Granada Travel Blog› entry 4 of 14 › view all entries
April 18th, 2009 – by: edsander
Today's main attraction was the Alhambra, according to many the most amazing structure in Spain. We first had a cup of coffee at Plaza Neuva before climbing La Sabika hill on which the palaces and fortress were build. A steep climb of roughly a mile to the ticket office where I could print the tickets I had bought through the Internet at one of the vending machines.
Granada used to be the stronghold of the Muslims, who first settled in the Albayzin at the start of the 8th century. When other Muslim strongholds like Cordoba and Sevilla fell to the Christians in the mid 13th century they fled to Granada.
As mentioned the Alhambra (derived from the Arabic for 'red castle') has four sections. The oldest part is the Alcazaba, of which we'd seen the outside walls from the Albayzin below yesterday.
Close to the Alcazaba lies the newest section of the Alhambra, open to the public without a ticket and having as main buildings the mentioned St. Anna church and Palace of Carlos V. The latter was a strangely shaped square building with outer walls like those of a padded cell and a circular inner courtyard surrounded by columns. The third part, the Palacio Nazariesc are indeed the highlight of the Alhambra. There's too many courtyards, rooms and gardens to mention here, suffice it to say that some of the highlights were the Comares with it's beautiful rectangular pool, the amazingly carved wooden ceilings and tiled stone ceilings and the peaceful square garden with fountain of the Lindaraja.
Some of the rooms reminded me of the Muslim architecture I'd seen in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra in Nothern India last December. And to be percfectly honest, although the Palace of the Nesrids is amazing in its own right and it might be rightfully called the most beautiful Muslim building in Europe, it doesn't really come close to the splendour of world wonders like the Taj Mahal. I'm afraid my travels are beginning to spoil me ....
The final part of the Alhambra is the peaceful Generalife ('Architect's Garden') that lies to the east of the main fortress. It's a collection of gardens, tree-lined lanes, pools, fountains and the Muslim ruler's summer palace that just oozed a romantic atmosphere.
After visiting all of these four sections we left the Alhambra to return to Plaza Neuva for a beer and boccadillo (sandwich), after which mom and dad returned to the hotel for some rest. Mark and I made it a 'noche des hermanos' (brother's evening), starting in the sheesha bar I visited yesterday for a mint and apple sheesha and some mint tea and ending at the Lonely Planet-recommended Cunini restaurant for a delicious grilled salmon. We ended our Granada adventure with some more Licor 43 in our hotel room. Tomorrow we would move on to the north-west towards Cordoba.
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