Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Glimpses of a Beautiful Past in Granada, Spain.

What springs to mind when the word Granada is uttered is the beauty and serenity of the La Alhambra and General Life complex that sits on the top of a mountain overlooking the main city area of Granada below. Located in Andalusia, Spain, this is a palace and fortress complex that was constructed on top of older ruins in the mid 11th century by a Moorish Emir. The palace was built in 1333. They were left to decay and rediscovered in the 19th century and restoration was begun.
Lower entry portal to the Alhambra

Palace of Charles V courtyard.

We arrived on the train from Seville and booked our tickets for the complex, which included the Granada Cathedral and a hop-on/hop-off bus pass, for the next day. Alhambra is high up and has a great view of the Sierra Nevada mountain alps, where the residents of Granada want the Winter Olympics, so they announced on the bus. It takes a full day to see everything on offer as it is absolutely packed with tourists and you have to book for certain sessions to see the various parts. In fact, it is better to book online before arriving in Granada due to its popularity. By getting there early, you can escape some of the huge crowds! There are a few outlets for food items, but we carried our own bread rolls made up for lunch, some fruit and stopped for snacks where necessary! Also it can be very hot: hats and water are a good idea!

From a balcony of the Nasrid Palace.

Firstly, we visited the Palace of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor where the courtyard has high columns rising 2 stories, reminiscent of the Roman ampitheatres. Next it was our group time to visit the main Nasrid Palace which has had many parts restored to their former beauty and is undergoing constant renovation work. It has areas of beautiful tiles, elaborate wood carvings and tranquil pools and fountains, gardens and balconies. The Moorish influence is everywhere, the highlight being the Patio of the Lions with its beautiful fountain! Words cannot do justice to the intricacy of the patterning and tiles in this Palace.

Courtyard in the Palace.
Patio of the Lions, a beautiful fountain!
Ornate ceiling in the Palace.

From there, we visited the military fort Alcazaba, which is nearby. Here there are archaeological digs going on and you can climb the watchtower for great views of the city. From there, you can walk up to the spectacular gardens of the General Life. There are perfectly shaped cypress trees leading into gardens  with beautiful water features, fountains hedges, flowers and trees. It is quite a long walk but well worth it!

View from the Watchtower.
A stroll through Generalife gardens.

Serenity in the gardens.

After a quick look at the baths of the Mosque, we decided to walk back down to the city through the winding path and cool trees. We found a welcome restaurant in the Plaza Neuva for well earned tapas and refreshing beverages!
 My Tips: Plenty of water for rehydration, good walking shoes, plenty of patience for those determined crowds!
Have you ever been in an area of such beauty that it makes you sit down and just meditate on your surroundings?



  1. Stunning! Europe really does have the best in architecture and historical buildings. This has made me realise I need to see a lot more of Europe.

    1. Thanks Kathy, I hope you do see a lot more.... it really opened my eyes to see the Moorish influences on architecture in Spain, it emphasised how Europe had been criss- crossed by so many invaders from the East and the West!