This article is not about a town, an island or a region but one of the gems of Spanish architecture. It stands in the ancient city of Granada which is a wonderfully picturesque city which attracts visitors all the year round. It’s part palace and part fortress designed to withstand the attacks of religious wars over the centuries.
Behind it elongate the snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, below it lies the city of Granada. Nevertheless, by the time the Alhambra was constructed Muslim Spain has been on retreat, and pressurized during the Christian Reconquista. Granada was among the last fantastic bastions of Muslim Spain until it also fell to Christian forces in 1492. The Muslims left a lot, but the Alhambra is possibly their most lasting gift to contemporary Spain. But make sure you scale the Torre de la Vela. The views from there up across the hills and the city are superb.
The civilian area inside the Alhambra walls has been called the Medina, sharing it’s name with other Muslim meeting places across the world.. The Medina comprises not one palace, but a lot of, every successive ruler constructed his own, trying to overcome its predecessors in grandeur and show. The gardens of the original general are assumed to mirror the descriptions of Paradise from the Quran.
Possibly the most beautiful of the gardens attributes is that called Water Staircase, some suggest that it was the first water feature to be created in any garden anywhere in the world. Among the many other sights worth looking at in the same region as the gardens are the outdoor amphitheatre, which is still employed today for staging events annually for tourists and locals alike.
Beware of the heat, it can be deceptively hot especially in high season. Even when there’s snow on your high peaks of your Sierra it might be blisteringly hot inside town and in the fortress. Cover and take sunscreen. Most significant, wear a wide brimmed hat and beverage lots of water. It’s worth reading up about the palace before you go, it can save you lots of time when you’re there. There are loads of guides and DVDs available check out your local library. Most travel programmes will have something on the area, you can also look on the archives at the BBC iPlayer – you can access from Spain like this too.
The other difficulty you might encounter at the Alhambra is in fact getting in. Only a specific number of visitors would be allowed on your site during any one day so as to minimize overcrowding and the potential risk of harm through wear and tear to this fantastic ancient monument. A fantastic time of year to visit can be during off season, in your winter months.
You will never have the place entirely on your own, however it may be much quiet than it becomes throughout the peak tourist months. Certain time constraints apply to all tickets throughout the year, so its a wise idea to check when you will be there and book well at advance. You can solve a whole lot of problems and eliminate what shall we see next decisions by taking one of the professional guided tours. These can be found in English and commence at 10am every day.
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