Posted: 2009-04-27

The Alhambra

The Alhambra is the big tourist draw in Granada.  Located on a hill above the town, this complex was the center of power for the last Moorish kingdom in Spain.  The complex is composed of 3 groups of buildings: the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, and the Generalife.

The Alcazaba is a military fortress dating from the 11th century.  You are allowed to walk along the ramparts and climb to the top of the guard towers, getting a great view of the city below.  It was fun to look out over the countryside and imagine what it must have been like to be a guard on duty watching for enemy troops coming across the plains.  Inside the walls of the fortress, you can see building foundations from old buildings.  Turns out that these foundations date back to Roman times and the Arabs built upon them to make their own buildings.

The Nasrid Palaces date from the 14th century, and they are actually 3 palaces built as extensions of each other by successive sultans.  You enter through a portal in the earliest building and then make your way through.  Each room and courtyard of each palace is more elaborate than the last with beautiful tile work, carved stone, and fountains.  This was the equivalent of the White House for the Moors at the time, and activities within included receptions for foreign ambassadors, legal trials, and other kingly duties.  When the Catholics took the city back for Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella lived here for a while.  A series of formal gardens are adjacent to the palaces, most of which are accessible to the public.

The Generalife (pronounced “heh-neh-ral-eef-eh”) was the summer palace for the sultans.  It is set on an adjacent hill apart from the Alhambra complex, but it is within easy walking distance.  It has extensive gardens with lots of trees and fountains to keep things cool during the hot summers. 

-Julia Abbott



When the last sultan was defeated here in 1492 (by Ferdinand and Isabella), the moors realized they'd have to go back to the north African desert. The sultan cried and his mother said, "Weep, my son, like a woman, for that which you would not fight for like a man." Ooh!


the visitors to this site demand to see more pictures of Juli and Chad in these exotic surroundings.

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