Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Alhambra (Granada, Spain)

This week finds our intrepid world traveler in the south of Spain starting with a visit to Granada to see the Alhambra and the Generalife.

The Alhambra is fortress/palace complex and the Generalife (hen-er-ul-lee-fee) is a series of royal gardens that are both on the top of a hill overlooking the town. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, as such, is rich in history and splendor that I didn't read about before I arrived... This didn't change the fact that I was wowed by what I saw. The place is silly with Islamic and Moorish architectural details along with pretty views.

Your first part of the visit is to the Generalife gardens. Here's a view from the Alhambra side:

The gardens are full of great plants and flowers along with some impressive water features. Here's a central fountain:

and my favorite, the handrail fountains that run down both sides of these stairs:

The Alhambra, on the other hand, is set up as a series of military fortifications, official-reception-style buildings, and a palace and associated grounds. This is an overview shot taken from one of the observation towers. The palace complex includes the smaller building on the left and extends behind it.

This is a shot of one of the reception areas that shows some of the details that are present in the complex. The entire wall is a series of tiny plaster sculptures, which you can see on the nearby column, along with beautiful tile work. The roof overhangs are very detailed as well.

Here's a shot of a central courtyard with another water feature. The place is full of both of them.

After walking through the palace buildings and grounds, you can climb up onto one of the towers (with the flags) to have a look over Granada. This is a shot of the tower and the next couple of photos were taken from there:

This is central Granada with the cathedral in the middle:

Here's part of the town that climbs up the hillside. I'm guessing that the local paint store doesn't have to carry too many different colors...

And here's a photo of one of the palace buildings just because I think it's nice...

On the way out of the grounds, I came across these ranunculus and thought of Carlsbad and the annual display.

Overall, the Alhambra is very impressive. It's funny but when I write about places like this, I find that I put in a ton of photos. As they say, photos don't do something like this justice. The architecture and details are amazing. If you're in the area, you need to stop by... :-)

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