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Granada - Alhambra

Alhambra Granada
Alhambra is certainly one of the most visited and finest compounds in Spain. Beyond the beauty and charm between its walls, one may take a broader look to explore the extent to which it is intertwined with the history of Spain (and the world).

In contrast with other cities in Andalusia, the city of Granada didn't have major significance during the Roman Empire. It wouldn't be until the Moorish domination of Hispania (711-1492) that the city would shine with its own ligth.

In 1228, the ambitious Ibn al-Ahmar established the longest lasting Muslim dynasty on the Iberian peninsula - the Nasrids (Nazarí in Spanish). Cordoba fell to the Catholic Reconquista in 1236, making the Nasrids align themselves with Fernando III of Castile, to establish the Emirate of Granada in 1238. According to some historians, Granada was a tributary state to the Kingdom of Castile since that year. While not officially ruled by Catholic, it provided key connections with the Muslim trade centers (sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb) by exporting silk and dried fruits produced in the area. The Nasrids also supplied troops from the Emirate and mercenaries from North Africa for service to Castile. Nothing is ever black or white it seems...

The Nasrids built a citadel atop a hill, with room for palaces, beautiful gardens, residential annexes for the subordinates portraying some of the finest arab art and architecture in the World. The beauty created during the 300 years of Nasrid rule was greatly appreciated by the Catholic Kings, so after the Christian Reconquista in January 2nd 1492, the Alhambra became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. In fact, it was between these walls where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition. Which would lead to the discovery of America in October 12th 1492.

Granada is best visited in low season (think of fall or even winter - we went there in January) as the crowds ruin the magic and the heat might become slightly unbeareable. It is highly advised to book the ticket in advance (it is quite convenient to do so through ticketmaster). You will get a printout which is then exchanged by the actual ticket in some souvenir shop in the city center, which is located really close to the place from where you take the bus uphill (TIP: Take bus up, walk down). The visit takes about 3 hours (if I remember correctly we took our time with the pictures and spent from 2PM to 5PM). Needless to say, bring shoes you can walk on - preferably without slippery soles as the stone floor can be slippery. We entered the Nasrid Palaces first, then continue with Alcazaba and finished with Generalife.

Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Stylish arabic serves as decoration together with intricate mathematical patterns.
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Breathtaking views
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
This is the Torre de la Vela, where the Royal standards of the Catholic Monarchs were raised from,after the surrender of Granada - last city under Nasrid rule - to Isabel & Ferdinand.
Alhambra Granada
From there, to the Generalife Gardens.
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada
Alhambra Granada

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