Behind The City Walls

249 Behind The City Walls_1Walled cities are the places where lots of cities started from. They were built mainly on hills. Life flourished behind the city walls and they were symbols of power and might.

Later on the cities grew and enlarged and social life stretched beyond the city walls but the latter remained the safe bastion of rulers and kings. The examples are too many so I will focus on some of them only.

249 Behind The City Walls_2Granada: The Alhambra has a Moorish name coming from Al-Ḥamrā which is literally translated as the Red One. It stemmed from a small fort erected in 889 which was renovated and rebuilt later, in the 11th century. Two centuries later it turned into a royal palace of Granada and today’s walls and palace are namely from that period of time. Even Puerta de la Justicia (the Tower of Justice) is from the 13th century and is the original entrance gate of the Red Castle. The Hand of Fatima carved on the gate is with outstretched fingers and protects visitors from evil eyes while a carved key welcomes them and symbolizes authority (by the way, the same symbol is widely spread out inside the whole castle, too).

249 Behind The City Walls_4Corfu: The two “korifi” (which means “a peak” in ancient Greek) on the Island of Corfu house the two Venetian fortresses. The Old one was built in the 6th century AD after the ancient city of Korkyra had been destroyed and locals were forced to leave it and to settle down on the hills. Later the Byzantines fortified it and then, in the 15th century, the Venetians replaced the older fortification building and equipped it with bastions, tunnels and winding galleries, the central gate and the two awesome ramparts which were named after the two Italian engineers Martinengo and Savorgnan. Crossing the 60-metre bridge connecting the fortress with the Esplanade (or Spianada) Square one can have a nice stroll among the tourist sites of interest (like the 1840 British Church “St. George”, the Temple from Roman times, the prison as well the British hospital and barracks) inside the fortress as well as take panoramic photos of the city of Kèrkyra and the sea.

249 Behind The City Walls_3Rhodes: While wandering along the tiny, cobbled streets of the Old Town of Rhodes one feels like being in the medieval times within the castle walls. Walking along the Street of the Knights a real traveller with an imagination at work could imagine being surrounded by the Knights themselves and even could imagine himself being one of them walking along the street to the “Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes” where his horse (nowadays 4×4 😉 ) is waiting for him. While passing by it one immediately dives into other epochs by seeing a Christian Church turned into a mosque with a minare on the roof. Going outside modern Rhodes greets visitors with all of its cafes and pretty tavernas, shopping areas and small souvenir kiosks and numerous state-of-the-art hotels.

249 Behind The City Walls_5Dubrovik: I will end up that post with Dubrovnik which is still known as Ragusa in Italian (not to be mistaken with the town of Ragusa in Sicily). Nowadays lots of places outside Venice (along the Croatian Adriatic coast, to the South the Ionian island group or in the Aegean Sea) have the typical atmosphere of the most romantic city in the world – Venice, and the city of Dubrovnik is among them. A wall of about 100 metres encompasses the Old town of Dubrovnik. The coastal city offers breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea as well as much history hidden in the towers and fortresses within the walls. Unfortunately, the town was demolished in an earthquake in 1667 and later it was reconstructed by Italian architects.

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  1. Pingback: Along the River Arno | Smile...Laugh...Travel...Love...Be yourself...Enjoy Life

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