Alhambra

Alhambra

The crown jewel of Granada. So popular that by the time we got there with our advance purchased tickets at 8:15am, all tickets for the day were already sold out. The general ticket gets you into the Nasrid palace (star of the show), Alcazaba fort, Charles V palace, and the Generalife summer home.

This royal palace of the Nasrid princes was originally a fortress, and was rebuilt and completed in the 15th century. The Nasrid dynasty was of Azd origin (from the Saudi Arabian peninsula), and ruled Granada for 250 years before surrendering to Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.

The Nasrid coat of arms in the bottom center

The Mexuar is for administrative purposes, and functions as an audience hall to receive dignitaries.

The courtyard in the Mexuar
Once past the Mexuar, you enter the Court of the Myrtles. The sultan wives’ living quarters are on the upper levels flanking the fountain.
On the ground floor is the imposing Ambassador’s Hall. This is where the Sultan receives guests. This is the same room where the last Nasrid sultan signed the terms of his surrender, and also where Isabella and Ferdinand heard Columbus’ final pitch for his voyage.
The starry dome
Original tiles from the 16th century in the middle of the room
The phrase “Only Allah is victorious” in calligraphy is repeated 9,000 times throughout the palace.

Past the Court of the Myrtles, is the private Royal family quarters.

The beautiful courtyard of the Lions with the 124 columns that were designed and built to be earthquake resistant.
The courtyard so named after the 12 lions surrounding the fountain. The four channels radiate away from the fountain provide water to the separate living quarters.
When the Christians took over, they disassembled the fountain and complex hydraulic system to see how it works, but in the process rendered it nonfunctional. It was only in 2012 when the fountain started flowing again. Now looking back, the Muslims were so much more advanced in comparison. What would the world look like today if the Muslims had remained in power.
The only original door left in the palace outside the Hall of the Abencerrajes
This hall is the Sultan’s living room. The name of the hall comes from the Abencerraje tribe, when 36 of them were beheaded here with their heads tossed into the center fountain.
Dome of the room

Across the way is the Hall of the Kings, which served as a banquet hall.

This room is the only one in the entire palace where you will find human depiction, and it gives you a glimpse of what life was like for the Royal family.
Painting on goat leather depicts 10 of the 22 sultans
The Hall of Two Sisters is a reception hall
With windows low to the ground since seating was on cushions.
The Partel garden stands on the ruins of the Partel palace.
Joe saw this contraption and declared that it is used to keep the dogs out.
However, I surmised that it was likely an irrigation system that helps divert water to irrigate the garden.

When the Christians took over, Charles V decided that the palace was not grand enough, so he built his own palace within Alhambra.

The palace now houses 2 museums.
One of them displays Islamic artifacts from all over the world. One particularly artifact that caught my eye was the “Magic Caftan”. This caftan has Koran scriptures woven into it, and is worn underneath the armors to protect the Ottoman sultans when they go out to battle.
A view of Granada from one of the Alcazaba towers

At this point, we had already been in Alhambra for over 4 hours. We still had one more stop. The Generalife, which is the Sultans’ summer palace located within walking distance from the main palace complex.

The beautiful garden in Generalife
View of the main palace complex from the Generalife garden
The fountain within the summer home
A balcony with a view
A view of the summer home

Five hours later, we were back in town searching for food. The palace was impressive and beautiful, but having seen similar architecture in Morocco made me wish I had visited Granada first. I had wanted to be “wowed”.

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