. To judge from novels written fifty or even thirty
years ago, John Bull appears to have regarded the foreigner with pitying
contempt as a mere philanderer, always running after a petticoat; yet no
one can be in Spain a fortnight without noticing the Spaniard's
disinclination for female society, or at any rate how perfectly content
he is without it.

I do not fancy the ladies of Malaga care very much for society either,
in our acceptation of the word. Looking out of the window appears to be
their favourite recreation. They do not inherit the habit from the
Moors, for that people, as I have said, were nearly all expelled at the
Reconquest, and the town was resettled. All the Andalusian towns were
wholly or in part emptied of their Mohammedan population when taken by
the Christians, and repeopled with Castilians and others from Northern
Spain. This fact is forgotten by those who recognize in every trait of
the Andalusian a heritage from the Moor. We might as well think we
derive our chief national characteristics from the Britons or the

East of Malaga lie several coast towns of importance, within whose gates
the traveller rarely sets foot. Motril, Adra, Almeria--what is there in
them to reward the fatigue of a journey in a diligence along the parched
shore, or in some crazy coasting craft, with timbers straining and
creaking before the lightest breeze? Almeria is now connected directly
by rail with Madrid and Granada. The prosperity of the whole district is
bound to be greatly increased by the construction of the line so long
promised from Guadix to Baza. This short link in the railway system
would save the traveller from Malaga to Valencia nearly 180 miles, or
its alternative--a long and exhausting diligence journey. It would also
bring the southern parts of Andalusia into direct communication with the
great commercial centres of eastern Spain and with Marseilles. It would
supply us with a new route to Gibraltar, moreover. This, with a line
from Jaca across the Pyrenees into France, and another from Huelva to
connect with the Portuguese system Villa Real de São Antonio, are links
of which Spain stands vitally in need.

[Illustration: MALAGA--A MARKET]



At Bobadilla--the Clapham Junction of Andalusia--the Spanish railway
system is joined by the line of that purely British undertaking, the
Algeciras Railway Company. A Spaniard told me that this line would never
have been built by one of his countrymen, as no one in Spain had any
desire to facilitate Gibraltar's communication with England, and the
country it traversed had been sufficiently opened up. I do not think it
would be difficult to demonstrate that the line may prove of very
substantial benefit to Spain, but I will confine myself to thanking the
promoters for having rendered accessible certainly the most beautiful
part of Andalusia, and in my opinion one of the most wildly picturesque
regions of Europe. The country between Ronda and Algeciras is the
Andalusia dreamt of by the romancers. It is a savage, silent country, of
warmer browns and greens than the rest of Spain. Here the train takes
you no longer across the scorched sky-rimmed plains, but along the very
edge of dizzy ravines, at the foot of which, hundreds of feet below,
angry white torrents foam and froth. Now you are climbing with obvious
effort the steep shoulder of a mountain, now you are racing headlong
down into a valley which seems to lie almost vertically beneath you. Now
you plunge into the bowels of the Sierra and emerge with a shriek of
triumph in a cauldron-shaped valley, from which Nature has provided no
egress. There is no want of verdure; the cork-woods, vineyards, and
olives dot the lower slopes of the tawny hills. And far up against the
sky-line loom shattered towers and crumbling castles, whence you seem to
see trains of steel-clad knights issuing forth to do battle with the

The country is reminiscent essentially of the days of chivalry. Perhaps
the ruined strongholds and the dark gorges are still haunted by the
knights, who have driven away all other ghosts and will not let us think
of anyone but them. The Romans were once here, and at Munda, as every
schoolboy knows, Cæsar defeated with great slaughter the army led by the
sons of Pompey. That town has now been identified with Ronda, the
romantic capital of this most romantic region. Here the people have not
forgotten Rome. They will show you a cave where in the semi-darkness you
descry awful forms in stone, seeming like a ghostly and gigantic choir
of monks. These are the Roman priests turned to stone upon the downfall
of their gods, those of the people who cherish tradition will tell you.


The town itself you will not find very interesting, though the
escutcheons displayed over every second or third house in one quarter
will evoke some reflections on departed glory and the fall of the
mighty. In some such _solar_ our novelists Seton Merriman and Mr. Mason
have laid the scenes of leading episodes in their two charming romances.
Ronda has had a stirring past. She shared in all the vicissitudes of
Granada, and towards the end of the long agony of the Reconquest was the
scene of constant and ferocious border warfare.

It was here that Mohammed V. received the head of his rival Abu Saïd,
who had been put to death at Seville by Pedro the Cruel. The town was
taken by the army of Ferdinand and Isabella on May 22, 1485. The people
of the surrounding mountains were deeply attached to the creed of Islam,
and rose in revolt in 1501 against their Christian oppressors. Before
they were crushed they inflicted a severe blow on their adversaries,
completely wiping out a force under Don Alonso de Aguilar. Westward, on
the other side of the high mountains, lies Zahara, the capture of which
one December night by Mulai Hasan was the signal for the last crusade
against the Spanish Moors of Granada.

But it is to its striking situation that Ronda owes its interest. Fitted
rather to be the eyrie of eagles than the abode of men, it looks down
from the verge of precipitous cliffs nearly three thousand feet above
sea level. Midway, town and rocky hill are cleft asunder by the Tajo,
an awful gorge, two hundred feet across, and twice as much in depth.
Gazing down into the abyss, you realize with something of a shudder that
a pebble dropped over the edge of the precipice would fall sheer and
plumb, without rebound or ricochet, into the river Guadalevin, which
rushes below, filling the chasm with foam and spray. The ravine is
spanned by a bridge built in the eighteenth century, a wonderful
construction, from which when it was near completion its architect fell
headlong. Access to the river may be obtained by a flight of 365 steps
called the Mina, hewn through the rock. This singular work was executed
by the Moors, who thus ensured themselves a supply of water against the
dangers of a siege. Numerous subterranean chambers are also ascribed to
them, or rather to their Christian captives.

But the most delightful spot in Ronda is the little Alameda laid out on
the edge of a perpendicular cliff. Leaning on the railing you may drink
in the beauty and grandeur of a prospect hardly surpassed in Europe. The
fair fertile country below is shut in by an amphitheatre of mountains
which soar upwards to heights of five and six thousand feet. The eye
seeks in vain for an outlet from the valley, till it discerns the white,
dusty high-road winding, doubling, and finally disappearing over a dip
between the ranges. The river, a thousand feet below, swirls and gurgles
among the rocks, glad to have escaped from the dark gorge to which it
has so long been confined.

[Illustration: RONDA--THE TAJO]

In the evenings the air is keen at Ronda, and in summer you may often
hear English spoken by officers of the garrison of Gibraltar and their
families, who come here to escape the torrid heat of the Rock. With a
little capital and energy the place might be developed into a
flourishing health resort.

