Granada was the last and most famous muslim kingdom in Spain.
Finally christian kings took Alhambra in 1492 and only buildings are left there on the high hill to remind us from muslim times of Spain.
High on the hill stands palace and alcazaba – muslim fortress. Looking down to old town.
In Cordoba in Calahorra tower there is as great model of Alhambra. There you can see better the actual buildings of palace with one look.
By the way – Alhambra means red castle. This is because it was built from local earth and rocks which look reddish.
City of Granada lies below Alhambra
People down look like ants when watched from towers of Alcazaba. This fortress was invincible. And finally its surrendered for Christians after a long siege.
There are still muslim houses left in old town – and narrow streets. Here is old muslim bathouse. In their roof there were always star-shape openings to give light. Very nice looking!
Land is here very fertile and weather warm. Mountains give water and muslims were resourceful to great irrigating systems. And they brought with them lemon- and orange trees.
Here also flowers are flourishing in many colored shades – here pink. And it is just the beginning of April.
Here a picture of narrow streets of Albayzin – the muslim quarters from old town. One of the power centers of old Granada. And always high up Alhambra remembering where the power laid.
In Albayzin there is also a nice terrace high up, where one can see over Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada backside. Everything in one place! Valleys, fertile lands, mountains, snow, water, warmth, sun – what more man could want?
Picture from Synagoga courtyard in Albayzin. Here everything seem to be now in peace near each others – Christian churchs, synagogas and muslims buildings.
Very nice Granada-type decorations in house of Madraza in city of Granada. Here Nasrid-amirs created a special kind of arhcitecture which can not be found anywhere else.
Same decoration but now as a part of bigger entity of wall.
Muslim type arch as a decoration in Madraza.
More decorations inside house. How brilliant artictic style – I wish we could build something beautiful like this in these days…
Palace of Alhambra – heaven in earth?
Now the journey inside Alhambra walls have started. Alhambra hold it’s kingdom over 200 hundred years longer than any other muslim state in Spain. Partly because their ruling family had a cunning way of negotiate themselves over troubles. Partly because this realm was very difficult to conquer.
As it was a habit in Spain at times of 900-1492 AD there were lot of wars, alliances and agreements between muslims and christians in Al Andalucia – and also with Nothern African berbers. All the time the alliances were changing and sometimes muslim fought together with christians against other muslim states! It was not simply christians against muslims.
Here in pathway to palace.
Behind a flowering three there is an old muslim mosque – now a christian church.
Finally the buildings of palace. They are beautiful in a sensitive and delicate way – they are not aiming to be colossal.
And behind is the muslim alcazaba guarding everything.
And here starts the story of Nasrids amirs – which originally where not that high nobles. But managed to keep their realm alive so long time.
Tourist are visiting buildings in vast amounts and looking decorations with ashtonishment.
Room that was changed little bit by Isabel – queen of new Spain (Castile, Leon and finally Aragon). Delicate decorations in window frames.
Stucco-type decorations made with gypsum mortar? Very very carefully carved.
Very beautiful column detail. The color blue was an important one for Nasrids.
Light was important for giving the palace it’s splendeour. Look wooden roof – fine ornaments.
Very nicely cut wood decorations in roof. Typical of moorish architecture.
Very nice court in middle of the palace buildings. Look the beautiful details in facade.
Corridor in the way to court of Myrtles. How nice decorations are all over the palace buldings in walls and columns. But their creation and maintaining must have cost vast sum of money…
Alhambra palace – court of Myrtles
Was this the paradise – at least for some! But now its lost forever and only memories and some building are left…
Same court but from other direction. Behind one can see the horrible palace building of Carlos V, which he wanted to build in the middle of the Alhambra – and never got it finished.
Very nice decoration of arches in colonnades of court.
This is the special decoration type of Nasrid amirs, which can not be found anywhere else.
On the hall between court of myrtles and lions.
Court of lions in Alhambra
I guess these lions have seen so many people and happenings in years gone by.
Maybe the most beautiful courtyard in Alhambra. Lions are made by several layers – one by one.
This court is full of columns – nice columns – and fountains. Here one feels real peace.
Again these special type decorations on the roof of amir’s hall.
Nice houses – the Partal – when coming out of palace buildings. Once build by another amir.
View from courtyard of Alhambra. In left Albayzin – muslim quarters, defence wall of city and area of gypsies in right.
All the time we are surrounded by high walls and towers of Alhambra – invincible castle.
In background house of “Partal”. One of the nicest views in Alhambra. Nice building with pool on edge of the high hill.
Once here used to be the palace of Yusuf III. Now only foundations left… and nice courtyard.
Building behind is convent of San Francisco. At the time of Nasrids this was part of the palace, with its own mirhab or prayer room. When laying siege over Granada Queen Isabella promised that she would build a shrine inside Alhambra to her beloved Saint Francis. So the monastery was placed in Moorish palace and it became a rest place for Christian monarchs for two decades. One can still see – especially inside – some marks from muslim times.
Here located once the great mosque of Alhambra. When Christian monarchs besieged Granada and took the palace, they turned the mosque into catholic churc – church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra. Not much left from original building…
Landscape here is very fruitful and weather suitable. Monastery of San Francisco behind.
Gardens of Alhambra
Rulers of Granada were worshipping their God in their special way. Therefore sound of water in fountains and beautiful gardens were important. They wanted to purify their soul by meditating life in simple but lovely surroundings.
Here rosegarden on May.
In pathway to Generalife – Private summer palace of Nasrid rulers.
