Eyes in a Granada sky

img_0135UNFRIENDLY and judgemental faces glower down upon the people of Granada from rooftops, columns and sunlit facades. These are the faces of the city Watchers. They have dwelt among the winds and the pigeons since mediaeval times and harbour little love for the mortals who scamper below. They can be vindictive, malevolent, rancorous and resentful. It is best to wander the streets with eyes averted unless you can summon the confidence to confront and challenge. I have spied the Watchers in many European cities – Krakow has a particularly virulent assemblage. Here in Granada they can be glimpsed by the light of the sun; or by the rays of the moon when – with a scraping of stone and a dribbling of dust – they occasionally change position. The city Watchers possess the scrupulous morals of the artisans who fashioned them and the tyrannical ways of the merchants and clergy whose unsoiled hands paid silver for the toil. They are an antiquity, a remnant of a past world that has survived into the present and will continue into the future. They guard and they condemn. And, occasionally, they act with frightful malice . . .

The Watchers haunt high places. To the unobservant, they are little more than inanimate lumps of honeyed stone, skilfully-moulded forms in black iron, or daubs of paint on flaking walls. From their nooks and ledges they uphold the values of Christian Spain and maintain the integrity of their city. When angered, which is often, they are swift to strike and ruthless in their actions. Do not cross the Watchers . . .

granada-2b granada-3b granada-4b granada-5b granada-6b granada-7b granada-8bMost people live their lives unaware of the Watchers. They are content to suppose that Granada is nothing more than a typical European city with a few old buildings, a congregation of churches and a cathedral. Their eyes fail to see, their ears fail to hear. Granada is a very beautiful place and its architecture is to be appreciated. To the unobservant, the Watchers are invisible . . .

granada-9c granada-10cThere are unguarded moments when the Watchers are glimpsed by the curious below. This causes a commotion, with great gesticulation, and a frenzied clicking of cameras . . .

granada-11dBut the overwhelming majority of city dwellers and visitors go about their business with a lack of understanding and a demeanour that could be considered reckless . . .

hereMeanwhile, the Watchers watch as the city revolves through its eternal cycle of daily toil. Church bells toll in a predetermined order; the hands of clocks labour round; shadows creep from one lofty gable to the next. And the Watchers watch . . .

granada-13d granada-18d granada-14d granada-19d granada-15d granada-20d granada-16d granada-21d granada-17dPassing the cathedral, I hear a scraping of stone. I am being watched by St Peter, who has allowed his keys to jangle. Summoning every last drop of courage, I cry: “Are you watching me?” St Peter averts his gaze and utters denials. Three, in fact . . .

granada-22eDown on the streets the Watchers have spies. On every corner, in every window, in every doorway, the spies with eyes don’t compromise. Some appear menacing, others ludicrous – but they continue their silent and eternal vigil . . .

granada-23f granada-24f granada-25f granada-26fMany are sinister – like these three here . . .

granada-27gDon’t cross the Watchers of Granada – or the Watchers of any European city. Retribution is swift and without mercy. Your fate will be silent and unwitnessed. Little evidence that you ever lived and breathed will remain on this earth . . .



25 thoughts on “Eyes in a Granada sky

      1. Alen, I don’t see you as a city man (particularly being barefoot) but that i suppose is another story. I’m signing off for the next few months, trying to get my life back into some form of order……….ha! That’ll be fun! Hopefully I’ll catch up with you next year. May i be the first (?) to wish you a very happy Christmas!


    1. I won’t sleep tonight now you’ve said that.
      I used to frighten my granddaughter with the stone angels. It was the only thing that would keep her in line. I think they came second in a poll after the Daleks about the most frightening Dr Who monsters. They used to frighten me, I know that.
      Cheers, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Haha, brilliant, Alen! Loved this post. So very observant. All of the watchers are essentially creepy but the mannequins take the biscuit as far as I’m concerned. I am afraid I had to look up the denials of St Peter as I was sure there was a reference there, which just shows how holy I am. Granada looks to be a very interesting place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. Poor old St Peter. Here’s something else about him you may or may not know, and I mention it because I know you like your saints. If you come across a pub called the Cross Keys (and there are many of them) it is always in the parish of a St Peter’s church. If you look at the picture of the statue, St Peter’s keys are crossed. I shall have to look up the reason for this because I don’t know what the significance is.
      Cheers, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

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