But now the way lies south and seaward. Ever downwards slowly travels
the train. The night gathers over the castled crags and the mysterious
forests. We detect by their gleam the rivers over which we pass. But now
a bright starlike light is seen to the southward. It flashes and is
gone, to reappear the next instant. We are nearing the strait, and the
searchlight tells us that Britannia watches here with unsleeping eyes
over the fortunes of her children in two seas and two continents.



[Illustration: RONDA--ROMAN BRIDGES]

The province of Murcia resembles the home of the Arab race more closely
than does any other part of Europe. It is a wild, fierce region, hot and
tawny like a lion's hide, furrowed by deep winding ravines, intersected
by serrated mountains, on whose flanks, for the heat of the sun, no
green thing can grow. Much of the land is occupied by plateaux, bare and
rocky like great altars on which all that lives is offered to and
consumed by the sun. From these uplands you survey vast expanses of
sheer desert--fulvid, rocky, and scorching. Your gaze may travel far
before you descry any fitting resting-place for man. The mountains
afford no shade, even in the deepest cañons the streams are often
traceable only by a narrow path of sand and pebbles, yet here and there
has man successfully wrested from harsh Nature a secure foothold, an
oasis kept ever green by some more constant rivulet. The waters of the
Segura and the Sangonera are the life-blood of the province. Wayward and
Arethusa-like, the rivers have with infinite pains been coaxed into
conformity with the needs of man. To the science of irrigation the
province owes its existence. Water here is above all things prized and
sold like treasure to the highest bidder. Mr. Jean Brunhés in a lately
published work gives some most curious and interesting particulars
relating to the system of irrigation in force in Murcia and the
adjoining province of Alicante. The volume of the Monegre is divided
into old water and new water, the former belonging of right to the
ancient riparian proprietors, the latter to the owners of the locks and
reservoirs. A very vicious system prevails at Lorca. There a private
company is the owner of all the water of the Guadalentin, subject to the
condition of supplying the old proprietors of the adjoining lands with
500 litres per second every day. In consequence, in times of drought the
company is mistress of the situation and can force up prices to a figure
absolutely ruinous to the cultivators. Only in this way can it make good
the losses incurred in rainy seasons. The precious fluid being sold,
too, by public auction, the rich farmer is in a position to deprive his
poorer rivals of their means of subsistence. To palliate this evil to
some extent, the rule now obtains that the bidder who has bought the
first lot can buy as many of the lots following as he may desire at the
same figure. The price therefore is not forced up too rapidly. Moreover,
if the company's barrage at a certain point is swept away or broken
through by the current, the water which thus escapes becomes public
property. This accident occurs five or six times a year, and the
company is not allowed to make the barrage any stronger when it is
rebuilt. Notwithstanding these concessions, it seems that the principle
of private enterprise has been pushed too far in this part of the world.

Mr. Brunhés described the sale of water at Lorca in the following words:

"The sale takes place in a badly-lit hall with naked walls, on a level
with the street, with which it communicates by an immense door almost
its own breadth. This door remains open during the sale and the crowd of
bidders stand partly in the street. The hall has no floor--you stand on
the bare ground. Opposite the door at the end of the hall is a
railed-off dais entered by a side door, and without any direct
communication with the public side. On the dais the secretaries are
seated at a large table covered by a threadbare green cloth. Behind the
table are five arm-chairs. In one is seated the presiding officer (a
civil engineer who must own no land in the 'Vega'). On a stool is
stationed the crier.

"At eight o'clock in the morning, at a sign from the presiding officer,
the crier pronounces these words in a singing monotonous voice and
without any pause between the two phrases: 'In honour of the Holy
Sacrament of the altar, who buys the first lot of Sotellana?'
Immediately shouts go up 'Eight, nine, ten reals!' One voice overpowers
the other, wide-open mouths vociferate loudly, necks are strained,
muscles grow tense with excitement. The bidders press and crush
each other against the iron railing, for the one nearest has the best
chance of being heard. The presiding officer listens, and follows the
frantic shouting with sovereign calm. Suddenly, with a quick gesture, he
designates the highest bidder. At once the clamour ceases. Amid absolute
silence the man indicated calls out his name, which the clerks write

"The men are hatless. Some wear black or dark-coloured handkerchiefs
bound round their heads, but all hold their broad-brimmed hats in their
hands. No one smokes or talks till the bidding recommences, and even
those in the street are silent and bare-headed. It is easy to see that
all are peasants. Heads are closely cropped; here are no beards or
moustaches, no one wears a collar, and most carry a cloak other than the
aristocratic 'Capa' on the shoulders or arm. It is a curious and
impressive sight enough, these bronzed physiognomies animated by one
desire to obtain possession as cheaply as may be of the supreme good,

[Illustration: RONDA--AT THE FOUNTAIN]

Before the industry of man had harnessed the wayward streams this hot
land must have been little better than an arid wilderness, yet it has
been inhabited from the remotest times, and its possession was keenly
contested between the great powers of antiquity. The natives were known
to the ancients as the Mastiani, and are credited with the virtues which
were so long supposed to have been characteristic of primitive man. This
simple, blameless race fell an easy victim to the wily Phœnicians,
who scented the precious metals within these barren hills. Elche,
Guadix, and Jijona betray in their etymology a Semitic origin. Next came
the Greek Vikings from Samos and Rhodes and Phokaia, establishing
themselves at many points along the eastern shore of the Iberian land.
The rivalry between the Phœnician and Hellenic colonies precipitated
a contest between their respective allies, the Carthaginians and the
Romans. Hasdrubal founded the port of New Carthage, the name of which is
still preserved in Cartagena, whence, with a host of 90,000 foot and
12,000 horse, Hannibal started on his famous march to Rome. The fall of
the city, which was bravely defended by Mago against Scipio, entailed
the destruction of the Punic power in Spain.

Under the Roman yoke Carthago Nova became the capital of the vast
province of Tarraconensis, and the adjoining district in consequence
felt the full force of all the attacks made by rebels and barbarians on
the tottering empire. Under the Visigoths it was erected into a duchy by
the name of Aurariola. The Duke Theodomir, unlike most of his peers,
offered a strenuous resistance to the Moslem arms, and when defeated in
battle and besieged in Orihuela, succeeded by a stratagem in preserving
his territory. By disguising all the women as warriors and parading them
on the walls, he so deceived the Moors as to the strength of the
garrison as to obtain from them a recognition of the independence of the
duchy, subject to the suzerainty of the khalifa.

The province became known after its chief by the name of Todmir. It
endured as an autonomous state for some sixty-eight years, its final
absorption in the Moslem empire being brought about by the last dukes
espousing the cause of Charlemagne or his Moorish allies. Arabic
colonists poured in and soon out-numbered the Christian inhabitants. The
last province of Spain to bow before the Crescent became rapidly the
most Moorish of any.

