Granada

Granada Travel Blog

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Alcazaba, Alhambra, Granada.
Yesterday had lasted a bit longer than planned since we had more than one glass of Licor 43 while discussing song lyrics until half past 1. Regardless of this we had some good sleep and arrived at breakfast at 9 AM reasonably well-rested. Since mom and dad wanted to see the big shopping mall Mark and I had been to yesterday we took them there as today's first activity. A good thing since I now spotted the bottles of Drambuie with special promotional glass. This holiday just keeps getting better. ;-)

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.
Alcazaba, Alhambra, Granada.
A lot of confusion followed since the Alhambra consists of 4 sections and the instructions in guide books and local staff on when to be where were contradicting and confusing. We eventually figured out that we had to visit the Palacio Nazaries (Nasrid Palaces) at exactly 14:00 hours. Every ticket had a time slot in which to visit this part of the Alhambra to avoid overcrowding of this supposed highlight. Outside that timeslot you were free to visit the other sections. The way this was communicated was far from effective and we obviously weren't the only ones who hadn't figured out the puzzle judging from the looks on many faces around us.

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.
View on Plaza de los Triestos & Albyzin from the Alcazaba.
The 'Nesrid' emirs ruled from Granada for another 250 years, making the city one of the richest places in medieval Europe. At the end of the 15th century the Muslims were divided by rivalry amongst rulers, enabling the Christians to take over. The Christian rulers settled in the big Alhambra fortress and tore down parts of it to build their own buildings, like the Palacio de Carlos V and the Iglesia (church) de Santa Maria (replacing the original mosque). Granada eventually sank into a decline but revived thanks to the Romantic movement in the 19th and tourism in the 20th century. Restoring the Alhambra was triggered by these developments.

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.
View on the cathedral of Granada from the Alcazaba.
This fortress was build in the 9th century and the ramparts and towers offered excellent views of the Albayzin we had visited yesterday, the Cathedral and the rest of Granada, as well as the snowcapped mountains of the Sierra Nevada in the east.

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.
The Sierra Nevada.
Unfortunately the main lion fountain of the palace was missing since it was undergoing restoration.
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.
Palacio de Carlos V (outside), Alhambra, Granada


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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Alcazaba, Alhambra, Granada.
Alcazaba, Alhambra, Granada.
Alcazaba, Alhambra, Granada.
Alcazaba, Alhambra, Granada.
View on Plaza de los Triestos & Al…
View on Plaza de los Triestos & A…
View on the cathedral of Granada f…
View on the cathedral of Granada …
The Sierra Nevada.
The Sierra Nevada.
Palacio de Carlos V (outside), Alh…
Palacio de Carlos V (outside), Al…
Palacio de Carlos V (inside), Alha…
Palacio de Carlos V (inside), Alh…
Alhambra, Granada.
Alhambra, Granada.
As always, absorbed in the Lonely …
As always, absorbed in the Lonely…
Comares, Palacio Nazaries, Alhambr…
Comares, Palacio Nazaries, Alhamb…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Granad…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Grana…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Granad…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Grana…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Granad…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Grana…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Granad…
Palacio Nazaries, Alhambra, Grana…
The Alhambra, viewed from the Gene…
The Alhambra, viewed from the Gen…
Generalife, Alhambra, Granada.
Generalife, Alhambra, Granada.
Mas gattos de Granada !
Mas gattos de Granada !
Busted !
Busted !
Granada
photo by: Chokk