Rennaissance Spain

The Landscapes of  THE RED RIBBON

Take a trip across Renaissance Spain. In 1491, Spain is powerful already and flexing its muscles. It is an amalgam of cultures and peoples, ruled by Isabel, the visionary queen of Castile and Leon, and her husband, Fernando, king of Aragon and Sicily, an energetic man and cunning soldier.  A power couple if ever there was one, Isabel and Fernando are about to achieve the goal for which they’ve been fighting for years, the surrender of the Nazari kingdom of Granada. That’s the setting of my novel, The Red Ribbon.

Come along and discover cities such as Sigüenza, deep in the heart of Castile, a place with a cathedral-fortress. Wander along the lovely halls and courtyards of the Renaissance palace of the Infantado, in Guadalajara, seat of the powerful Mendoza family. And let Granada enchant you. Because it will.

The photos in the gallery are only a sample of the landscapes.

Hover over the ‘i’ on the top right corner of the gallery to stop the slider (SL), go at your pace, and read a description of the photos. You’ll have to click back on the ‘i’ and then hit the arrow to proceed. Or immerse in the full screen (FS) and fill your eyes with the past.

I hope you enjoy it.


The historic monuments and art that inspired THE RED RIBBON

[img src=]Bacchus Mosaic, Complutum
Most cities in THE RED RIBBON were founded in Roman times. You can find this mosaic in the regional museum of Alcala de Henares, old Complutum.
[img src=]Towers, Alcazar of Sigüenza
Formerly a Moorish fortress, the alcazar (fortress) of Sigüenza, is in Castile. Sigüenza is the homeplace of Iñigo Herrera de Tierzo, the protagonist of THE RED RIBBON. The alcazar became the residence of the bishops and lords of the city. It is now a parador where you can eat some pretty good lentils.
[img src=]Martín Vázquez de Arce, Knight of Santiago
This alabaster sarcophagus, arguably the greatest sample of funerary art of the Spanish Gothic, is in the cathedral of Siguenza. Martín (1460-1486) is one of the historical characters in THE RED RIBBON; he is Iñigo's best friend.
[img src=]Tower of the Most Holy, Cathedral, Sigüenza
One of the three towers of the city's fortress-cathedral, seen from the present day City Hall.
[img src=]Cypresses in Garden, Sigüenza
I snapped this photo as I walked by one foggy morning, almost expecting the señor to emerge from the house wearing a houppelande and chaperon.
[img src=]Countryside Gate, Sigüenza
Loved this quaint gate so very much, I had to set a novel scene here. Just had to.
[img src=]Door and Wall, Palace of the Infantado, Guadalajara
The Palace of the Infantado was the manor house of the illustrious Mendozas, an enlightened Castilian family of poets, warriors, and churchmen. Two members of the family appear in the novel.
[img src=]Lion Relief, Palace of the Infantado, Guadalajara
Gorgeous Kitty looks down at the palace's main court, called 'of lions and griffins.' In this palace, Iñigo learns Martín's great secret.
[img src=]Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, Soldier, Renaissance Man
Don Pedro's statue is in front of the facade of the Palace of the Infantado. It portrays him in a very conventional manner as a clergyman. Conventional he was not.
[img src=]Pitcher and Tray, Sephardic Museum, Toledo
The tray's inscription refers to its owner: "El canonigo / Pº San / Chez / deLvnar," a canon (priest). The seals tells us that the canon worked for the Inquisition. 16th century.
[img src=]Isabel of Castile, Toledo
A woman of vision and power, a great queen, but not for all her subjects. She figures prominently in THE RED RIBBON.
[img src=]Entrance to Minor Colleges, University of Salamanca
Third oldest in Europe, the university of Salamanca was founded in 1134 by Alfonso X, king of Castile. In Spain we call him The Wise for good reason.
[img src=]Cloister, San Juan de los Reyes, Toledo
A marvel of Gothic art. The monastery of San Juan de los Reyes was conceived originally as the burial place for Isabel and Fernando, the so-called Catholic monarchs. It was not to be. They are buried in Granada.
[img src=]Hejal Wall, Samuel Ha-Levi Synagogue, Toledo
The Hejal wall of a synagogue contains the sanctuary (hejal) where the Torah scrolls are kept and is orientated toward Jerusalem. The synagogue of Samuel Ha-Levi (also called of El Transito) is adjacent to the Sephardic Museum.
[img src=]By the Wall (Junto al Muro), Sephardic Museum, Toledo
This charming ceramic ensemble of a man at prayer strikes me as timeless. He is wearing a kippah and leans on a cube with a six-pointed star representing the Wailing Wall. <br />The earliest Jewish communities in Spain date back to the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem, in 70 A. D. <br />(Elias Nir Shalom, Madrid, 1926).
[img src=]Ibn Shushan Synagogue (Santa Maria la Blanca) Toledo
Built by Moorish architects under King Alfonso VIII of Castile (12th century), this synagogue served the Jewish inhabitants of Toledo until the 15th century. An architectural detail shown in the photograph figures prominently in the novel.
[img src=]Pectoral and Rimonims, Sephardic Museum, Toledo
The legacy endures. <br />Pectoral (left) worn by Sephardic brides in 20th c. Morocco, <br />Rimonims (right) are bells traditionally placed on the handles of a Torah scroll.
[img src=]Inner Plateau, Spain
THE RED RIBBON is the story of a journey. This is a landscape of the Castilian meseta, the inner plateau. (Province of Madrid)
[img src=]Cathedral, Cordoba
In Spain, most buildings have layers. In this case, the cathedral of Cordoba was once a visigothic basilica dedicated to Saint Vincent (you can still see the mosaic floor of the ancient structure). After the Moorish invasion, it became the grand mosque of the city. It is now its idiosyncratic cathedral.
[img src=]Portico of the Courtyard of Lions, Alhambra
The Romans who couldn't ignore a good hill built a fortress here. But it was the emir Mohammad ben Alhmar (mid 13th century) who built the palace and walls.
[img src=]Door, Lock, and Tiled Wall, Palace of the Alhambra, Granada
The Alhambra palaces are filled with beauty and poetry.
[img src=]Double Plasterwork Archway, Palace of the Alhambra, Granada
If you've never been to the Alhambra, you are missing out on one of the most sublimely beautiful architectural jewels of all time.


© Adelaida Lucena de Lower 2012

© Mariano Roa Priego 2012

For more views of the tomb of Martín Vázquez de Arce and of the cathedral of Siguenza, visit Mariano Roa Priego‘s great albums.

About Adelaida

Adelaida Lucena de Lower is a writer and avid reader. She has just finished THE RED RIBBON, a novel about prejudice and love set in 15th century Spain. She is writing and researching the next. Think Moorish invasion, Goths, treason, mayhem, and brother against sister.