15 November 2019

My Fourth Visit to Spain: Alhambra (Palacios Nazaríes)

Visiting Alhambra was a highlight. Come to think of it, we almost didn't make it to this place. The tickets sell out rather quickly, and we almost forgot to arrange entry beforehand. Thankfully, we found two available tickets to a Spanish-language guided tour. It was rather expensive, but given what we saw, it was definitely worth it. There was plenty to see, and at the end of the day, we definitely thought that it was a very comprehensive visit. In this post, I'll talk about the centrepiece of Alhambra, the Palacios Nazaríes.

Our visit began from the ticket office, and from there, we walked to the Puerta de la Justicia, which is a rather massive gate. This area of Alhambra already demonstrates the Moorish influences that permeate the entire compound. From here onward I have developed the impression that Granada was basically a very clean version of Morocco.

Entrance to the palace complex is through the Mexuar, which is a hall dating from the 14th century. Interestingly enough, Alhambra was originally just a small palace back in the 9th century, and only reached its current size years later, when the Islamic powers made some refurbishments. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333, by Yusuf I.

The Patio de los Arrayanes (Court of the Myrtles) is perhaps one of the most recognisable areas of Alhambra. The symmetry of the water pools, the curved windows, the entire layout of the buildings and other architectural fixtures are all just a delight to look at. And of course, the intricate designs of Moorish architecture are all over the place.

The next area that one stumbles into is the Palacio de los Leones, named after the fountain that is found right in its centre. There's a fountain made of 12 marble lions, where water is flowing through their mouths. This fountain dates from the 11th century, and is located in perhaps one of the most geometrically interesting courtyards. Everything in this place is just designed with symmetry in mind.

There is this very pleasant spot where one can see the entire city below. After all, Alhambra is located on a hill, with an imposing view of the land.

There's more: in the next post, I'll talk about other areas of Alhambra, including the gardens, and other palaces constructed at a later time.

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