The Alhambra Palace, Granada

Within Andalucía, our neighbouring province is Granada, meaning that we only live about a 90 minute drive from Granada,  one of Spain’s most beautiful cities.  Granada offers great architecture, wonderful views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere.  The city is well worth of a few days of anyone´s time.

Snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada - even in July

What I want to tell you about in this post, is the amazing 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.

Alhambra from San Nicolas

After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was “re-discovered” in the 19th century by European scholars and travellers, when restorations commenced.  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.

Generalife Gardens, Alhambra Palace, Granada

During our visit last summer, we 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!)

Generalife Gardens, Alhambra Palace

Within the Alhambra Palace, Granada

The decorations within the palaces typify the remains of Moorish dominion within Spain, which ushered in the last great period of Andalusian art in Granada.  Take a look at the stunning Islamic arches in the photos.

Islamic arches in the Alhambra Palace, Granada

Stunning arches in the Alhambra Palace, Granada

The Alhambra resembles many medieval Christian strongholds in its threefold arrangement as a castle, a palace and a residential annex for subordinates, with the  alcazaba being its oldest part.  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 of Granada.

Old city walls, Granada

Granada city viewed from the Alhambra Palace

Whilst you´re here, why not have a look at:

Venturing further afield: A long weekend in Zaragoza

The Buddhist Stupa of the Eastern Costa del Sol

A Weekend Away: Santiago de Compostela