Sunday, 6 October 2013

GRANADA and the ALHAMBRA City-Palace

Granada Coat of Arms and Flag

Granada is the capital of the province Granada and has some 470.000 inhabitants. Granada hosts historical sites like the Alhambra city-palace and is only 30 minutes from Sierra Nevada, Hoya de la Mora Ski-centre with snow conditions from October to May. Like many other regions Granada is influenced by ancient civilisations like the Phoenicians, Greek, Punic, Roman and Visigoths. Iberians inhabited this region at least from the 8th century B.C. In 711 the Moors took large parts of the Iberian Peninsula and established Al-Andalus. After a 800 year rule under the muslims the Spaniards reconquered their territory in the 15th century. With no major internal territorial conflicts the country could then embarked on a new phase of global exploration and colonisation including Columbus's expedition to the New World. (Wikipedia).

Road from downtown Granada to Alhambra City-Palace

Downtown Granada in the evening

with nice restaurant areas

A detail from the Cathedral of Granada

There are plenty of small shops in the city centre

The main attraction we wanted to see this time was the Alhambra Palace-City before we moved to Sierra Nevada. Alhambra was built in the 13th century by the Nasrid dynasty. In 1492 the muslims turned over the Alhambra of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs. It then became "The New Royal Palace" and Emperor Charles V decided to build a grand imperial palace there as a sign of supremacy and indication of being the greatest defender of the Christian World (Alhambra Official Guide). After this Alhambra has seen many rulers, like Napoleon, come and go. Times where particularly difficult in the late 18th and early19th century when Alhambra was "taken over by a large number of unworthy and self-interested individuals who used it for their own purposes". It is only in 1917 that detailed plans where drawn for the restoration of Alhambara was done and only in the 60's when it was prepared for the increase in tourism. Alhambra is a World Heritage site since 1984.

Alhambra Nasrid Palaces

Alhambra is  much more than the Nasrid Palaces. The Generalife is within its grounds and forms a pleasure palace with romantic gardens and the Alcazaba is a defensive fortress. We had time for some exotic pictures before we left. One word of WARNING. If you go to Granada by car be mindful of the difficult traffic conditions that get only worse when all 80.000 students start their work in the autumn. Our best guess is that no matter how careful you are the visit will cost you at least one knock on the car. We know from experience. Taking the train or bus are therefore good alternatives. You can continue by bus to Sierra Nevada, which is our next destination.

The Generalife area

The Gardens

Mrs. T. I presume?

Alhambra - a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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