Cartagena and Orihuela, the old Visigothic centres, declined, and
Murcia, practically a Mohammedan foundation, took their place. The city
rivalled Toledo and Cordova as a manufactory of arms and munitions of
war. It underwent the usual vicissitudes of Moorish states, forming now
part of one kingdom, now of another, at times independent, more often
subject to Valencia, Granada, or Cordova. Finally, in 1243, Abu Bekr,
the titular amir of Murcia, acknowledged the suzerainty of Castile, only
to repudiate it in 1252. The war lasted some time, but the desertion of
Al Ahmar of Granada left Abu Bekr at the mercy of the Christians. Murcia
was taken in 1266 by Don Jaime of Aragon, who immediately handed over
his conquest to his son-in-law, Alfonso of Castile. The step, though
probably not dictated by motives of policy, was a wise one, for it left
a sort of buffer state between Aragon and Granada, and preserved the
frontiers of the former kingdom from molestation by the Moors for the
next two centuries.

The town of Murcia has completely rid itself of all outward evidences of
its erstwhile subjection to Islam. Gone is the Alcazar, where the amirs
mimicked the state of Cordova and Toledo, gone is the wall which kept
the Christian out, gone is the mosque wherein thousands of turbaned
heads were bowed daily towards Mecca. Yet in the narrow dark streets
like the Sierpes of Seville, across which awnings are stretched, we
might recognize something of the East, were not such thoroughfares
equally characteristic of the Christian South. The Calles de la Traperia
and de la Plateria, however, irresistibly recall Smyrna. They lead into
one of those dazzling white, dusty squares which every Southern and
Eastern city boasts, and which is always named in Spain after the
Constitution, in Italy after Victor Emmanuel, and in France after the
Republic. Murcia is hotter than Seville, and the passage of this plaza
between eleven in the forenoon and five in the afternoon requires the
courage of a Mutius Scævola. In the evening you may join the citizens in
their promenade upon the Malecon, which affords a charming view of the
rich "huerta" or vale of the Segura. This is described by Mr. Brunhés as
"an admirable zone of model agricultural establishments. The soil is
levelled and prepared for irrigation with geometrical precision. To each
particular crop corresponds a design with little shelving beds of
special forms." Not an inch of ground is wasted; on the summit of the
slopes, for instance, sweet potatoes are planted at regular
intervals. The cereals and vegetables are tended with special care,
almost individually. The melons are protected by coverings. No one can
visit the environs of Murcia without being impressed by the
extraordinary industry and thriftiness of its people. And field labour
in this climate must be arduous in the extreme. But no doubt the
mythical "dolce far niente" Spaniard will continue for many years to
haunt the back streets of literature in company with the big-toothed
English girl, her red-whiskered parent, and other creations of ignorance
and prejudice.


Murcia cannot be called an interesting town. It has only one
"sight"--and that not of first-class interest--the Cathedral. This
occupies, as usual, the site of the mosque, and dates in its oldest part
from 1368. The west front was restored in the seventeenth century,
fortunately before the decay of Spanish art had become too conspicuous.
The interior produces a good effect, though robbed of much of its
interest by a fire some sixty years ago. The choir stalls are good, as
they generally are in this country of clever wood-carvers, and came from
a suppressed monastery in the neighbourhood. The reredos is modern and
poor. With a glance at the urn containing the internal organs of Alfonso
the Learned, we pass on to the beautiful and interesting Junteron
Chapel. This was founded in 1515 by the Archdeacon of Lorca, Don Gil
Junteron, and is in the most exuberant Renaissance style. It is
astonishing that where the figures and designs are so numerous, so
intermingled, and so complicated, each should be sculptured with such
exquisite skill and correctness. The Velez Chapel is a little earlier,
and was evidently modelled on the Constable's Chapel at Burgos. The
style, as might be expected, reminds one also of the Chapel Royal at
Granada. Parts of it, says Don Rodrigo Amador de los Rios, evidence the
painful caprices and aberrations which announce the death agony of a
powerful art in its decline. It would be dangerous to express such an
opinion in Murcia, where the chapel is accounted the eighth and greatest
wonder of the world. In somewhat more restrained terms the sacristan
will call your attention to the panelling and lockers in the Sacristy,
which occupies the centre of the graceful steeple, and certainly
deserves the epithet of sumptuous, so liberally bestowed in Spain.

Much older than Murcia, Cartagena has preserved even fewer monuments of
antiquity, though it has not lost the military character first impressed
upon it by its founder Hasdrubal. For this is the first arsenal of
Spain, and perhaps its strongest fortress. Its splendid sheltered
harbour is defended by powerful forts and formidable batteries. Their
fire has not always been directed upon the enemies of Spain. For many
months in the year 1873 over them waved the red flag of the
"Intransigentes," the extreme communistic republicans, who,
simultaneously with the Carlists of the north, threatened ruin to
Castelar's government at Madrid. The acquisition of the great national
arsenal without firing a shot was, of course, of the utmost
advantage to these determined revolutionaries. They disposed of 583
pieces of ordnance, including twenty-eight Krupp guns, with 180,000
shells and 4,332 quintals of powder. In addition they were supported by
the ironclad frigates Numancia, Vittoria, Tetuan, and Mendez Nuñez. The
garrison, in addition to the enthusiastic population, included several
revolted battalions of regular troops under the command of General
Contreras. The communist Junta was presided over by Don Antonio Gálvez.

[Illustration: RONDA--A STREET SCENE]

Against this terrible stronghold of the revolution, General Martinez
Campos advanced with an army from Madrid with orders to reduce the place
with the utmost despatch. This was easier said than done. Supplies were
lacking; the advantage in artillery lay entirely with the besieged. The
Carlists effected diversions in favour of the Intransigentes--an odd
coalition. Meantime, three of the revolutionary vessels were seized by
the Prussian squadron as pirates--an utterly unjustifiable interference
with the domestic affairs of another State. We might as reasonably have
seized the vessels of the Confederate States in 1864. The Prussians and
Italians exacted, moreover, a war indemnity of 50,000 pesetas from the
Cantonal Junta, which body became a prey to internal dissensions. One of
its members was assassinated. Taking advantage of these embarrassments
of the besieged, the republican troops redoubled their efforts. Señor
Castelar came down from Madrid to assume the supreme command, and
Martinez Campos was superseded by General Lopéz Dominguez. An incessant
bombardment was kept up, the besieged responding shell by shell. In
January the frigate Tetuan was burnt to the water's edge, and a day or
two later the explosion of the gun park destroyed hundreds of the
garrison. The end was near. The city had for half a year defied almost
the whole kingdom, and withstood the covert attacks of foreign Powers.
Among the revolutionaries were men who burned to emulate the Numantians,
and to make of themselves, the whole population, and the city, one vast
blazing hecatomb. Before this desperate resolution could be executed,
the Government troops forced their way into wretched, blood-drenched
Cartagena. Gálvez, Contreras, and the leaders of the cantonal movement
escaped by sea in the ironclad Numancia, which far exceeded the
Government vessels in speed, and took refuge in Algeria. Thus collapsed
a movement which was, after the Commune of Paris, the most determined
organized attempt ever made to subvert the existing constitution of
European society.

