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The Gardens of Alhambra, Essay Example

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Essay

Hispano-Islamic gardening is one of the starkest examples of differences between Occidental Europe and Andalusia during the middle ages. During this period, Occidental Europe was engaged in violent power struggles and in-fighting. Comparatively, Andalusia experienced order and prosperity.

This is perhaps most evident in the aesthetic material lives in both places. The fortress sort of castles in the Occident contrasted the palaces of the Islamic Empire. Where motes protected castles in France and England, gardens bejeweled the landscape of Andalusia – particularly Alhambra.

This concept of the Islamic garden finds a soft spot in my heart. Although it grew up in the agrarianism of Early Islamic culture, it was perhaps most skillfully expressed in the Gardens of Alhambra. Not only was agriculture necessary for food and commerce, it could be joined with architecture, public works, and irrigation engineering to create a unified artistic whole. To me, this is the epitome of human achievement – the balance of necessity, prosperity, beauty, and function.

An automaker once boasted that form follows function. For the gardens of Alhambra, necessity brought technology which increased prosperity which augmented cooperative aesthetics. Although the engineering feats themselves were noteworthy in their own accord, they were purposely translated into a symbiosis of humanity and the environment into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Modern commercial agriculture could learn from this idea of not just using the earth but also sculpting it in a way that is mutually beneficial to people and wildlife. The gardens of Alhambra are microcosmic examples of how we (as a species) could learn to contribute to the ecosystem and immediate habitat in ways that partner their strengths in the very long or extended term.

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