We got an early start this morning, loaded the bus and headed south-east to Granada to visit the Alhambra. We had a lovely ride through the countryside of Andalushia where the hills are filled with olive trees (with a fortress or two sprinkled in). Spain is the biggest producer and exporter of olive oil in the world.
The Alhambra, a city within the city of Granada, was the residence of the last sultan ruling over the Iberian Peninsula.
When the Moors crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in 711 AD, they claimed the hillside of Granada. The Alhambra was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by a Berber king who built its current palace and walls (Berbers are ethnic group indigenous to North Africa west of the Nile Valley). It was later converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.
We first walked through the lush gardens with many fountains called the Generalife.
As we approached the Nasrid Palace, we found a very plain exterior.
The interior was another story. Below is probably my favorite picture of the day, the Patio de Arrayanes.
The detail of the ceiling in the living quarters was amazing as seen below.
This window was the best preserved with full color.
Here are Bonnie and I in the Patio de los Leones. As you can tell by the way we are dressed, it was a bit colder today, but there was plenty of sunshine.
Lovely court yards were found around the palace.
In 1492 everything changed when the Alhambra was surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. When Charles V visited the Alhambra in 1526, he had the Palace of Charles the V built, an example of Spanish Renaissance architecture.
After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was rediscovered in the 19th century by scholars and travelers, including Washington Irving, who wrote the novel, Tales of the Alhambra. It was declared a national Monument in 1870, and restoration began in 1923.
Below are two vistas from the Alhambra. In the distance you can see the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains.
This is a view of the city below the Alhambra. In the upper right corner, you can see part of the wall around the city.
After a delicious lunch and local entertainment, we hopped back on the bus and went to our hotel in Torremolinos on the Mediterranean Sea in Costa del Sol.