Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Granada: The Alhambra

En route to our next backroads destination, we stopped in Granada to see the Alhambra and its adjacent garden, the Generalife. Granada, which goes back to at least the 7th century B.C. and became a Roman city by the 1st century B.C., is a beautiful place of about quarter million population.

1929 bullring

The Alhambra started life humbly in 889 as a small fortress whose ruins were rebuilt in the mid-11th century, and later converted into a royal palace in 1333, belying the waning power of the Moors in Iberia. Although it sustained a fair amount of pillage and decay, not to mention Napoleon trying to blow it up, it's been beautifully restored. When I was here in the 1970s, we about had it to ourselves. Now, as elsewhere, it's overrun by vast hordes of tourists.

After the reconquest of Iberia, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V built a palace within the walls in 1527, although he never quite got around to finishing the interior, which is essentially an open courtyard:

The Church of Santa Maria de la Encarnacion of the Alhambra was done in the Renaissance style, started in 1581 and finished in 1617; it's adjacent to Charles V's palace.

Patio de Arrayanes

Court of the Lions

 As with all Islamic architecture, the details are exquisite

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