The Alhambra, Granada Spain

The power struggle between the Moors and the Christians is on grand display in Granada, specifically the Alhambra.  Granada, located in the Darro River Valley, was the last and greatest Moorish kingdom in Spain.  Its royal palaces, the Alhambra, was originally built as a fortress in the late 9th century, and rebuilt as an Islamic royal palace by the Moors of the Nasrid Dynasty, in the late 13th century, its golden years.  The complex is highly fortified and sits on a mountain just outside of the city of Granada.  It has had many additions over the centuries, and was eventually taken by the European Catholics in the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V constructing his own palace within the complex in 1527.   It is a beautiful awe-inspiring place and we took most of the day to see it.

Overlook of GranadaHigh on the hill overlooking Granada.

Tip:  Buy your tickets in advance!  The Alhambra frequently sells out and I wouldn’t want you to miss it.  On your ticket will be a time stamp, which will be your entry time to see the Palacios Nazaries, the main site.  Don’t be late as the docents are very strict with time!  Here is the link with all of the info.

Entrance to the Palace

Inside the PalaceInside the Palace.  Note the mosaics on the walls and the ornamentation of the columns.




Islamic art does not use depictions of people or other animals.  It uses floral, pattern and calligraphy.  To depict a human or an animal would be idolatry and therefore be a sin against God.


The Patio de Arrayares translated the Court of the Myrtles is surrounded by chambers with porticoes on both ends.  You can see Charles V’s palace in the looming above in the background.  It is believed that some of the chambers here were demolished to make room for it.


The Patio de los Leones translated the Court of the Lions demonstrates how important water was to the Moors.  Islam requires followers to keep their hearts and minds pure with love and their bodies clean with water.  Water runs throughout the entire complex which was a luxury in that time.


The Palace of Charles V plopped down in the middle of the area showing his power and triumph over the Moors.


The Fort known as the Alcazaba was the military area of the complex.


Whew!  Time for a break!  This is the Parador where there is a beautiful courtyard with a restaurant to refresh.  We had a lovely lunch enjoying the ambiance!


Finally, the Generalife, the summer palace for the royals, is furthest from the main complex.  The story is told that the gardens were a perfect place for trysts because the fountains covered the sounds of lovers wooing.

For a highly romantic look inside life at the Alhambra, I recommend “Tales of the Alhambra” by  Washington Irving, a diplomat, historian and traveler originally published in 1832.  Here is the link to Amazon.

Where have you been in Spain?  I would love to hear!

Next up is the Costa Del Sol, Spain’s Riviera.

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