We barely had time to do laundry from our Portugal trip when we were on the road again to see Granada. It’s only a 90 minute drive, but we made it into a weekend.
Alhambra has a bit of a checkered history. Alhambra.org tells us: Originally designed as a military area, the Alhambra became the residence of royalty and of the court of Granada in the middle of the thirteenth century, after the establishment of the Nasrid kingdom and the construction of the first palace. Throughout the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the fortress became a citadel with high ramparts and defensive towers, which house two main areas: the military area, the barracks of the royal guard, and the court city, the location of the famous Nasrid Palaces and the remains of the houses of noblemen and plebeians who lived there. The Charles V Palace (which was built after the city was taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492) is also in the court city. The complex of monuments also has an independent palace opposite the Alhambra, surrounded by orchards and gardens, which was where the Granadine kings relaxed: the Generalife.
The summary of the history is something like: “First these guys came and built stuff, then these other guys came and built a bunch of other stuff, then they found some ruins of guys who were here before everyone, and oh, here’s a garden!”. While viewing it we found it rather complicated. Who built this part? What was it for? We were wishing for some kind of color coding system or something! We had an audio guide with over 70 different audio snippets about different places within Alhambra. We were enthusiastic about those snippets in the beginning but by #40 we were suffering from information overload. The hotel that sits smack in the middle of Alhambra looked pretty enticing by hour 3, and I can see how people spend days wandering around.
Haley was our family photographer while at Alhambra so she took all these photos. They are in no particular order and I can’t begin to explain everything in them, but perhaps you can simply enjoy the visuals and my meager captions.
Alhambra was so much more than these pictures can convey, but to really understand it and appreciate it you’d really have to study it and let it sink in. There is a whole mathematical element not only to the the structure of the buildings but also to the tile patterns on the wall. You can read more about that here but the best thing to do is to go and see it for yourself. If you go, I know of a great hotel where you should stay.