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Tucked away on the crest of the Al-Sabika Hill in Granada of Andalusia, Spain, just left of the babbling stream of the Darro River, sits a majestic structure overlooking the charming city and mystical meadows of La Vega. This palatial fortress and the fabled Alhambra are one and the same. To those who have seen it in its full glory, this was heaven on earth itself. Many were quick to fall under the spell of its breathtaking beauty, with its admirers lovingly dubbing it "a pearl set in emeralds".

At one point in time, this place had been decked out with a network of captivating castles, heavenly homes and gorgeous gardens, and a handsome military fortress envied by the city's neighboring kingdoms. This was none other than Alhambra, once so enchanting that a countless number of those who visited the place in its heyday praised it as a true paradise on earth. Today, this historic complex has become the setting and inspiration for a host of books, music, movies, and other works of art and literature, such as Washington Irving's Tales of Alhambra, and Marcel L'Herbier's cinematic masterpiece, El Dorado. A main asteroid belt has even been named after the legendary place.

The exquisite work of art continues to be beloved, so much so that a campaign in 2007 attracted an estimated 5,000 hopefuls to the site. There, the thousands laced their fingers together and formed a ring around the spectacular fortress stretching 1.5 miles long, in hopes of cementing the landmark's place among the New Seven Wonders of the World. Astounding aesthetics aside, the rich tapestry of history that unfolded within the walls of the centuries-old palatial paradise is truly what makes Alhambra one of the classic, timeless gems in all of Europe.

©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

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