Granada would not be Granada without the Alhambra, the main monument that attracts thousands of tourists every day in this charming city.
Declared a World Heritage Site, and considered an emblem of the city since 1870, the year of its declaration as a National Monument, the Alhambra has been the residence of the Nasrid sultans, citadel and fortress, and today is one of the most visited places in Andalusia and all of Spain. From any viewpoint in the city you can see this monumental complex, made by different towers, palaces, courtyards and gardens, which surprises with its peculiar structure. Indeed, it does not have a main façade, or a center, and it also does not have a predetermined route as it usually happens in other places.
The so-called eighth wonder of the world is, of course, a place that has a lot of history. For this reason, over the centuries it has been a source of inspiration for many writers, not only Spaniards, such as the American Washington Irving who has dedicated the book “Cuentos de la Alhambra”, an essential text for anyone who wants to go back in time and live the magic of this site.
The Nasrid Palaces
The Nasrid Palaces, heart of the Alhambra, are a group composed of three palaces: the Palace of Mexuar, the Palace of Comares and the Palace of the Lions. From the time of Mohamed V, this last building is undoubtedly the one that is most popular thanks to its central courtyard, the courtyard of the Lions, so called by the twelve lions spouts of the fountain that occupies the center of this magical place.
The Partal is a beautiful building built in the time of Muhammad III. Surrounded by gardens and fountains, of this building currently only remain a large pond, a portico composed of five arches and the Tower Mirador de las Damas.
The Palace of Charles V and its Museums
Totally of another style is the Palace of Charles V, magnificent Renaissance construction located between the Nasrid Palaces and the Alcazaba. Inside, there are two museums. Located on the first floor of the building, the Museum of Fine Arts has nine rooms on Granada art from the fall of the Nasrid kingdom to the contemporary era, with a focus on the artist Alonso Cano. The Museum of the Alhambra, on the other hand, is located on the ground floor of the palace and houses a collection of artistic pieces belonging to the Hispano-Muslim period found in the complex.
Next to the Bermejas Towers, the Alcazaba is the oldest part of the enclosure. Habitual residence of the elite army of the king in the 9th century, from there the city was watched and controlled. The Torres de la Quebrada, the Torre del Homenaje and the Torre de la Vela are part of the site, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view over all of Granada.
At the end of the 13th century, the Generalife was a resting place for the kings of Granada as well as their summer residence. Wonderful gardens, called gardens of the low Generalife, made by beautiful roses of all colors, lead to this construction formed by two buildings linked by the Patio de la Acequia, emblem of this area of the Alhambra. In its time it was outside the monumental site, and could only be accessed from the Paseo de los Tristes, climbing the Cuesta de los Chinos. Today it is part of the group, although it can be visited separately.
This set is lovely at any time of the day. For this reason, it is also possible to visit it at night thanks to the nocturnal visits to the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife: a unique and evocative experience that will take you once again back in time.
Foto: Luca Sarti