Day 49 Granada, The Alhambra – I defy anyone not to enjoy The Alhambra. If you’re not into palaces’ then the gardens will grip you. Jane was ‘into’ both; I was more garden/park inclined and I wasn’t left disappointed but in awe. If you’re into both then you’ll be in heaven. Plus, if one wants to know more about this extraordinary site, just go research it … and then … visit it. I cannot do it credit with a few lines here. One could take a thousand photos and the great difficulty would then be in choosing which ones would be selected for a folder or an album. Every time we took a step higher or lower, walked around a wall, looked over an edge, looked up above, it was a photo shot due to the changing scene and colours. Sheer beauty all round, whether inside or out. We walked around for nearly 7 hours, well above the average 3 hours, trying to digest Alhambra. Tired, however totally rewarded.
"The Red One", is a World Heritage Site. It is a palace and fortress complex and was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman
fortifications and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by Mohammed ben Al Ahmar who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I.After the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition), and the palaces were partially altered in the Renaissance style. In 1526 Charles I and V commissioned a new Renaissance palace better befitting the Holy Roman Emperor but it was ultimately never completed due to rebellions in Granada.
The majority of the palace buildings are quadrangular in plan, with all the rooms opening on to a central court and the complex reached its present size simply by the gradual addition of new quadrangles, designed on the same principle, though varying in dimensions, and connected with each other by smaller rooms and passages. Alhambra was extended by the different Muslim rulers who lived in the complex. However, each new section that was added followed the consistent theme of "paradise on earth". Column arcades, fountains with running water, and reflecting pools were used to
add to the aesthetic and functional complexity. In every case, the exterior was left plain and austere. Sun and wind were freely admitted. Blue, red, and a golden yellow, all somewhat faded through lapse of time and exposure, are the colors chiefly employed.
The palace complex was designed with the mountainous site in mind. The park (Alameda de la Alhambra), was planted by the Moors with roses, oranges, and myrtles: its most characteristic feature, however, is the dense wood of English elms brought by the Duke of Wellington in 1812. The park is filled with the sound of running water from several fountains and cascades. These are supplied through a conduit 8 km long, which is connected with the Darro at the monastery of Jesus del Valle above Granada.
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