Some people say that Generalife has got it’s name from the fact that it lies on the slopes of the hill – “Hill of the Sun = Cerro del Sol”. Here one can see nicely Alhambra palace on left. In front of below lies city of Alhambra – but Generalife is high on the hill.
Very nice esplanade – kind of colonnade – under trees and roses. Here we are in April – not yet time of roses.
Here is Generalife – Private summer palace of Nasrid rulers. Here they relaxed from conspring athmosphere of palace.
Spring flowers all over the courtyard.
Here the Court of la Acequia. Generalife was built in the 13th century and it was redecorated by the king Abu I-Walid Isma’il (1313-1324).
View from upper parts of palace buildins on the patio where people enter the villa. Orange-trees give nice impression.
View from windows of “Court of la Acequia” towards Alhambra. Earlier time there used to be a bridge over ravine which amir used when traveling from Alhambra to his summer palace. Behind is a fountain once again. The idea of fountains was too cool hot weather at summertime.
Nice wooden decorated door which leads to terrace high up looking over hills of Albayzin.
Very nice detail of column top from summer palace. How beautiful carvings…
There is a three in patio of Cypress of Sultana with story behind it. This famous three – Cypress of the Sultana (Ciprés de la Sultana) – grows now for memory of one of amirs wifes – the guilty one. According to the legend, Boabdil’s wife used to meet a knight of the Abencerrajes family. This triggered the death of the people of this noble tribe whose throats were slit. Too bad for them…
Patio of the Cypress of the Sultana – called so because of the old cypresses that are in the verandas. Very nice looking patio in second floor where pools and fountains are placed nicely once again.
Nice pools with plants and fishes in it.
Looking back to “Cypress of the Sultana” from third floor.
Here view from highest level of summer palace today towards Alhambra. Of cource many houses and buildings don’t exists anymore.
North part of summer palace would need a little bit restoraation work – surface start to deteriorate. But one can imagine ho nice it must have been drink some cold drink sitting in the terrace up there – feeling warm summer breeze coming from sea … from Malaga.
Here is nice view from high towards the route turists come to summer palace. Very nice looking building … reddish tiles and white (calcified) surfaces.
Now it is time to leave Generalife and travel again to palace and see alcazaba – muslim fortress.
Alcazaba of Granada
Name alcazaba means castle and in muslim times these were built nearly every city.
View from palace to Castle.
View from castle towards palace from observation post – a high tower.
Middle of the picture can be seen wide observation post – a tower.
View from observation post to Albayzin. Down below can be seen square where many restaurants exist.
View inside the castle – a courtyard where soldiers had their small dwellings.
On the way to highest tower of alcazaba.
Flags are vawing on the top of tower.
Finally here – top of the highest tower of Alhambra and Alcazaba.
The outpost down below looks small. Here used to be the gate that ordinary citizens of Granada where using when visiting Alhambra. Now forgotten…
Granada down below looks so small when observed from highest tower of alcazaba. People look like ants…
View towards west over the city.
And there South-East lie snow covered mountains of Sierra Nevada but weather is misty…
Middle of this picture can be seen the catholic church.
From highest tower it easy to supervise also whole castle area.
It’s time to leave alcazaba.
Pathway outside inner wall of castle.
What a nice pink colour covering whole tree … I wonder what tree this is?
Alhambra by night
Maybe you did not know but there is also a possibility to see Alhambra by night. There are tours both for palace and garden.
Alhambra at night in moonlight.
Alcazaba bathing in moonlight.
“Patio de Machuca” waiting for visitors under moonlight.
Lights inside Comares Palace create a kind of miracle like athmosphere.
Facade of Comares palace in nigth light.
Nice details of decoration seems even more beautiful when lights create shadows.
Especially here lights makes the decoration – stucco carvings – shine even more brightly.
Patio de Arrayes – court of Myrtles – lighted under dark sky – moon rising slowly over patio. Nice reflections from pool…
Even after dark nice stucco decorations give special beauty to palace life. Must have been the same with oil lamps and torches…
Patio de los Leones – jungle of nicely decorated columns in twilight.
Arches and corridors inside palace buildings… and fountains with canals for water… constant sound of purpling water.
Sala de Abencerrajes – and beautiful Alhmabra style stucco carvings in roof.
View from Windows of palace to Albayzin.
Patio de Arrayanes again – but now against Carlos V palace.
View of facade in patio de Arrayanes.
Masterpiece in evening dusk – porch with columns in court of Lions.
Lions under moonlight…
On the way from court of Lions to Court of Myrtles.
View from another part of cour of Lions. Water flows from fountains through columns and canals… and purifies soul…
And tourists keep flowing every day and night. Great that we can see this beauty. And how nice we saw court of Myrtles under the moon. Will not forget that!
Still visiting palace of Carlos V. The one never were fisnished. It also baths under moonlight in warm night.
Now it’s time to leave Alhambra. We go through gate of Justice.
Sierra Nevada in South-East
After laying under siege nearly one year city of Granada surrendered for united Christian army. Last sultan – called Bombadil – gave the keys of Alhambra to Christian envoys and later on the day met new rulers of Alhambra – Isabel and Ferdinand. Then he had to leave.
Then last sultan of Granada left his palace and started troublesome march over Sierra Nevada. And when he was climbing slopes of Sierra Nevada to south, he took last glimpse over his beloved valley of Granada. And he looked his palace – Alhambra – on the hill. And he cried!
On the next day we still give some glimpses to Sierra Nevada which looks very majestic.