THE ALHAMBRA, Granada
At one time this was a seperate building from the Palacio des Comares, now they flow into each other, in the centre is the Patio de los Leones, or Courtyard of the Lions, and at its centre is the famous Lion Fountain, how lovely these lions are ! they dont look fierce at all ! the fountain stands at the crossroad of four water channels, its roped off just now, you cant walk right up to it, because it is being restored, later in the museum you will see a restored lion and learn all about the restoration work
do you see the white marble columns all around the courtyard ? I read in my guide book that there are 124 of them in total, lets not stop to count them, there is still lots more to see
on each side of the courtyard is a room, we entered from the Courtyard of the Myrtles through the Sala los Mocarabes, we turn right and enter the Sala de los Abencerrajes, just look ! another fabulous ceiling, it looks like there is a city carved into it with towers and minarets, and the light coming in from the windows all around its 16 sided dome makes it look like a star, coming our we turn right and look in the Sala de los Reyes, then from there we are going to look in the Room of the Two Sisters
this translates as Courtyard of the Myrtles, Im not quite sure what a myrtle looks or smells like so I cant tell if there are still any here, but that doesnt matter, just look how beautiful this courtyard is, the long pool is like a mirror reflecting the sky and the buildings
lets go and stand behind the fountain at the end of the pool, from there you can see the symmetry of the building, perfectly balanced and mirrored in the pool, the water isnt still but it flows very very slowly so that the mirror like quality is maintained, a pigeon walks around the circular fountain, I`ll put a picture of him in a traveloge, he looks really cute
look at the ceiling under this archway, you can clearly see some of the colours used
next we go into the Audience chamber, its stunning and Im so busy just looking everywhere that I forget to take pictures, I just look and look, the sun is shining through the windows with their panes of coloured glass and lighting up the ceiling, and on the floor are very old coloured tiles, they are roped off but we wouldnt want to walk on them anyway, we just want to look
come now, lets go and look at the famous fountain in the Palacio de los Liones
Come out into the sunshine and look around, the little fountain in the centre was used for washing, make sure you dont trip over the edge ! Look up, these walls are decorated too, and there are shuttered windows - did the ladies of the Palace, safe in the knowledge that they couldn`t be seen, look down on the men going about their business and talking about important matters ? Im sure they must have, after all we women like to know everything thats going on
around the bottom of the walls are glazed tiles in jewel colours, topped by a deep frieze, some of the carvings are traditional Islamic ones, but here and there you will see carved flowers and foilage so the rulers must have been very progressive as at one time carving of organic things was considered a sin
the tour group that followed us in have all gone now, its quiet and peaceful again, lets go on, through the passage, into the Courtyard of the Myrtles
Its 10am ! we enter the palace and immediately we are surrounded by beautiful stone work, the first part is called the Palace de Comares, this was built by Yusuf I who ruled from 1333 and who was largely responsible for forming Granada into such a centre of culture and learning
here in the Palace de Comares you can see wonderful views over Albaicin where the ordinary people lived, and to the hills beyond, the Palace has been altered many times over its history, Castillian coat of arms date from the time of the conquest by the Catholic Rulers
Originally the wall carvings has colour added, look carefully, you can still see traces of it here and there, and dont forget to look up at the magnificent marquetry ceilings
are you ready to see more ? then lets go out into the sunshine in the Mexuar patio
OK, so you have taken the minibus here, or perhaps you are super fit and walked up the steep hill, we collected our tickets [booked online] at the ticket office, so lets explore
its 9.30, our ticket time for the Nasrite palace says 10am so we wont dawdle too much, our path takes us past the ruins of the Medina and through the gardens of El Secano, lets stop for a moment to admire the view, we can see snow on the mountains and the air is fresh and crisp - no rain today ! the sky is grey over the mountains but it will soon be blue
we walk along the path admiring the clipped trees, peek through and there is a view of the Parador of San Francisco, we would have loved to have stayed there, but it is way above our budget
but lets hurry ! we cant wait to enter the Palace ! just enough time for a `comfort stop` at the facilites and it will be 10am and we can go in
Favorite thing: We went with Carmen and Stace, our good friends from Marbella, to Granada and The Alhambra. I was in total awe of this place. The Alhambra is a series of palaces and gardens built under the Nazari Dynasty in the 14th century. This mighty complex of buildings, including the summer palace called Generalife, with its fountains and gardens, stands at the foot of Spain's highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada and overlooks the city of Grenada.
Favorite thing: At the center of the Alhambra stands the massive PALACE OF CARLOS V(Palacio de Carlos V), an outstanding example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, built in 1526. Inside you will find the Alhambra Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Favorite thing: Built in 1505, THE ROYAL CHAPEL or "Capilla Real Nueva" is not really an outstanding structure as churches go, but it served its purpose. Buried here, in a crypt, are the Spanish king and queen, Ferdinand and Isabella.
Also one of the most picturesque and most photographed areas of the Alhambra is the PATIO DE LOS ARRAYANES or Arrayanes' Courtyard.Its reflecting pool and rectangular courtyard lead you to the entrance to the Comares' Tower or Torre de Comares.
The Comares Palace consists of: Court of the Myrtles, Hall of the Boat and Hall of the Ambassadors
Favorite thing: The center-piece of the PATIO DE LOS LEONES or Lion's Court, is a small fountain supported by twelve figures of Lions. This picturesque area is one of the more photographed and popular sections of the Palace. I know I couldn't get enough of it.
This is the military zone of the complex and is one of the areas open to visitors with an entrance ticket. The following areas may be visited: the Terrace of the Bucket Tower, the ramparts of the North Wall, the Arms Square ( Plaza de Armes ), the Terrace of the Arms Gate, the Watch Tower and the Gardens of the Ramparts ( Jardin de Los Adarves ).
Dating to the 9th century, the ALCAZABA / ALCAZAR is a fortified stronghold that guarded the Palaces.
From the Tower "Torre de la Vela' great views of the city and Albaicin can be seen.
Favorite thing: Part of the Nasrid Palaces is EL PARTAL. Also a beautiful Palace, it consists of the Palace Porche, Gardens ( Jardines Del Partal ), Rauda, Palace of Yusef III and Walkway of Towers. It also has a pool which gives a beautiful reflection of the Palace
The NASRID PALACES consists of the following:
Mexuar: Hall, Oratory, Gilded Room and Patio
Comares Palace: Court of the Myrtles, Hall of the Boat, Hall of the Ambassadors
Palace of the Lions: Hall of the Mocarabes, Patio, Hall of the Abencerrajes, Hall of the Kings, Hall of the Two Sisters
The Emperor's Chambers: Belvedere, Court of the Wrought Iron Grille, Garden of Lindaraja
The Partal: Palace Porche, Rauda, Palace of Yusef III, Walkway of Towers
Entrance to the Nasrid Palaces is included with your ticket.
Favorite thing: Surrounding the rectangular Court of the Lions are 124 ornate marble columns. This was a fabulous sight to see. You can just imagine the Sultans and their ladies with their flowing gowns going about their daily routines and perhaps sitting by the fountain, supported by 12 figures of Lions.
Favorite thing: The most photographed part of the palace is at it's very heart and formed the most private section of the building. This is the COURT OF LIONS (Patio de los Leones), which housed the Harem. Adjacent to this is the Hall of the Two Sisters which was occupied by the Sultan's favourite of the moment. There is also the Hall of the King and the Hall of the Abencerrajes.