I have given at some length this chapter in the history of Cartagena,
partly because the town has little interest in itself, and partly
because these events, though so recent and so significant, are never so
much as alluded to by most writers of travel books. Out of so much evil
good came at last, for these wellnigh fatal disorders opened the eyes of
the Spaniards to the instability of the Madrid Government, and
formed the prelude to the reign of peace inaugurated by the accession to
the throne of King Alfonso XII.

[Illustration: RONDA--THE MARKET]

Apart from its historical associations, Murcia repays the attention of
the traveller less than any other province of Spain. Fortunately, almost
the only places of interest it contains--the ones I have mentioned--lie
on or close to the direct route from Granada into the old kingdom of



The southernmost position of the ancient kingdom of Valencia belongs
geographically and historically to Murcia. The huerta in which Orihuela
stands is a continuation of the huerta of Murcia, and in the town itself
we recognize the Aurariola which was the capital of the latter kingdom.
I did not stop at Orihuela, but I understand that it remains distinct
from all other towns in Valencia, in that its people speak pure
Castilian. For that variety of the Romance tongue which I may denominate
Catalan is spoken with local modifications all along the eastern coast
of Spain, from the mouth of the Segura to the frontier of Rousillon. It
is not, of course, a mere dialect of Castilian. It is a distinct
language, believed by most authorities to have been the language of
those Romanized Spaniards who were driven north of the Pyrenees by the
Arabic invasion, and who reintroduced it on their reconquest of this
portion of their old territory. Before Valencia was recovered by James
I. of Aragon--Jaime lo Conqueridor--the Christians of the province
probably spoke Castilian or a tongue akin to it. Catalan was simply
the language of the new rulers, which the people soon acquired. In the
province of Aragon itself Catalan, or Limousin as some call it, was
never spoken. This circumstance no doubt powerfully contributed to the
adoption of Castilian, in preference to the sister tongue, upon the
unification of the two kingdoms. But for some reason unknown to
us--unless it was merely the proximity of Murcia--Orihuela resisted the
Catalanizing influence of its conqueror.


Elche, our first stopping-place, famous in its way, is very often
described and compared to half-a-dozen localities in Asia and Africa. I
also will venture on a comparison, and say that from certain points of
view it reminded me of Ismailia. It is completely surrounded by
magnificent date-palms, the number of which a French author estimates at
80,000. In the shade of the avenues formed by these majestic trees
flourish the laurel, the rose, and the geranium; beyond extend crops of
lucerne and wheat, watered by the carefully regulated Vinalapó. For all
the shade dispersed by the palms, Elche merits its sobriquet, "the
frying-pan"! The temperature completes the resemblance with Africa. From
the summit of the hill on which it is built, the town is seen to be
situated in a real oasis. Beyond the outer ring of cultivation extends a
desert as white and as saline as that which borders the Suez Canal. The
eye rests lovingly on the not far distant sea.

Elche makes an agreeable impression on most travellers. Gustave Doré
has left us his impressions of it--over-imaginative as usual. Mr. Frank
Barrett, that entertaining novelist, introduces the town into English
fiction. In Spain it is not more celebrated for its palms (which are
exported for religious uses) than for its Passion or Mystery Play, the
only one of the kind in the kingdom. This institution is explained by
the following legend. On the night of December 29, 1370, a mounted
coastguard named Francisco Cantó, while patrolling the shore,
encountered a man seated on a huge coffer. This stranger entreated the
guard to carry his burden to Elche, and to deposit it at the first house
where he saw a light, and having obtained his reluctant consent,
abruptly disappeared. Cantó, in accordance with the mysterious man's
instructions, left the chest at the Hermitage of San Sebastian. On
opening it, it was found to contain an image of the Virgin and the words
and music of the play as now performed. The image was regarded as
miraculous, and resisted all attempts to remove it from the hermitage.
It was not my good fortune to see the play, which takes place every year
in the Iglesia Mayor, transformed for the purpose into a theatre. The
representation lasts two days, the subject being the Assumption of the
Virgin. The words, in the old Valencian dialect, are wedded to old
Gregorian music. I understand that with a naïveté characteristic of
medieval institutions, the Supreme Being Himself is personified on the

[Illustration: ELCHE--A STREET]

A spectacle equally curious but not so picturesque is the daily sale of
water, which takes place here as at Lorca, but with official calm and
with none of the excitement to be remarked at the latter place.

From this sweltering climate we hasten to the sea-shore, where at rare
intervals a refreshing breeze may be felt. Alicante, the second town in
the kingdom of Valencia, is modern, commercial, and thriving. The
land-locked harbour is bordered by broad white quays, glistering in the
sun's rays, with heaps of tarry cordage, and canvas distilling
characteristically marine odours. Trains of mules pass by dragging
enormous loads of oranges. In the harbour women are busy loading an
English craft which flies the Blue Peter; they swarm up and down the
side like ants, or rather like the colliers so familiar to passengers
through the Suez Canal. The background to this scene of light and
animation is formed by the enormous rock, comparable to Gibraltar, which
is crowned by the ancient castle of Santa Barbara--so called after the
saint on whose festival, in the year 1248, it was taken by the
Castilians. Four years later it was stormed by the Aragonese, King
Alfonso the Battler being the third to enter the fortress. The Castilian
governor, with his sword in one hand and his keys in the other, fell
pierced with wounds at the conqueror's feet. The possession of the town,
as of Orihuela, was afterwards confirmed to Aragon by treaty.

Alicante is resorted to for sea-bathing during the summer. The water, I
am told, is then lukewarm--hot enough, according to one account, to
shave with! The thought of the place in August makes the Northerner
reach for a cooling drink. But I am assured that the heat is tempered by
refreshing breezes from the sea, and that in the long shadow of the
castle rock delicious evenings may be enjoyed.

So we journey northward. The country reveals the results of the most
systematic and intensive culture. We are told that the Valencians are
lazy, but if so it must be because the most cleverly devised schemes of
irrigation and cultivation have set them free of labour.

The province of Alicante--the southernmost of the three into which the
ancient kingdom is divided--contains several important towns. There is
the beautifully-named Villajoyosa, Benidorm--so Provençal in sound--and
Alcoy, a busy, industrial centre, situated in a blooming orchard
country. Here is celebrated every April the festival of St. George, when
a sort of sham fight takes place between peasants arrayed respectively
as Moors and Christians. From Alcoy a short line runs to Gandía on the
coast, the cradle of the famous house of Borgia.


Every town and village in this thickly peopled region has its historical
memories. Villena recalls the famous family to which it gave the title
of marquis; Jativa, a desperate struggle during the War of the Spanish
Succession, in which much English blood was spilled. This latter town
was the birthplace of Ribera, and, as some say, of Alexander
Borgia. It is situated in a country which might be described as a
veritable Mahomet's paradise. The cottages in the neighbourhood are
almost suffocated by the palm and orange trees. Beneath the golden fruit
we find our way to the castle, or rather castles--the new and the
old--built side by side upon a hill. Part of the fabric dates from the
time of the Moors. Later, the stronghold served as a state prison.
Within its walls languished and died the unhappy Count of Urgel, a
pretender to the throne of Aragon, and here passed a ten years'
captivity (1512-22) the Duke of Calabria, the rightful heir to the
throne of Naples, to leave his prison on his appointment to the
viceroyalty of the fair province he surveyed from its windows!

