Saturday, December 7, 2013


Some say that Granada is a one note wonder, and that note is the Alhambra.  I would disagree, but not vigorously.  You might be able to fill up two or three days of sightseeing, depending on how much time you like to spend touring around each day.  My limit is about 6 hours.

If you have only one day in Granada, you could easily spend that time wandering around the palace and fortress complex of Alhambra, truly a wonderous place to see (chalk me up another UNESCO World Heritage Site).  This area of Spain is so very interesting with its Arabo-Islamic and European roots all tangled up together.  Just like the Mezquita in Cordoba, the Alhambra preserves both periods of this area's history.

Inside the walls of Alhambra is a complex of palaces that represent the Arabo-Islamic period, the Nasrid Palaces, and this was my first stop.  I had missed my first reservation because I was sick, so my only choice for another day was to begin my tour at 9 a,m. This is not the time I would have preferred, but entrance to this particular palace complex is controlled.  This palace is not heated, and it wasn't long before I had popsicle fingers and toes.

The facades inside the palace courtyards are representative of Islamic architecture with its geometric and plant shapes, and often there is a written message or poem incorporated in the design.

There were multiple courtyards inside.

There were no furnishings, but I was enchanted with the domes and ceilings.

And the arches were spectacular.

The last Sultan of Granada, Yusuf I, could scan the mountains and plains of the surrounding countryside from this lofty perch.

The views of the city from Alhambra are pretty spectacular even in these modern times.

And the Sierra Nevada mountain range with its snow capped peaks offers a beautiful perspective.

After the Reconquista, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, built a palace here in the early 1500’s.

The remains of the alcazar, or citadel, include the watchtowers and ruins of the dwellings inside its walls.

Another palace in the complex, Generalife, offered more beautiful courtyards and gardens.

There were also wonderful views of the alcazar and Granada from this palace.

One walkway in the complex was lined in sculpted evergreens with arched cutouts that provided some unique photo ops.

There was a small art museum and an archeological museum, both of which I visited, and this famous Alhambra vase.

I ran out of energy before seeing everything within the walls of this fascinating place.  It may be the one note that makes Granada a symphony not to be missed.

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