Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tales of the Alhambra

Alhambra from the San Nicolas Heights
Having pushed out two stands of heavy cavalry for the Reconquista project and with a third stand of infantry on the painting desk, my thoughts returned to Granada.  Borrowing Washington Irving's catchy book title, I wanted to chronicle my stay in Granada through photos with an emphasis on the massive palace complex on the heights above the city.
Alhambra from Generalife
The Alhambra was built, added to, and rebuilt by successive conquerors with the oldest part, the Alcazaba (fortress), likely built in the 9th century.  Some suggest that this portion of the Alhambra may have been built over Roman ruins.  Even Napoleon stationed his troops here and contributed greatly to the decay and destruction of parts of the fortress.

Alcazaba from Generalife
Alcazaba
Arms Square
Alcazaba with Arms Square
Granada Cathedral from Alcazaba
Watchtowers of Alhambra
Watchtowers of Alhambra Overlooking Valley
Garden along rampart
After defeating the Moors at Granada, King Charles V built his palace over the top of parts of the Muslim palace.  Architecturally, the palace is a circle within a square and is Spain's most impressive Renaissance palace.  Designed to have a dome covering the circular interior, it was never finished.
Charles V Palace
Charles V Palace Interior
Nasrid Palace was the royal Moorish palace in the 14th century.  The palace walls and ceilings are covered in intricate works including ornately carved wood, stucco, ceramic tiles, and plaster.  Samples of some of these exquisite works are illustrated below.
Nasrid Palace
Nasrid Palace
Nasrid Palace
Garden of the Partal

Nasrid Palace - Court of Myrtles
Beautiful oasis atop the hill and quite fun adventure winding your way through the narrow pathways and streets in the medina to reach this citadel.

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I'd love to visit that someday!

    Christopher

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    1. Granada is a terrific city for a multi-day visit and the Alhambra is an incredible site.

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  2. One of the most beautiful cities in Spain by far (and I'm from Madrid!)

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    1. I agree! We found Madrid to be splendid as well but in a more cosmopolitan way.

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  3. I visited the Alhambra about 45 years ago and loved it. Thank you so much for posting these photos to remind me.


    -- Jeff

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    1. Jeff, you are welcome and thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Fantastic images Jonathan - I lived a little south of Malaga some years back, but never made it up to Granada. Clearly a mistake. I will have to go back to Andalucia, this looks like the Spanish version of Tuscany!

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    1. Soren, the hills dotted with olive groves did remind me of Tuscany but in a more arid climate. Beautiful country, for sure!

      I hope you make it back to Andalucia and have time for a trip to Granada. On our last visit to Andalucia, we also really enjoyed Ronda and Nerja. For us, Malaga was only a transportation hub so didn't spend much time there at all.

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  5. When my parents retired, rather than get a winter home in Florida, they bought a condominium in Torremolinas, on the Costa del Sol near Malaga. They made a number of trips to Grnada (and Gibraltar, and many others) during the 15 years or so that they owned it. Unfortunately, during that time I was starting my practice, working insane hours, and had young children so travel to Spain wasn't realistic. It is another locale on my list of places to visit, and I speak pretty passable Spanish!

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    1. Great story! You know, I sometimes entertain thoughts of wintering on the Costa del Sol. Moving the lead pile from the Pacific to the Atlantic would be a huge undertaking...

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    2. Back at that time, the cost of living in Spain was very low for Americans (and Brits). Best idea would be to link up with some of the increasing numbers of Spanish wargamers...

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  6. Breathtaking, Jonathan. I would so love to visit Spain. In the meantime, I'll have to settle for painting Reconquista, perhaps via SAGA painting. ;-)

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    1. Spain is a great country for a visit. Do it if you can! I would enjoy seeing what you can do for Reconquista SAGA armies. I bet they would be colorful!

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