The custodian of the castle shows the usual underground chambers, which
may have been, as he alleges, dungeons, but were quite as likely (as
they generally were with us) store-rooms and wine cellars.

At Alcira we cross the Jucár, after the Ebro the most important Spanish
river running into the Mediterranean Sea. It rises within a few miles of
the source of the Tagus, in the Montes Universales, on the borders of
Aragon and New Castile, and flows south through the plains of La Mancha
till it enters the province of Albacete, when it takes an easterly
course. In the same province of Valencia it has excavated some
magnificent gorges. It is indeed a strong, impetuous stream, bursting
its banks again and again and levying a heavy tribute on the
surrounding country. Each time it makes for itself a new channel,
sweeping away whole villages. The village of Alcocer stood on its banks,
near its confluence with the Albaida. After countless harvests had been
devastated and inestimable damage to some extent repaired, the two
streams swelled with fury and in one day reduced a vast extent of
country to a flat stretch of mud. Then, by another shifting of its bed,
the terrible Jucár laid bare the foundations of the homes it had ruined.
There is no security of tenure within its valley! Where your house
stands to-day, ships may ride to-morrow. Yet here as everywhere else
along the prolific shore, the waters form the great source of wealth,
fertilizing vast rice-fields and heavy-laden orchards. The marshy and
unhealthy lagoon of the Albufera, from which one of Napoleon's marshals
took his title, is being gradually filled up by the débris brought down
from the mountains by the rivers, and will ultimately form a "huerta" of
untold fertility. Meanwhile every effort is made to encourage the
afforesting of the rugged hill-sides, in order to check the violence of
the floods and the denuding of the arid, desiccated soil. As a result of
these wise measures, the kingdom of Valencia will within a short period
become one of the two or three richest agricultural districts in all

[Illustration: A WATER CARRIER]

The history of the land is that of its capital. Valencia is first
mentioned as having been granted by the consul Junius Brutus to the
warriors of Viriathus upon the death of their chief, and their
consequent surrender. The history of few Roman colonies, as it has
reached us, is of interest. The province had the usual martyrs under the
persecutions of Diocletian and Decius, and was the place of banishment
of the zealot Ermengild. It remained under the Moorish yoke for over
five hundred years, at one time forming part of the khalifate, at other
times constituting one or more petty kingdoms.

Don Téodoro Llorente speaks of "The slave kings" of Valencia, and thus
describes the rulers of uncertain and various origin who, like the
Janissaries of Turkey, had begun as slaves in the palace of the khalifa
and won power for themselves with their swords. One of these princes
added the Balearic Isles to his realms, and unsuccessfully attempted the
conquest of Sardinia.

The kingdom thus founded by military adventurers was overthrown by the
most famous of that warlike brood.

The history of the events which brought about the conquest of Valencia
by the Cid is extremely complex. The king or amir, Kadir, was the puppet
of the rival powers which aspired to the possession of his dominions,
and was alternately upheld on his tottering throne by one and the other.
Weary of this dishonourable tutelage, the people arose under the
leadership of Ibn Jahhaf. Kadir fled disguised as a woman, but was
detected and beheaded. That strange anomaly, a Mohammedan republic, was
formed. In other words, Valencia was governed by an assembly of
notables called the Al Jama, of which Ibn Jahhaf was the president.

The people which arrogates the right to choose its ruler has ever been
considered a sort of pirate among the nations, and fair game for more
powerful states. Kadir at the moment of his deposition had been
nominally under the protection of the Cid. That redoubtable warrior,
under the pretext of avenging his protégé's death, advanced on Valencia.
The Almoravides came to his assistance, but precipitately retired.
Distrusting these allies almost as much as the Christians, Ibn Jahhaf
amused the Cid with negotiations, but meanwhile made preparations for
defence. He became the special object of the famous warrior's hatred,
and when the city fell, was burnt to death at the stake before the eyes
of his horrified countrymen. The Cid now ruled Valencia as absolute lord
and despot till his death, five years later, in 1097. The legend need
not be related here, how his wife defended the city for two years after
his death, and finally, setting his corpse fully armed upon his
warhorse, won a victory over the terrified Moors and thus took him to
his last resting-place at Cardeña.

Valencia was not finally wrested from the yoke of Islam till the
memorable 28th of September, 1238, when the standard of the victorious
Jaime I. of Aragon was hoisted over the tower of Ali Bufat. In the
history of Aragon the conquest ranks with the taking of Seville in the
history of Castile. Granada was the joint conquest of both kingdoms. It
is curious to compare the ready submission of the Moors, and their
surrender of whole kingdoms to the Christians, sometimes as the result
of a single battle, with the tenacious resistance offered by their
descendants in Algeria in modern times. Enervated by the climate of
Spain, the Mussulmans of that country were absolutely incapable of
maintaining a prolonged guerrilla warfare. If a fortified capital was
taken they at once handed over the whole kingdom to the conqueror. They
were not, of course, peculiar in this respect. The sentiment of
nationality and physical courage are characteristic far more of the
modern than of the ancient world. We have only to compare the resistance
of the Anglo-Saxons to the Normans with that of the Boers to the
British, of the French in the Hundred Years' War with that of their
descendants in 1871, to realize how much more of manliness and endurance
we possess than did our ancestors. We must go back to the days of
Leonidas and Regulus to find parallels for the exploits of our own
Indian army; to Numantia and Saguntum for parallels to Saragossa and
Gerona. National and individual self-respect withered under feudalism,
and revived only on the introduction of free institutions.

Valencia to-day, as befits the capital of a rich, prosperous province,
is a handsome, modern progressive city. There is little or nothing about
to remind one of its erstwhile masters, the Moors, and it has not
retained more monuments of its past than most other cities. Interesting
it is not from the sightseer's point of view, nor convenient from a
stranger's, since indications of the names of the streets are few and
far between. New avenues are being formed, and in these magnificent
houses are arising, all happily in different styles, original and
individual, forming a contrast to the dull uniformity of most
Continental town perspectives. At two points the town is entered by
massive gates of the castellated type--the Torres de Serranos and de
Cuarte. The former date from the fourteenth century, and have two
octagonal towers with heavy machicolations at two-thirds of their
height; the machicolation is continued across the connecting storey,
which is richly panelled above the narrow archway. The Torres de Cuarte
are drum towers, similarly flanking a gateway; in this case the parapet
is itself borne on corbels and machicolated. The work dates from the
fifteenth century. These towers add much to the picturesqueness of their
respective quarters. The Citadel, in another part of the town, replaces
the old temple built in 1238 by the Knights Templars on the spot where
the Aragonese planted their cross on entering Valencia. It contains the
chapel where St. Vicente Ferrer, "the Angel of the Judgment," took the
habit of St. Dominic.

