Thursday, June 14, 2012

Granada - the magnificence of the Alhambra

We came to Granada for one reason only – to see the magnificent architecture of the Alhambra.

The Alhambra started off as a military area but, over time, became the residence of royalty and of the court of Granada in the middle of the thirteenth century. Construction of the palace started under the Nasrids in the late thirteenth century. It soon became an "alcazaba" (fortress), an "alcázar" (palace) and a small "medina" (city), all in one.

The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means "red or crimson castle”.

The architecture is simply stunning (there’s no other way to describe it) – it reflects the typical Moorish architecture of the times: domes, arches, beautifully decorated walls, tranquil gardens with water features, citrus & palm trees. Places of quiet reflection & stunning beauty.

In 1492, the Christian armies under the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabel) retook Granada & Alhambra became a Christian palace.

The Christians then took to renovating the palace: the Charles V Palace being an example of some of the work done.  

During the 18th century and part of the 19th, the Alhambra fell into considerable neglect which continued until 1870, when it was declared a national monument.

Steps were then taken to restore the palace to its former glory & they’ve done a fantastic job.

It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

I won’t go on about the architecture anymore. I’ll simply let the photos tell the story.

Enjoying the view over a coffee

The gardens of the Generalife


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