Tuesday, 18 October 2011


The Alhambra sits at the top of the highest wooded hill in the city of Granada. Not only that - this red-walled palace has the fairytale backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Well, for most of the year the mountains are snow-capped - in August, they are somewhat er... rock-capped!

If the view from afar is spectacular, the interior of the Alhambra is simply stupendous! There is so much of artistic merit to see. However, there are four main areas to explore: the Alcazaba, the Palace of Charles V, the Casa Real or Royal Palace and the Generalife Gardens.

Lion Courtyard
The central nucleus of the Alhambra is the Nasrid Palaces. Visitors, who have already admired other parts of this magnificent fortress, are spellbound when they encounter the magnificence of these palaces. If you do not have time to explore the Alhambra in totality, you simply must allow time to visit the Nasrid Palaces! They are built around three courtyards - the Golden Room, the Myrtle Courtyard and the Lion Courtyard.

The Hall of the Ambassadors needs special mention as it is the largest and was the grand reception room. The throne of the sultan was placed opposite the entrance. It was here that Christopher Columbus received Isabel and Ferdinand's support to sail to the New World. 

The delightful Generalife garden not only has an avenue of cypress trees, terraced gardens, clipped hedges and grottos, but also fountains and a long water channel (acequia) with water jets surrounded by all manner of plants and flowers. It is a delightful place. No wonder composer Manuel de Falla wrote a piece of music about it!

Robert Bovington

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