• Day230

    Alhambra Palace, Granada

    January 21, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    When Seville and Cordoba fell to the Catholics, five centuries ago, Granada was at its peak and Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Nasr established an independent state there. It is renowned in history as the last stronghold of the Moors in Western Europe and as home to the stunning Alhambra Palace.

    Since it's creation in 889AD, the Alhambra has seen many changes from Muslim palace to a fortress to ruins to UNESCO World Heritage-listed. It sits on a rocky hill overlooking the city of Granada with the high, snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains behind. At the height of summer over 6000 visitors arrive each day and entrance tickets need to be booked months in advance. A sunny day in January was just perfect for our visit and the reception at our campsite were able to arrange entrance tickets with only 24hrs notice.

    The many changes that have taken place over the centuries have all left their own distinct marks on what we see today, with Moorish architecture and a mosque being added onto and replaced with a Christian church and a Renaissance palace.

    Our time was spent walking around in amazement at the beauty of it all. At its peak it must have been stunningly beautiful but even today, though it has been heavily but respectfully restored, we were able to imagine how colourful it would have been with glazed tiles on the lower walls and intricate designs in the stucco work above where you could still see remnants of cobalt blue, green and deep red. The honey-comb vaulted ceilings were so intricate, one embellished with 5000 tiny moulded stalactites which still had traces of blue paint on them. Interior pools, fountains, baths and gardens offered shade and places to relax for the inhabitants of the day.

    In complete contrast is the Palacio de Carlos V next door. His arrival in Granada in 1526 saw the start of an imperial programme of changes in urban planning and building to represent the new Classicism style. The palace was added in 1527 and the ground floor houses the very interesting Alhambra museum with artefacts directly related to the palaces history.

    We ended our visit in the gardens and climbed the towers for magnificent views of the city below. In the opposite direction the sun on the snow-capped mountains behind looked so inviting....time for a ski trip!
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