[Illustration: MALAGA--A PICADOR]

A glance at the Cathedral and the Lonja, and we shall have "done"
Valencia in the tourist's sense. The former building was founded in the
year 1262 on the site of the principal mosque. In it the Kings of
Aragon took the oath as Kings of Valencia. Repeatedly restored, and
"modernized" in 1750, it presents a dreadful jumble of styles, and is
far behind the cathedrals of Andalusia in beauty and interest. The
Micalet Tower, however, rising at the end of the Calle de Zaragoza,
presents a striking appearance. It is the great landmark of the
district, and the Valencians refer to exile as "losing sight of the
Micalet." The view from the summit is very fine. The main entrance to
the Cathedral is poor, but the north door, called the Puerta de los
Apostoles, richly sculptured and delicately moulded, exhibits the skill
and imagery of the fourteenth century at its best.

Above the interesting semicircular Puerta del Palau are seen on
medallions the heads of seven men and seven women--these representing
the seven knights of the Conquest and the seven ladies (some say of
Valencia, and others of Lerida) whom they married. From these alliances
sprang the nobility of the province. This doorway was evidently
constructed by the architect who designed the Puerta dels Infants at

The interior has also suffered by restoration. The pointed arches have
been rounded, the Gothic columns almost concealed by Corinthian
pilasters, the walls covered with marbles. The effect is rich ("La Rica"
is the surname which particularly distinguishes this Cathedral), but
much of the religious antique air of the place has gone for ever. The
plan is, as usual with Spanish churches, cruciform. The chancel was
reconstructed in 1682, but the altar was melted down by the French in
1809. Fortunately the fine panel-shutters made for its protection in the
sixteenth century have been preserved. They were carved by a carpenter
named Carles, and are painted with scenes from the lives of Christ and
the Virgin. These works are ascribed by some to Francisco Pagano and
Pablo de San Leocadio, by others to Leonardo da Vinci himself. Hanging
to one of the pillars on the Gospel side may be seen the spurs and
bridle of Jaime lo Conqueridor, presented by him, on the day he took the
city, to his master of the horse, Juan de Perthusa.

Over the crossing rises the fine octagonal lantern, built in 1404 and
restored in 1731. The trophies which once adorned it have long since
been carried off, among them the flags taken from the Genoese by Ramon
Corveran, a famous sea-dog of Valencia.

The pulpit, over which is displayed a picture of St. Vicente Ferrer, was
the one from which that zealous missionary actually preached. It can,
however, hardly be regarded as a curiosity, as the saint must have
preached in nearly every church in the Peninsula, France, and Flanders.


The choir is modern, except the rear portion or "trascoro," which dates
from the end of the fifteenth century; and the chapels contain little
that is of interest. Tomás de Villanueva, the holy Archbishop of
Valencia, is entombed in the chapel dedicated to him. The chapel of
another Valencian saint, St. Francis Borgia, is remarkable for a curious
picture representing his conversion of a dying man. The penitent is
depicted almost nude, and attended by comically fantastic monsters.
Another painting shows the saint, as Duke of Gandía, taking leave of his
relatives when about to embrace the religious state.

Leaving the Cathedral, we visit the noble Gothic Lonja, or Silk
Exchange, built between the years 1482 and 1498 by Pedro Compte. Though
not in the purest style, the result is imposing and dignified. A French
writer (M. Paul Jousset), not addicted to laudatory language, admits
that this building is worth a visit to Valencia to see. Its square
tower, its crenellated chimneys, open galleries, and high windows,
recall the palace-like châteaux of the Loire. Within is a noble hall
divided into three by rows of spirally-fluted columns. The roof is
studded with stars, and round the frieze runs the inscription: "He only
that shall not have deceived nor done usury, shall be worthy of eternal
life." For the commercial integrity of Valencia it is to be hoped that
the business men frequenting this exchange keep their eyes fixed on the
text. Another public building worthy of attention is the Audiencia, in
good Renaissance style, with grand halls adorned by portraits of eminent
natives of the province. In the Salon de Cortes, the old provincial
States assembled till the middle of the eighteenth century.

The minor churches of Valencia are hardly worth a visit--the less so
that in this climate the stranger is generally well content to "laze"
his time away. He may do this very pleasantly on the Paseo de la
Glorieta or Plaza Principe Alfonso, two charming shady spots, where
numerous trees are reflected in the waters of the cool basins. Further
off, across the parched Turia, you reach the Alameda, a leafy avenue
where fountains diffuse a refreshing dew. And if you should chance to
doze on one of the benches, you need not fear interruption. This
charming promenade, for some occult reason, is neglected by the

The picture gallery of Valencia is important. It contains fine specimens
of contemporary Spanish art, including works by Sorolla and Benlliure.
Ribalta may be studied here, and also the less-known masters of the
Valencian school, such as Orrente, March, Espinosa, and Juanes. There
used to be several fine private collections in Valencia, but these have
all been dispersed.

The country round Valencia is far more interesting than the city. In no
other part of Spain, says Mr. Brunhés, has man more successfully
combated and reduced natural aridity by irrigation and cultivation; so
successfully indeed, that from Gandía to Valencia, for instance, a
stretch of 100 kilometres, the gardens succeed each other so closely
that it is easy to forget--in spite of the naked slopes on the
horizon--that these oases occupy a naturally arid soil. This is, in
short, the best cultivated province in the kingdom.


The numberless canals and watercourses which intersect the land in all
directions are fed for the most part by the Jucár and Turia--the latter
the local stream of Valencia--but every possible source is turned to
account. Here the water supply, comprised in the Canal of Moncada and
the Seven Canals, belongs to the community, by whom is indirectly
elected the famous tribunal which meets every Thursday morning at the
Apostles' Gate of the Cathedral.

The sittings of this singular court are the most interesting sight in
Valencia. In the plaza a crowd of countryfolk are collected, furiously
discussing their affairs and pleading their cases in advance, after the
manner of litigants all the world over. Meanwhile the alguazil of the
tribunal has disposed an ancient sofa in the shadow of the great Gothic
portal and marked off a space before it with a railing. Presently the
seven judges arrive--one for each canal. They have the air of well-to-do
peasants, and such they are--grave, stoutly-built men, with tanned faces
and close-cropped hair. They wear black, the colour beloved by the
comfortably-situated working man all the world over; but they have not
discarded the native handkerchief round their polished brows or the
_espadrilla_, or Valencian shoe. Each is known by the name of the canal
which he represents--Mislata, Cuarte, and so forth. These
peasant-magistrates having taken their seats, the oldest pronounces the
words "Se obri el tribunal" (The tribunal is open). For a moment
absolute silence reigns. Then those who have the right to be heard first
are introduced within the railing and plead their cause bare-headed
before the court. Woe to the insolent wight that dare stand covered in
its presence! The alguazil will tear the handkerchief off his head, and
he will be mulcted, moreover, in a fine. Anyone who speaks before his
turn is fined. The discipline is severe. Each must wait till the
president indicates with his foot that it is his turn to be heard.
Notwithstanding, the fiery Valencians find it hard to restrain their
feelings. At every moment there is an explosion of wrath or indignation,
a heated expostulation from one or the other of the parties. The fines
thus accumulated must represent a considerable sum. The procedure is
entirely verbal; even the judgments are not recorded. But no court
exercises more absolute power than the Tribunal de las Aguas of

