Washington Irving was a famous writer, to whom Granada owes all of the love he left behind when he visited the wonder that is the Alhambra. He described each and every corner of the Alhambra and every part of Granada as magical, and later shared it in his book, Tales of the Alhambra. This famous American owes his name to his parents, who chose it in honour of the first president of the United States, George Washington.
Washinton Irving’s literaty career
Today’s author started his writing career just like many other American authors from this period; writing newspaper articles and short stories. However, as a lover of literature, he persisted in his work until he achieved famous works of art such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle or the famous Tales of the Alhambra.
Washinton Irving in Granada
During his time in Granada, Washington Irving spent most of his stay in the Alhambra, captivated by its charm and the magic of its patios and fountains. He decided to use the Alhambra as the magical setting for his stories and legends.
The room in which our famous writer stayed is also known as El Prado, close to the Hall of the Two Sisters. In memory of W. Irving, a commemorative plaque has been placed in this room for all visitors to see.
The plaque is not the only memory that keeps this romantics spirit alive. If we wander around The Alhambra Forest, we can find a 2-metre-high statue of the author himself.
What is more, at the foot of the Alhambra there is a hotel named after him. It was closed for many years, but it has now reopened to the public after its closure in 1999. It has been renovated and is both themed and inspired by his famous work, Tales of the Alhambra.
Prince Dolgoroukov or Dolgorouki
The Russian prince who discovered the Alhambra alongside Irving. In the few days that they were in the monument itself, Dolgoroukov discovered graffiti throughout the area and decided to do something about it. In order for the building to be better maintained and to find a way for Alhambra visitors to be able to leave their mark without damaging the Alhambra itself, the prince donated the first signature book. This was the first of 12 and it had 700 pages, full of drawings and even poems, including the poem written by Zorrilla, which he later published.
Although Dolgoroukov was with Irving in the Alhambra, the diplomatic relationships with Russia weakened, whilst the relationships with the United States strengthened. This meant that the prince took a back seat and is not so well-known today. Now, businessmen from the tourism sector and a circle of Granadian poets are trying to bring it back from the forgotten, with the final task of installing a plaque in homage.