A Pleasure Palace and a Clock

Just outside Toledo, near the river before it flows around the city, there is a small, delicate palace built by a Moorish king or governor in the eighth century.

He built it for his daughter, the Princess Galiana.
Its flowered gardens and walks with splashing fountains were as heavenly beautiful as only an Arab king could make them. There the princess strolled while young nobles, both Christian and Moorish, fought for her love.

When the Christian king Alfonso VI conquered Toledo three hundred years later, the soldiers who found the palace were awestruck by its beauty and elegance. There was nothing like it in all Christendom. Inside they found strange instruments, astrolabes and compasses, in gold and silver.

And an ingenious water clock (clepsydra).


The king ordered his philosopher-scientists to take it apart and discover its secret mechanism. They carefully dismantled the clock but were not able to understand how it worked.
And, what is worse, they couldn’t put it back together again.
Its creator, a sly Merlin, knew very well how to lock up his secret.

Perhaps his clepsydra worked something like this one:




This entry was posted in archaeology, history, Spain, Toledo and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Pleasure Palace and a Clock

  1. Galiana says:

    I want to learn more information about the princess Galiana.

  2. Galiana says:

    I love like the information.

  3. Pingback: Take Me to Toledo « Great Names in History

  4. wpm1955 says:

    Oh, I felt distressed myself upon reading they could not put the clock back together. You always share such interesting tidbits with you in your blogs!

    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

  5. 100swallows says:

    Unless the city of Toledo has decided recently to restore it (which is not impossible, what with the new EU funds), Galiana’s palace is closed. For years it has not been part of the tour of Toledo. A gate keeps you rather far away but through the pretty Moorish arches of the old brick structure you can see an abandoned garden—overgrown box hedges, orange trees, and so on.

  6. chump says:

    Such a tease…Does this 8c. palace have a name? Is it extant? Can it be visited?

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