Friday, January 27, 2017

Alhambra of Granada

Our second day in Granada, we had morning tickets to tour the Alhambra.  We took the bus up the hill to the complex. 

Alhambra was given that name for the colors of it's walls, for in Arabic it translates to "red castle" or "red one."  The original palace and fortress was built in 889 AD, and then actually ignored until the mid-13th century when a Moorish emir renovated and rebuilt it.  Over the centuries, different rulers and religious groups controlled Granada, and also Alhambra, making changes and updates along the way.  Today, it has been "respectfully and greatly restored" and has hundreds of visitors a day.  

The intricate carvings, tile work and scripts all over the buildings was just unbelievable.  The photos absolutely don't do it justice, but we'll try anyway... 

The Court of the Myrtles

"Muslims avoid making images of living creatures — that's God's work. But Arabic calligraphy, mostly poems and verses of praise from the Qur'an, is everywhere. One phrase — "only God is victorious" — is repeated 9,000 times throughout the Alhambra."

You wander from room to room, building to building, courtyard to courtyard.  The views out to the town of Granada are just beautiful. 

The Patio of the Lions

Don't let some of the photos without too many tourists fool was pretty crowded.  I can only imagine how full it gets in the afternoons, and in the summer.  There were lots of tour groups. 

Lovely back lit selfie! 

In the photo below, towards the bottom...the yellow and orange building across from what looks like a park...that's where the night photo from the previous Granada post was taken. 

As I mentioned, we were pretty lucky to dodge most of the tourists...but there certainly were a lot of them...and a lot of selfie sticks...

We also wandered over the Generalife area of the complex and enjoyed the beautiful gardens and views.  This is where the 'summer palace' is located...just a few steps away!

As we were walking around, we happened upon the Catholic cathedral that is in the middle of so many Muslim inspired buildings.  It is St. Mary Church, and was completed in the 17th century on the site of the Alhambra Great Mosque.  

The Palace of Charles V was never fully completed...

And is open in the center - totally unexpected! 

The last bit of the Alhambra that was visited was the barracks ruins and the Torre de la Vela, or watch tower of the Alhambra.  What a stunning view from the top!

We are so glad we decided (kinda last minute) to add Granada to the front of our trip, specifically for the Alhambra visit.  It's certainly something to see in this world, so if you get a chance, put it on your list. 

And I'll leave you with a final photo of just one of the photo-crazed Asian tour groups that we encountered... 

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