Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Granada And The Alhambra

A Valentines Day to Remember 

After nearly a week in bustling Barcelona, the change of pace in Granada was welcome. The change was evident from the moment we got off the plane at the Garcia Lorca airport. It is tiny and you still walk down stairs from the jet. 

Garcia Lorca is beloved in Granada. It was the place he called home. Lorca was one of Spains most cherished modern era poets and playwrights. Prolific in a short life, he was murdered during the Civil War. Even in death Lorca is a mystery. When his family finally allowed his grave to be exhumed in 2008 no human remains were found. To this day his sculpture in Madrid has a fresh red kerchief tied to it each morning by the leftists. The rightists remove the kerchief before the end of each day.

Passion is not in short supply in Spain.

Our hotel was created out of a building in the heart of the historic district. It was only one year old and is operated by a wonderful Spanish hotel chain called Room-Mate. They have hotels (mostly) in Spain. But have opened new properties in New York and Argentina. The rooms looked into light wells instead of using on-street windows, so it was very quiet. I bought the room months ago on a pre-pay deal and could not have been more pleased with the quality of the place and services provided.

Valentines Day Mary and I walked to, and all over, the Alhambra. It was especially nice because they have a show with the works of Washington Irving. Irving's Alhambra writings 150 years ago were pivotal in starting the movement to save and preserve it.

I had always wanted to tour the place because I happen to love moorish style architecture. 

Looking Up to The Alhambra and Nasrid Palace
Sailing Above the City of Granada

The View From the Alhambra To Granada

The Alhambra Fortress

Another View of The Fortress

In reality what we now refer to as the Alhambra consists of a fortress, a palace, and beautiful gardens. The architectural references to the Alhambra are mostly in reference to the Nasrid Palace. This complex includes all of the living spaces for the Nasrid Sultan's and their family members. 

In reality the Alhambra for centuries was a self-contained city on a mountaintop. It was with temples (later replaced by Christian Churches), baths, graineries, dungeons, and all sorts of places for commerce.

To protect the site they carefully control the flow of visitors to the palace. If you miss your entrance time, you are out of luck. We loved the "rules" signage. "Rule 12: You may not remove all or part of your clothes and lay down on floors anywhere on the Alhambra". 


One must assume that this has happened with enough frequency to warrant a rule?  Obviously some folks have more fun touring ancient historic sites than I do.

So here are some images of the beloved Nasrid Palace.

Cool Water Moves Everywhere to Ease Hot Summers 
(There are pools ponds and streams running though nearly every indoor or outdoor space)

Looking Up is A Joy

All Palace Spaces Frame Gardens
Where Water Becomes Magical

We spent the whole day walking the site and taking in the views of the city below and the Sierra Nevada mountains off in the distance. Yes, I said Sierra Nevada. I'd have to guess that one of the Spanish Explorer's to California was reminded of this very scene and named the mountains of the west accordingly.

Roadboy's Travels © 2010

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