Within Andalucía, our neighbouring province is Granada, meaning that we only live about a 90 minute drive from the Granada, one of Spain’s most beautiful cities. Granada offers great architecture, wonderful views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere. One of my girlfriends Roxanne, who lives in Calgary, Canada (and who I first met in Sydney, Australia over two years ago) was coming to stay for a few days, so it was time for a girls´ weekend away!
Our main focus was to be the Alhambra Palace, constructed during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of the Emirate of Granada in al-Andalus, and occupying the top of the hill of the Assabica, on the south-eastern border of the city of Granada.
After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was “re-discovered” in the 19th century by European scholars and travellers, with restorations commencing. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. As you might expect, the Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We had opted for early morning entry into the Alhambra, to escape the fierce heat of the coming day, so it made sense to start off outside in the beautiful Generalife Gardens (the name is pronounced heneraliffi, and definitely not general life!).
The decorations within the palaces typified the remains of Moorish dominion within Spain and ushered in the last great period of Andalusian art in Granada. Take a look at the stunning Islamic arches in the photos.
The Alhambra resembles many medieval Christian strongholds in its threefold arrangement as a castle, a palace and a residential annex for subordinates.
The alcazaba or citadel, its oldest part, is built on the isolated and precipitous foreland which terminates the plateau on the northwest. Only the massive outer walls, towers and ramparts are left. We climbed the watchtower of the Alcazaba, the Torre de la Vela, 25 m (85 ft) high, for magnificent views over the city, including the old fortified walls of the city.