Granada: Day 2

On Wednesday, November 2 we again strolled up the hill to the Alhambra, this time for the fully sanctioned experience. The Alhambra is a huge complex of buildings and gardens. The main features are the Alcazaba fortress, the Nazaríes Palace, the Charles V Palace, the Partal Gardens and the Generalife Gardens (that last one is pronounced heh-neh-raw-LEE-fay). You could write an entire book on this place, and many people have. Let’s just say that it was an overwhelming tour de force of artistic decoration and architectural mastery—sort of like Seville’s Alcázar on steroids. Unfortunately, both of our cameras failed to charge properly the previous evening, so we got only a few photos before they stopped working.

Entering the Alhambra through the Justice Gate
Entering the Alhambra through the Justice Gate
The Alcazaba (fortress) tower
The Alcazaba (fortress) tower

Looking down from the walls of the Alcazaba, you can see the rooftops and courtyards of the buildings below. We read somewhere that M.C. Escher drew inspiration from these views for some of his fanciful graphics.

Rooftops below the Alcazaba
Rooftops below the Alcazaba

The Alhambra was once a thriving city of over 1000 people. There are many foundations remaining from what were once the city’s structures. The Alhambra is an important archaeological site.

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Foundation walls at the Alcazaba

The Nazaríes Palace is the most impressive part of the Alhambra. Up until the late 15th century, it served as the royal palace for the Moorish rulers of southern Spain.

Arched doorway in the Nazaries Palace
Arched doorway in the Nazaries Palace
Ornate domed ceiling
Ornate domed ceiling
Courtyard of the Lions
Courtyard of the Lions
Reflecting pool
Reflecting pool

Inside the Nazaríes Palace, much of the decoration is molded into plaster on the walls. The decorations are intricate geometrical patterns and verses from the Koran in Arabic script.

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Plasterwork details in the Nazaríes palace
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Plasterwork details in the Nazaríes palace
Windows at the Nazaríes Palace
Windows at the Nazaríes Palace

The Generalife Palace and Gardens are later additions, just outside the Alhambra walls.

Generalife Palace fountains
Generalife Palace fountains

On Wednesday we also looked at the Granada Cathedral, the second largest in Spain after Seville’s. Unfortunately, the camera problems kept us from taking pictures of the interior. Too bad, because we found it to be the most beautiful of the cathedrals due to its perfect balance of space, light, and decoration.

Granada Catherdral
Granada Cathedral

Outside of the cathedral, we encountered these two old gentlemen performing the theme from the movie The Godfather.

Street musicians outside of the Grenada Cathedral
Street musicians outside of the Granada Cathedral
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