After spending over a month in Morocco and southern Spain, one of the things that stood out to me was how much intricate detail was put into the floors, walls and ceilings of many buildings. The finer details were typically reserved for palaces and larger homes, but even smaller guest houses would often have beautiful entrances and tiled walls. The Alhambra, a Moorish palace in Granada, has some of the most beautiful and detailed tile work in the world. Most of the designs include colorful, repeated patterns and arabesques, which are both commonly found in Islamic art. Some of the patterns in the Alhambra include rosettes (round flower patterns), tessellations (repeated shape patterns), and knots (braided patterns). For a more in-depth analysis of the common patterns in the Alhambra, click here.
Granada is located near Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountain range in the eastern part of Andalucia. Granada — not to be confused with Grenada, the Caribbean island — isn’t as well known as some of Spain’s other cities, but it is just as charming and one of my favorite places I visited on my trip. As a side note, If you ever book a plane ticket to Granada or Grenada, make sure you’re going to the right place, unlike this unfortunate grandmother from the UK or this American couple.
The title of this post references ‘free tapas’ because with every drink purchase in Granada, most restaurants will give you free tapas. As far as I understand, the free tapas custom used to be more common throughout Spain, but now Granada is one of the only remaining places where this is still true. The free tapas weren’t anything spectacular, but I could sit down, purchase a couple of cheap beers and get a free lunch or snack out of it. The food that I actually paid for in the city was excellent.