History of language is often history of botanical discoveries, history of botanical discoveries is often history of culture. This is exactly what I took this picture in Granada for. Peppers -often hot fruit of the plant genus Capsicum, have the same name as pepper, from family Piperaceae, one of the spices mostly used. Pepper (spice) has been extremely valued since ancient times, those who were able to import pepper from India made fortune.
At that time Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon was built on 5% taxation of pepper trade in Portugal, holding main importing sea routes to India . No doubt Christopher Columbus was happy discovering ” India” and spicy plant from genus Capsicum he wrongly named pepper, in false belief it was a relative of pepper, the spice. Spain was the first European country to welcome peppers and peppers remained till today popular element in Spanish cuisine. The wrong name ”peppers” is still in use.
But,all together, look again at the Granada balcony with peppers and you might see Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabela I of Castille conquering Granada from Muslims and Cristobal Colon asking them to support his journey at the same time! Luckily enough, financially broken Spanish monarchs made some shifts among different royal accounts to support Christobal Colon searching better connections with India , mainly for spice trade.Can you see Christobal presenting peppers to Isabella?
Or have another look to see Christobal from next street inviting his friends for some traditional Spanish dishes with peppers he had dried on his balcony!
”Life is good !” was all I was saying to myself at mornings of last week. Where the slope of the narrow street from Albaicin starts to show you blue blue sky behind the opuntias of Monte Croce, where white painted narrow houses open their windows to mirror Alhambra and where a small dog climbed a roof to see visitors better, there are big ornamental black iron doors. Each morning, for almost a week, I rang the bell at these doors. Working with colleagues on two different projects we met in Granada this time and behind these black doors , at University of Granada’s Carmen de la Victoria, was where we worked each day.
Carmen de la Victoria doesn’t mean victorious lady Carmen as one could wrongly assume, but means Victoria’s house. Only in Granada CARMEN means a house with a garden. Carmens are typical for Albaicin district of Granada, where Arabs had set first gardens around the houses, behind the walls, in medieval times. Now these gardens are being reconstructed, they are traditionally gardens with many smaller terraces, with different water motifs, with various decorative elements, with palms and oranges, mirth, pomegranates and apricots, one of best valued elements is view of Alhambra. Carmen de la Victoria garden is Eden of its own, sweet smell of unknown flowers embraces visitors and reminds them of times past centuries ago, Alhambra at the other hill seems as a picture inviting the guests to step into the book of Arab legends….. where each morning a lady rings a door bell to enter the pitoresque garden……