This picture was taken from the Mirador de San Nicolás which is in the Arabic barrio of Granada called the Albaicín. The view from the Mirador de San Nicolás is incredible and was made more picturesque by the setting sun. From this point, I had a great view of the Alhambra, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the city of Granada.
A very brief history… The Alhambra is a Moorish palace and fortress constructed during the 14th century in Granada. When the city of Granada was taken by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille in 1492, the Alhambra fell into Christian hands without being attacked, helping preserve the structure of the Alhambra.
Above is a picture from the gardens of the Alhambra. Near the bottom of the picture, you’ll notice crops which were planted in the 19th century. They grow sugar cane, asparagus, and several other crops. Fig trees are also planted in the gardens. To the left, you see towers from the Alhambra and in the foreground you can see the city of Granada. I like this picture. With the fog rising up, it reminds me of an establishing shot from a movie like Taken or one of the Bournes.
The picture above is from the court of lions. Unfortunately, the lions weren’t in their proper place in the middle of the court due to construction. If you look closely, you can see traces of paint etched intricately on the walls. Most of the paint was faded but from it one can sense what it felt like to walk the halls of the palace centuries ago: deep blue and sparkling red walls, intricate craftsmanship, silk drapes, flowing water, with views of lush gardens and grand towers.
This is a view of the Albaicín from the Alhambra. The streets of the Albaicín are narrow and twist sharply around buildings, a sign of their once ancient past. It is a popular area for flamenco dancing shows and our group was lucky enough to see one (I hope to have a post about it in the coming weeks).
Fact about the Alhambra you won’t find on Wikipedia: The Alhambra has a rat problem. To combat this, cats have been released to roam the grounds in order to keep the rats in check. I’m not kidding. On our tour I saw three different cats. Bizarre.
Fact about the Alhambra you will find on Wikipedia: It was home to the famous early-American writer Washington Irving. He is most famous for short stories like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” Irving lived in the palace in the 19th century while he worked on a collection of short stories and essays entitled, “Tales of the Alhombra.”
Final thought on the Alhombra… The Alhombra is an ancient monument but it has been remarkably well preserved. Most of the buildings and towers of the original structure are completely intact. The Alhombra, along with the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China, has to be considered one of the finest preserved monuments of the ancient world. It is a joy to visit and I hope to go back before my time in Granada is up.
More to come in the next few days!