Category Archives: Acequias

Palace of the people

AMONG the northern toes of the Sierra Nevada, on a hilltop overlooking the city of Granada, stands the Alhambra – the most complete Islamic fortification and royal palace remaining in Europe. Built as a fortress in 889, it was enlarged in the mid-13th Century during the Nasrid dynasty, and after the fall of Islam in Spain, in 1492, became one the residencies of the Christian monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It was eventually abandoned, partially destroyed by Napoleon’s troops, became a haven for the homeless, was rediscovered by European intellectuals and restored to its former glory – and is now Spain’s premier ancient monument and number-one tourist attraction . . . Continue reading Palace of the people


White villages

white villages 1PAMPANEIRA, Bubion and Capileira are among the highest villages in Spain. They cling to the terraced slopes of the Sierra Nevada like pale limpets to a rock. Streets are narrow and winding; shade is cool; food is local. They are wonderful places to visit . . . Continue reading White villages

Water from the well


SPEAKING of rituals . . . the practice of fetching water from the well is ingrained in our culture and subconscious. There was a time when we referred to gossip as “parish pump” talk or “village pump” talk, implying it was gathered by people – usually women, apparently – going about their daily chores in the days before water was piped into our homes. The modern equivalent is “talk around the water-cooler”, which continues the tradition almost seamlessly. In the interests of balance, I will add that the latter practice is embraced mostly by men . . . Continue reading Water from the well