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.
DSC00079High 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.
DSC01243

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
DSC03452People down look like ants when watched from towers of Alcazaba. This fortress was invincible. And finally its surrendered for Christians after a long siege.

DSC00043There 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!

DSC00363Land 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.

DSC00380Here also flowers are flourishing in many colored shades – here pink. And it is just the beginning of April.

DSC01048Here 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.

DSC01074In 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?

DSC01094Picture from Synagoga courtyard in Albayzin. Here everything seem to be now in peace near each others – Christian churchs, synagogas and muslims buildings.

DSC01149 (2)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.

DSC01145 (2)Same decoration but now as a part of bigger entity of wall.

DSC01131Muslim type arch as a decoration in Madraza.

DSC01134More 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.

DSC00734
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.

DSC00100 Here in pathway to palace.

DSC00110Behind a flowering three there is an old muslim mosque – now a christian church.

DSC00119
Finally the buildings of palace. They are beautiful in a sensitive and delicate way – they are not aiming to be colossal.

DSC00115And behind is the muslim alcazaba guarding everything.

DSC00134And here starts the story of Nasrids amirs – which originally where not that high nobles. But managed to keep their realm alive so long time.

DSC00136Tourist are visiting buildings in vast amounts and looking decorations with ashtonishment.

DSC00160Room that was changed little bit by Isabel – queen of new Spain (Castile, Leon and finally Aragon). Delicate decorations in window frames.

DSC00167Stucco-type decorations made with gypsum mortar? Very very carefully carved.

DSC00141Very beautiful column detail. The color blue was an important one for Nasrids.

DSC00153Light was important for giving the palace it’s splendeour. Look wooden roof – fine ornaments.

DSC00169Very nicely cut wood decorations in roof. Typical of moorish architecture.

DSC03478Very nice court in middle of the palace buildings. Look the beautiful details in facade.

DSC00181Corridor 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…
DSC03489

DSC00195Same 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.

DSC00185Very nice decoration of arches in colonnades of court.

DSC00189This is the special decoration type of Nasrid amirs, which can not be found anywhere else.

DSC00201On 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.
DSC03531Maybe the most beautiful courtyard in Alhambra. Lions are made by several layers – one by one.

DSC00274This court is full of columns – nice columns – and fountains. Here one feels real peace.

DSC00287Again these special type decorations on the roof of amir’s hall.

DSC00317Nice houses – the Partal – when coming out of palace buildings. Once build by another amir.

DSC00343View from courtyard of Alhambra. In left Albayzin – muslim quarters, defence wall of city and area of gypsies in right.

DSC00389All the time we are surrounded by high walls and towers of Alhambra – invincible castle.

DSC00360In background house of “Partal”. One of the nicest views in Alhambra. Nice building with pool on edge of the high hill.

DSC00368Once here used to be the palace of Yusuf III. Now only foundations left… and nice courtyard.
DSC00946

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.

DSC00737

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…

DSC00869Landscape 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.
DSC03385Here rosegarden on May.

DSC00410In pathway to Generalife – Private summer palace of Nasrid rulers.

DSC00450Some 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.

DSC00416Very nice esplanade – kind of colonnade – under trees and roses. Here we are in April – not yet time of roses.

DSC00446Here is Generalife – Private summer palace of Nasrid rulers. Here they relaxed from conspring athmosphere of palace.

DSC00437Spring flowers all over the courtyard.

DSC00485Here 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).

DSC00906View from upper parts of palace buildins on the patio where people enter the villa. Orange-trees give nice impression.

DSC00908View 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.

DSC00926Nice wooden decorated door which leads to terrace high up looking over hills of Albayzin.

DSC00490Very nice detail of column top from summer palace. How beautiful carvings…

DSC00927

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…

DSC00508Patio 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.

DSC00374Nice pools with plants and fishes in it.

DSC00928Looking back to “Cypress of the Sultana” from third floor.

DSC00516Here view from highest level of summer palace today towards Alhambra. Of cource many houses and buildings don’t exists anymore.

DSC00521North 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.

DSC00935Here is nice view from high towards the route turists come to summer palace. Very nice looking building … reddish tiles and white (calcified) surfaces.

DSC00539Now 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.
DSC00746View from palace to Castle.

DSC00964View from castle towards palace from observation post – a high tower.

DSC00951Middle of the picture can be seen wide observation post – a tower.

DSC00961View from observation post to Albayzin. Down below can be seen square where many restaurants exist.

DSC00977View inside the castle – a courtyard where soldiers had their small dwellings.

DSC00979On the way to highest tower of alcazaba.

DSC00987Flags are vawing on the top of tower.

DSC00994Finally here – top of the highest tower of Alhambra and Alcazaba.

DSC01005The outpost down below looks small. Here used to be the gate that ordinary citizens of Granada where using when visiting Alhambra. Now forgotten…

DSC01004Granada down below looks so small when observed from highest tower of alcazaba. People look like ants…

DSC01012View towards west over the city.

DSC01007And there South-East lie snow covered mountains of Sierra Nevada but weather is misty…

DSC01017Middle of this picture can be seen the catholic church.

DSC00991From highest tower it easy to supervise also whole castle area.

DSC00988It’s time to leave alcazaba.

DSC01030Pathway outside inner wall of castle.

DSC01038What 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.

DSC00704Alhambra at night in moonlight.

DSC00703Alcazaba bathing in moonlight.

DSC00569“Patio de Machuca” waiting for visitors under moonlight.

DSC00578Lights inside Comares Palace create a kind of miracle like athmosphere.

DSC00581 (2)Facade of Comares palace in nigth light.
DSC00674Nice details of decoration seems even more beautiful when lights create shadows.

DSC00645 (2)Especially here lights makes the decoration – stucco carvings – shine even more brightly.

DSC00695 (2)Patio de Arrayes – court of Myrtles – lighted under dark sky – moon rising slowly over patio. Nice reflections from pool…

DSC00619 (2)Even after dark nice stucco decorations give special beauty to palace life. Must have been the same with oil lamps and torches…

DSC00671Patio de los Leones – jungle of nicely decorated columns in twilight.

DSC00636Arches and corridors inside palace buildings… and fountains with canals for water… constant sound of purpling water.

DSC00640Sala de Abencerrajes – and beautiful Alhmabra style stucco carvings in roof.

DSC00629View from Windows of palace to Albayzin.

DSC00605 (2)Patio de Arrayanes again – but now against Carlos V palace.

DSC00597View of facade in patio de Arrayanes.

DSC00664Masterpiece in evening dusk – porch with columns in court of Lions.

DSC00662 (2)Lions under moonlight…

DSC00665On the way from court of Lions to Court of Myrtles.

DSC00688 (2)View from another part of cour of Lions. Water flows from fountains through columns and canals… and purifies soul…

DSC00694 (2)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!

DSC00699Still visiting palace of Carlos V. The one never were fisnished. It also baths under moonlight in warm night.

DSC00715Now 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!
DSC03419On the next day we still give some glimpses to Sierra Nevada which looks very majestic.

Leave a Reply