Friday was devoted to the Alhambra, which sits in the hills above Granada central in the flatlands below. It dominates the skyline and can be seen from everywhere, including from our hotel window, seen below.
We enjoyed a three-hour guided tour in the morning. Granada was under Muslim rule from the Eighth Century until the late 15th. It was the last region to fall to Catholic kings. I’m not going to repeat stuff you could learn from Wikipedia, but simply say we we were wowed by the Muslim sultan’s palaces and impressed the Christian conquerors largely left the buildings in tact. The Moors that ruled the region were known for their tile work, the plaster wall decorations and the intricate wooden ceilings. This is one ceiling example.
The following is some of the wall work. The third tile features something from the Koran.
The later Christian-era additions were less interesting architecturally but they did add some exceptional gardens during the romantic period of the 1800s. The palaces has largely been abandoned in the 1700s and had fallen into disrepair, occupied by squatters. It was a visit by the American writer Washington Irving, and his book “”Tales of the Alhambra” that is credited with spurring the Spanish government to begin restorations.
I almost forgot to mention that on our arrival day in Grenada, after a somewhat white-knuckled drive in to our hotel in the old part of the city, we went to a hamam, which is a traditional Muslim bathhouse. You circulate through pools of varying temperatures and also sit in a stream room. It was followed by a scrub and a massage. Quite relaxing after the drive in. The picture below was taken outside of our hotel. It wasn’t as tough as driving on the left in New Zealand, but stressful enough.