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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 (read 1407 times)
A Fascinating Visit to Alhambra Spainby Jeroen
Sunday morning 9 AM: together with a fellow student I arrive at the magnificent fort slash palace Alhambra, which is purged on a hill of seven hundred meters high. Recovering from another week of learning Spanish and a night out in Spanish student town Granada, we had decided to catch the bus in the city centre. Besides our choice for public transport is comfortable, it's also a fast option. Like Fernando Alonso's the Granadian bus drivers climb the hill at high speed. Despite of a short smoke pause of our man, that liked to destroy our quick trip, we still were way faster than the by foot going tourists.
And what a luck. Because we are outside the busy summer season and woke up early, we can enter Alhambra without wasting time in a queue. Even in the weekend. This attraction on average welcomes 6,000 people per day. The absence of the 'mas o menos' 5,998 other visitors and the beautiful sunrise, allow us to take some nice photographs. While shooting pics and listening to the audio guide (pretty difficult at the same time) we reach the architectonic highlight of Alhambra: the Palacios Nazaries.
The Mexuar is the first building you see. In this oldest part of Alhambra kings of Granada received their inferiors. Although later occupants have added Christian influences to the space and in spite of a light explosion, there still are a lot of Arab characteristics left. Splendid pillars, mosaics and Arab texts on the plaster frieze directly immerse you into an oriental ambiance. A bit further we enter the palace of the sultan, Palacio the Camores. Here we find, I guess, Europe's most photographed pond, the one in the Patio de los Arrayanes. The effect of the reflecting water is magic.
Water spitting lions
In the Patio de los Leones we mainly encounter pillars; 124 to be exact. They not only support the gallery, but also give the patio a very impressive look. The two long sides of the room contains two departures. At the top of the Sala de Dos Hermanas are the chambers of the women of the sultan. Trough small breaches the ladies could unnoticed blink at what was happening downstairs. And where does the name of the patio come from? 'Los Leones' of course stands for the twelve in a fountain processed in all wind directions water spitting lions.
Beauty, vistas and silence
A couple of more abundantly decorated rooms, patios and baths, leads us to the Jardines the Partal. This garden contains the Torre de las Damas. Through the arcs of this building we can look out over the former Arab district of Granada, the Albacin. An even better view we get in the gardens and buildings of the Generalife. In this leisure place of former Granadian kings you can enjoy beauty and silence. Here you find something less - but still impressive - construction work, intelligent Arabian irrigation tricks, ponds and a wealth of plants and trees. During spring and summer you will probably see lots of more green and coloured nature.
And all this beauty and the important occupants of course demanded good protection. Already before the Alhambra stood there, the fortress Alcazaba rose above the hills. Prior to and during the construction of the Alhambra palaces, Moorish kings already enjoyed their lives on this spot. In former days the remained rests of walls were the sleeping departures of soldiers. The high towers give you an impressive view of the city and the snowy tops of the Sierra Nevada.
Mañana mañana construction style
Besides all Arab highlights, there is also the Christian palace of Carlos V. Under him Spain became a nation leaded by one monarch. During his honeymoon the Emperor ordered the construction of the palace. A wing of the Palacios Nazaries had to disappear. Although Carlos has never lived here - construction started in 1527, but was just completed in 1957, -, the result of this Renaissance palace is not less interesting. The palace is an immense square building with in the centre a large round promenade with precise dimensions.
Architecture, ingenious water systems, art or history; whatever has your interest, the magical Alhambra enthrals everyone. Even if you only want to see a beautiful building or mountains under the Spanish sun.
Tips! How to get tickets for Alhambra Spain?
Who wants to visit Alhambra in Granada, has to take some action in advance. It can be very busy on the hills. Moreover, every day UNESCO allows a limited number of visitors to enter the most important attraction of Spain. How to get your ticket, you can read on my blog: http://www.tospainafterstudy.blogspot.com. Besides tips, on my blog you can also find more stories and photos of my year in Spain and information about learning Spanish.