Life in the fertile huerta of Valencia is beautifully described by the
great novelist, Blasco Ibañez, a native of the city. The following
roughly translated passages, though they convey little idea of the
forceful and elegant style of the original, will at least enable the
reader to picture a summer in the South:

"When the vast plain awakes in the bluish light of dawn, the last of the
nightingales that have sang through the night breaks off abruptly in his
final trill, as though he had been stricken by the steely shaft of day.
Sparrows in whole coveys burst forth from the thatched roofs, and
beneath this aerial rabble preening their wings, the trees shake and

"One by one the murmurs of the night subside--the trickling of
watercourses, the sighing of the reeds, the barking of the watchful
dogs. Other sounds belonging to the day grow louder and fill the huerta.
The crow of the cock is heard from every farm; the village bells re-echo
the call to prayer borne across from the towers of Valencia, which are
yet misty in the distance; from the farmyards arises a discordant animal
concert--the neighing of horses, the bellowing of oxen, the clucking of
hens, the bleating of lambs, the grunting of swine--the sounds produced
by beasts that scent the keen odour of vegetation in the morning breeze
and are hungry for the fields.

"The sky is suffused with light, and with light, life inundates the
plain and penetrates to the interior of human and animal abodes. Doors
open creaking. In the porches white figures appear, their hands clasped
behind their necks, scanning the horizon. From the stables issue towards
the city, milch cows, flocks of goats, manure carts. Bells tinkle
between the dwarf trees bordering the high road, and every now and again
is heard the sharp '_Arre, Aca!_' of the drivers.

"On the thresholds of the cottages those bound for the town exchange
greetings with those that stay in the fields: '_Bon dia nos done Deu!_'
(May God give us a good day!) '_Bon dia._'

"Immense is the energy, the explosion of life, at midsummer, the best
season of the year, the time of harvest and abundance. Space throbs with
light and heat. The African sun rains torrents of fire on the land
already cracked and wrinkled by its burning caresses, and its golden
beams pierce the dense foliage, beneath which are hidden the canals and
trenches to save them from the all-powerful vivifying heat.

"The branches of the trees are heavy with fruit. They bend beneath the
weight of yellow grapes covered with glazed leaves. Like the pink cheeks
of a child glow the apricots amid the verdure. Children greedily eye the
luscious burden of the fig trees. From the gardens is wafted the scent
of the jasmin, and the magnolias dispense their incense in the burning
air laden with the perfume of the cereals.

"The gleaming scythe has already sheared the land, levelling the golden
fields of wheat and the tall corn stalks, which bowed beneath their
heavy load of life. The hay forms yellow hills which reflect the colour
of the sun. The wheat is winnowed in a whirlwind of dust; in the naked
fields among the stubble, sparrows hop from spot to spot in search of
stray gleanings. Everywhere are happiness and joyous labour. Waggons go
groaning down the road; children frolic in the fields and among the
sheaves, thinking of the wheaten cakes in prospect and of the lazy,
pleasant life which begins for the farmer when his barn is filled. Even
the old horses stride along more gaily, cheered by the smell of the
golden grain which will flow steadily into their mangers as the year
rolls on.

[Illustration: COURTING]

"When the harvest has levelled the panorama and cleared the great
stretches of wheat sprinkled with poppies, the plain seems vast, almost
illimitable. Farther than the eye can reach stretch its great squares of
red soil marked off by paths and trenches. The Sunday's rest is
rigorously observed over the whole countryside. Not a man is seen
toiling in the fields, not a beast at work on the road. Down the paths
pass old women with their mantillas drawn over their eyes and their
little chairs hanging to their arms. In the distance resound, like the
tearing of linen, the shots fired at the swallows, which fly hither and
thither in circles. A noise seems to be produced by their wings ruffling
the crystal firmament. From the canals rises the murmur of clouds of
almost invisible flies. In a farm all painted blue under an ancient
arbour there is a whirlwind of gaily coloured shawls and petticoats,
while the guitars with their drowsy rhythm and the strident cornets
accompany the measures of the Valencian Jota.

"In the village the little plaza is thronged with the field folk. The
men are in their shirt sleeves, with black sashes and gorgeous
handkerchiefs arranged mitre-like on their heads. The old men lean on
their big Liria sticks. The young men, with sleeves turned up, display
their red nervous arms and carry mere sprigs of ash between their huge
knotted fingers.

"In the afternoon, towards the fountain, along the road bordered with
poplars which shake their silvered foliage, go groups of girls with
their pitchers on their heads. Their rhythmical movements and their
grace recall the Athenian canephoræ. This procession to the well lends
to the huerta of Valencia something of a biblical character. The Fontana
de la Reina is the pride of the huerta, condemned to drink the water of
wells and the red and dirty liquid of the canals. It is esteemed as an
ancient and valuable work. It has a square basin with walls of reddish
stone. The water is below the soil. You reach the bottom by means of six
green and slippery steps. Opposite the steps is a defaced bas-relief,
probably a Virgin attended by angels--no doubt an ex-voto of the time of
the Conquest. Laughter and chatter are not wanting round the well. The
girls cluster round, eager to fill their pitchers but in no hurry to
depart. They jostle each other on the steps, their petticoats gathered
in between their legs, the better to lean forward and to plunge their
vessels into the basin. The surface of the water is unceasingly troubled
by the bubbles rising from the sandy bed, which is covered with weeds
waving in the current."


