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Awe-inspiring Alhambra Palace

Splendid plaster work in Alhambra palace complex

Splendid plaster work in Alhambra palace complex

For many years I have been distantly aware of the existence of Alhambra and that one talks about it in hushed tones of awe. I knew that it was built buy Arabs and that it was in the South of Spain but I thought it was a white city. Despite my ignorance, or perhaps because of it, when Patrice and I decided to go to Sevilla for a long weekend, I suggested that we go to Granada to see Alhambra.

As I stood here I pictured Arab women in the 12th century gazing from these windows and imagining the lives of those around them

As I stood here I pictured Arab women in the 12th century gazing from these windows and imagining the lives of those around them

Alhambra means ‘The Red One’ in Arabic and I suppose that’s becasue the fortified walls look red in the setting sun. According to Wikipedia, It was built as a small fortress in 889 and its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

Magnificent courtyard at Alhambra

Magnificent courtyard at Alhambra

Alhambra is listed with UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, one of 44 that are listed in Spain. I rate it with Machu Picchu as a site that is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Like other stupendous sites it is super popular, which is why we queued from early in the morning to buy time-allocated tickets to visit the palaces.

I loved the plaster work at Alhambra

I loved the plaster work at Alhambra

I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the Generalife (summer palace and Alameda gardens) and Alhambra palace and fortress. The gardens are immaculately maintained, beautifully laid out and both cool and calming thanks to the generous use of water. The Arab plaster work inside Alhambra is breathtaking in its intricacy and overwhelming abundance.

Lovely arabesques

Lovely arabesques

Alhambra is extremely popular and rightly so but for me the number of tourists, especially in organized groups was off putting. It was very difficult to have a moment to myself to relax and enjoy the serenity and master craftsmanship with packs of tourists surging towards me. I fantasized about being allowed a private tour of the place. I’ve tried to minimize the numberof tourists in my photos here to share with you the majesty of the place.

A delightful door

A delightful door

View onto the courtyard

View onto the courtyard

A beautiful reflecting pool in a courtyard at Alhambra palace

A beautiful reflecting pool in a courtyard at Alhambra palace

Detail of plasterwork at Alhambra

Detail of plasterwork at Alhambra

Detail of plasterwork at Alhambra

Detail of plasterwork at Alhambra

I loved this alcove

I loved this alcove

I feel honoured that I was able to visit Alhambra and I would like to share it one day with my family.

Detail of the elaborate ceilings over the column arcade

Detail of the elaborate ceilings over the column arcade

Jaw-droppingly beautiful column arcade

Jaw-droppingly beautiful column arcade

Detail of ceiling

Detail of ceiling

The column arcade is infinitely photogenic

The column arcade is infinitely photogenic

This villa is just outside the main palace complex and is partially restored

This villa is just outside the main palace complex and is partially restored

Ahhh symmetry

Ahhh symmetry

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2 comments on “Awe-inspiring Alhambra Palace

  1. Pingback: Colourful Cordoba | strivetoengage

  2. Pingback: Berlin museums | strivetoengage

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2015 by in Europe and tagged , , , , , , , .
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