The Alhambra, Granada’s Fortress on the Hill

I knew nothing of the Alhambra before arriving in Granada. Our Airbnb host was very emphatic that we must visit the main attraction of the city. Later I learn that the Alhambra is the most visited attraction in Spain. By the time I looked into getting tickets directly from the Alhambra website, there were none left. Luckily per our Airbnb host’s instructions, I was able to get tickets through the Granada Card.┬áThe reason it’s so difficult to get tickets is because the Alhambra limits the number of visitors allowed to 6600 per day.

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Alhambra perched on top of the hill overlooking Granada

There are three main sections of the Alhambra: the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba and the Generalife. The Nasrid Palaces only allows 300 people to enter every 30 minutes and one must reserve ahead of time. By the time I booked, only the last time slot was available at 7:00pm.

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Grey clouds over the Alhambra

The day started overcast and by the time we got to the gardens at the Generalife section, it started to rain. And it was cold. But none of that detracted from the beauty of the gardens.

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Orange blossoms in bloom, smells heavenly
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Trying to reach an orange
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Beautiful rose trellis
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So many beautiful flowers

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The landscaping is so well done
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Fountain leading to mini palace in the Generalife
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Looking through an archway
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Lots of fountains throughout the gardens
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Buildings reflected in water
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Walking through the rain

It stopped raining as we make our way towards the Alcazaba, a fortress, which is the oldest section of the Alhambra. It worked out great for us as the skies cleared enough for us to see the city of Granada from the top of the fortress walls.

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Charles V Palace courtyard on the way to Alcazaba
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Looking at neighbourhood of Albaicin, the oldest and the Moorish area of Granada
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Dressed to keep warm, definitely not the summer weather I was expecting
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Sun trying to break through the clouds
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Fortress towers of Alcazaba
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Snowcapped Sierra Navada mountains in the background
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Large chinese tour group with colourful umbrellas

The sun sets quite late in Spain which worked out for us as we made our way to the Nasrid Palaces. It was still bright enough for us to enjoy the buildings and gardens. The Palaces were built for the last Moorish rulers of the Nasrid Dynasty (last Arab Muslim dynasty in Spain). The interior of the Palaces was so amazingly beautiful, it left us speechless. As we progressed through each section of the Palaces, the decorations of the walls and columns become more elaborate and complicated.

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We stayed behind to get a photo of us without the crowds
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Arched windows
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Decorated columns
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Decorated ceiling
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Arabesques in the wall details

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Lattice like decorations
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The word beautiful to describe this seems inadequate
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Court of the Lions and fountain

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Detail is so intricate
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Muqarnas ceiling decoration
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So much symmetry

Nasrid Palaces blew our minds. It gave me new appreciation for Muslim architecture. We wished we had more time to take in all the details of this amazing place. We lingered as long as we can until we were not-so-gently reminded to leave.

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