Abades, No. 6, 70

Abbad, Mohammed Ben, 22

Abdallah, Ahmed Ben, 21

Abd-el-Aziz, 19

Abd-ur-Rahman, 89

Abd-ur-Rahman III., 21

Abu-l-Walid, 115

Adra, 168

Ælii, 16

Ahmar, Mohammed al, 27, 113

Alarcos, 26

Albaicin, 148

Alcazaba, 129

Alcazares, 35

Alcazar Genil, 161

Alcoy, 190

Alfonso VI., 24, 25, 98

Alfonso X., 114

Alfonso the Battler, King, 189

Alfonso the Learned, 4, 181

Al Hakem II., 90

Alhama, 121

Alhambra, The, 124

Alicante, 189

Al Mansûr, 90

Almeria, 168

Almohades, 26, 30, 112

Almoravides, 26, 112, 194

Aragon, Don Jaime of, 179

Arfe, Juan de, 60, 96

Aurariola, 178

Az Zahara, 97

Barbuda, Don Martin de la, 102, 119

Baths, 143

Bekr, Abu, 179

Belludo, 145

Ben Hud, 27, 113

Biblioteca Colombina, 35

Boabdil, 121

Cadiz, 1

Cadiz, Marquis of, 121

Cæsar, Julius, 16

Campaña--_See_ Kempener

Campillo, 160

Cano, Alonso, 66, 75, 155, 165

Caños de Carmona, 81

Capilla Real, 152

Cartagena, 182

Carthaginians, 3, 14, 15

Cartuja, 84, 158

Casa de Bustos Tavera, 70

Casa del Carbon, 147

Casa de los Tiros, 160

Casa de Pilatos, 66

Cathedral, 50, 151, 155, 165, 196

Cespedes, Pablo de, 75, 103

Charles V., 95

Cid Campeador, Ruy Diaz de Bivar, 112, 193

Colon, Fernando, 57

Columbus, Christopher, 56, 160

Cordova, 86

Cornejo, Duque, 95, 96

Coronel, Doña Maria, 38

Cortes, Hernando, 83

Court of the Lions, 137

Cuarto de Santo Domingo, 160

Dance of the Seises, 81

Dávalos, Leonor, 38

Delicias Gardens, 77

Dios, San Juan de, 156

Drake, Sir Francis, 4

Elche, 187

El Greco, 60

Enrique III., 119

Ermengild, 18, 193

Ermita de San Sebastian, 160

"Esperandola del Cielo," 149

Essex, Earl of, 5

Exilona, 19

Fadrique, Don, 46

Fair of Seville, 79

Ferdinand and Isabella, 121

Fernandez, Alejo, 85

Fernando el Magno, 24

Ferrer, St. Vincent, 35

Frutet, 75

Gandía, 190

Gandia, Duke of, 157

Generalife, The, 146

Gibralfaro, 164

Gibraltar, 173

Giordano, Luca, 58

Gipsies, 84

Giralda Tower, 31

Gongora, 95

Goya, 60

Granada, 107

Great Captain, 102, 156

Guadalquivir, The, 9

Guzman el Bueno, 83

Hajjaj, Ibrahim Ibn, 20

Hall of the Two Sisters, 139

Halls of the Abencerrages, 139

Hasan, Mulai, 121

Hernandez (Gonzalo), de Aguilar y de Cordova,
   "the Great Captain," 102, 156

Herrera, 58, 61, 66

Herrera, The Older, 75

Illiberis, 111

"Intransigentes," 182

Irrigation, 175, 200

Isidore, St., 19

Ismaïl, Saïd Ben, 121

Italica, 15, 17, 18, 82

Jaime lo Conqueridor, 186, 194, 198

Jativa, 190

Jerez, 10

Juan II., 16

Jucár, 191

Junteron, Don Gil, 181

Kadir, 193

Kempener, Peter, 55, 58, 59

La Caridad, 74

"Las Navas de Tolosa," 26

La Trinidad, 19

Leal, Valdés, 58, 59, 74, 75

Leander, 18

Lebrija, 11

Leovgild, 18

Levi, Simuel Ben, 37

Lonja, 196, 199

Lorca, 175

Lucan, 16

Majus, 21

Malaga, 163

Malecon, 180

Marana, Miguel de, 73

Mena, Juan de, 104

Mezquita, 88

Mihrab, 144

Mirador de "Lindaraja," 142

Mohammed II., 114

Mohammed III., 114

Mohammed IV., 116

Mohammed V., 117, 171

Mohammed VI., 119

Mohammed VII., 121

Mohammed VIII., 121

Mohammedan Paintings, 140

Montañez, 58, 60, 66, 75, 83

Mote'mid, 23

Motril, 168

Munda, 170

Murcia, 174, 179, 180

Murillo, 8, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 73, 74, 75, 76

Musa, 19

Museo of Seville, 74

Musset, Alfred de, 7, 12, 71

Mut'adid-billah, Amir, 22

Muwallads, 20

Nasr, Abu-l-Juyyush Muley, 115

Northmen, 21

Omnium Sanctorum, 65

Oratory, 144

Orihuela, 178, 186

Osorio, Doña Urraca, 38

Padilla, Maria de, 46

Palace of Charles V., 131

Palace of St. Telmo, 76

Palacio de las Dueñas, 70

Palomino, 95

Paredes, Doña Maria de Guzman, 95

Patio de Daraxa, 142

Patio de la Alberca, 135

Patio de las Arrayanes, 135

Patio de las Muñecas, 45

Patio de los Naranjos, 34

Patio "del Mexuar," 134

Pedro the Cruel, 36

Phœnicians, The, 2, 14

Pineda, Doña Mariana, 157

Plaza de Bibarrambla, 151

Poore, Lawrence, 28

Puerta de Hierro, 144

Puerta de la Justicia, 128

Puerta del Lagarto, 53

Puerta del Perdon, 34

Puerta del Vino, 130

Puerto Santa Maria, 10

Pulgar, Fernando del, Lord of El Salar, 152

Ramon Bonifaz, 27

Recchiarus, 17

Ribera, 190

Robles, Joao de, 156

Roelas, Juan de las, 58, 65, 75

Roldán, Pedro, 61

Romanticists, 6, 7

Ronda, 170

Rueda, Lope de, 95

Sacromonte, 158

Saïd, Abu, 37, 118, 171

St. Ferdinand, 27, 55, 95

St. Isidore, 24

St. Justa, 84

St. Rufina, 84

St. Vicente Ferrer, 196, 198

Sala de la Justicia, 140

Sala de los Embajadores, 136

Salambo, 15, 84

Salon de los Embajadores, 44

San Geronimo, 156

Santa Ana, 85

Santa Paula, 64

Santo Domingo, 160

Scipio, 15

Seneca, 16

Seville, 12

Siloe, Diego de, 156, 165

Suevi, 17

Talavera, Archbishop de, 123

Tarik, 19

Tarshish, 3

Tendilla, Count of, 123

Theodomir, 178

Theudis, 17

Theudisel, 17

Tocador de la Reina, 143

Todmir, 179

Torre de Cuarte, 196

Torre de Serranos, 196

Torre del Agua, 145

Torre del Homenage, 130

"Torre del Oro," 29

Torre de la Cautiva, 145

Torre de la Vela, 129

Torre de las Damas, 144

Torre de las Infantas, 145

Torre de los Picos, 144

Torre de los Siete Suelos, 145

Torres Bermejas, 127

Tower of Comares, 136

Triana, 84

Tribunal de las Aguas, 201

Turdetani, 14

University Church, Seville, 65

Utrera, 11

Valdes, 75

Valencia, 192, 195

Vandals, 16

Vargas, Luis de, 34, 58, 59, 75

Velazquez, 75

Velez Chapel, 182

Vermilion Towers, 125

Vigarni, 153

Visigoths, 17

Yusuf I., 117

Yusuf II., 119

Yusuf III., 120

Yusuf IV., 121

Zacatin, 150

Zaghal, 122

Zahara, 121, 171

Zayda, 25

Zegri, Hamet el, 164

Ziryab, 101

Zurbaran, 58, 60, 75


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