Granada and Alhambra

Alhambra, the exquisite mostly Moorish fort that overlooks Granada... sounds exotic, doesn't it? Alhambra. Like the casbah. They beckon by name alone.

Built on an old Roman foundation in the 14th century and decorated with impeccable Arabesque motifs, it was augmented with the addition of a splendid Renaissance palace by Spain's reconquering catholic King Charles V. In 1492 it became the official court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and it was here that they underwrote Christopher Columbus' voyage that ultimately led him to North America.

It is a fort, a palace, a summer palace, and gardens and is to be seen to be believed. We have seen the magnificent Taj Mahal, and Alhambra tops it. 

It sits atop a hill, above Granada, and facing the Albaycin, the ancient Moorish part of the city, which offers superb views of Alhambra, which it faces across a valley:

View of Alhambra from down in the valley, the old town of Granada. 

We arrived in Granada late afternoon on a Sunday, armed with Alhambra tickets that allowed entrance to the "good stuff" at 2pm. (Ticketed visitors are allowed into the main buildings at :30-minute intervals). However Charles' Palace is free to all, so we went in ahead of our scheduled time. The interior of the rectangular palace has a circular courtyard: 

Now in the ticketed portion of the visit. View of Palazio Nazaries, the Emir's private quarters, from the Patio de los Arrayanes:

View from the Nazaries:

Sam view from within the Nazaries:

A 20-minute walk through gorgeous gardens (the Generalife) brings you to the Emir's summer palace:

View of the Albaycin from Alhambra

To get to Alhambra you walk, taxi or bus up a hill. We walked and after about 15 minutes entered through the lower of two entrances- clearly the less-used one. (Tickets are taken deeper in the complex.) As we left around 6pm it was so deserted that Susan had some fun with the door: 

A few random pics:

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