Over the five continents there are cities which stand out from the rest. They seem to have been touched by a magic wand, which has given them a special charm. They are places that literally steal the heart of those who visit. To them, artists have dedicated poems, novels, songs, and paintings, and all manner of artistic expression.
Granada has been the muse of various artists and celebrities throughout its history. Many of them chose it as their place of residence during long periods. A constant inspiration for poets, writers, painters, cinema makers, musicians…Many are the phrases uttered under the enchanting spell of the city of the Alhambra. We wanted to show just a few of them in this post. But there are many more. And you, have you also dedicated your thoughts to Granada? We would be happy for you to share them with us in the comments section.
Francisco de Icaza:
- “Give him alms, woman, as there is nothing in life as the sadness of being blind in Granada”.
The most famous quote to define the immeasurable beauty of Granada was written by Francisco de Icaza, the Mexican poet and historian who was based in Spain. It seems that in Granada there was an old blind man begging for money. Icaza was there on his honeymoon in the city of the Alhambra with his wife, Beatriz de León, who was from Granada. Due to the beauty of each, the city and his wife, the poet exclaimed this phrase.
Federico García Lorca:
- “Granada is defenceless before the people; because against flattery nothing or no one can defend itself”.
- “ In the waters of Granada, only the sighs row”.
- “Granada is the perfect dream and fantasy, forever ineffable… Granada will always be more malleable than philosophical, more lyric than dramatic”.
The whole world knows that the most international Granada ambassador was and continues to be Federico García Lorca. The poet, playwright and author of the Generation of ’27 took the beauty of Granada around the world and continues to do so, as many people decide to visit or even live in this city, attracted by the work of Lorca.
- “Granada is part of my skin, my eyes, my hair, my song, my food, my children, my parents…I will always return to Granada”.
The Granada singer always takes her native land with her, wherever she goes. The same was true of her father, Enrique Morente, and her siblings, Soleá and José Enrique. In the documentary Morente, sueña la Alhambra, Estrella sings with her father in our beloved Baños de Comares, within the Nasrid monument.
Lope de Vega
- “I do not know what to call this land upon which I stand. If what is beneath my feet is paradise, then what is the Alhambra? Heaven?”
Lope de Vega was one of the most influential poets and playwrights from the Spanish Golden Age, whose works continue to be read and performed to this day. The creator of such significant works for our theatre as “The Lady Simpleton” or “The Dog in the Manger” also fell under the spell of Granada and had to dedicate a few verses to it.
- “Every city has its own charm, but Granada has its own and that of the rest”
It seems that many other writers and artists have had the same thought. The Spanish poet of generation ’98, who wrote “wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking” wrote down this thought for us. It cleverly distils in a few words all the beauty of the city, which can be found in abundance.
“The Alhambra in Granada is the most fertile source of inspiration of all those from which I have drunk”.
This Dutch artist of woodcut prints visited our country a lot, and particularly the Alhambra in Granada. There he copied numerous ornamental motifs, which he later applied in his work.
Juan Ramón Jiménez
- “Then we shall go to Granada every autumn, to die a little…”
In summer 1924, Juan Ramón Jiménez visited the city with his wife Zenobia, to see his friend Federico, and was captivated. The creator of Platero the donkey wrote a letter to the little sister of Federico García Lorca. Those were among the words the Moguer poet dedicated to Isabel García Lorca. In addition, to the little fairy of the Generalife, as he called her, he also wrote the poem Generalife.
- “Granada is so moving that it stimulates and melts all of the senses”.
The famous French fauvist painter visited Granada and was awestruck by its beauty. Henri Matisse had a weakness for the Andalusian world, and seeing the Alhambra first hand reinforced this passion. The Nasrid monument astounded him so much that they say it accompanied him all his life. After his visit he admitted by letter to the art critic Gaston Diehl that “inspiration came to me from the Orient”.
Miguel de Unamuno
- “My eyes filled with tears; not tears of sorrow nor of happiness, but of fulfilment of a quiet, hidden life in Granada”.
The Spanish writer and philosopher was a great friend of the Granada writer and diplomat Ángel Ganivet, and they both belonged to the Generation of ’98. In 1903, Unamuno visited Granada in the month of September. This trip was recalled in his book Andanzas y visiones españolas. He exclaimed this famous phrase when walking through the Albaicín neighbourhood.
- “If you were to visit just one city in Spain, it should be Granada”.
Considered to be one of the greatest ever novelists from the United States, he felt true adoration for our country. Spain served as inspiration for his novels on the many times he was here. Despite covering the entire country, the quote shows that the city of the Alhambra had a great impact on him. Even today, many young writers travel from many countries to follow in his footsteps.