Granada, Spain

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December 12th 2014
Published: December 12th 2014
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GRANADA. 29,30 November, 1 December, 2014.

Over the past 3 days we have travelled extensive distances between Seville-Cordoba; Seville- Granada, viewing some amazing historic structures and gardens. Southern Spain has an exceptional collection of Islamic architecture and religious art.

We travelled by fast train to Cordoba for the day. The city is famed for its Cathedral. It was on the site of a church built by St Vincent in the third century. Subsequently the Moorish invaders in 800 AD took the site and built a very large mosque. In the 1400s the site was captured by the Catholic monarchs, who adapted the Mosque, constructing a Catholic Sacristy Vault inside. The result is an exceptionally beautiful building constructed of red and white marble, granite, soaring columns, topped by curved rock hewn arches, intricate design stone masonry around windows and an amazing bell tower/ minaret. The church was in the middle of the Islamic Medina, now the old town, a labyrinth of snaking roads and lanes. Still busy with tourists. We can't imagine what it would be like in mid summer, peak tourist season.

In Seville, the rain lasted only a day so we were able to wander the amazing parks constructed close to the city centre. Very old trees, marvellous gardens interspersed with a few attractive museum buildings. We didn't visit them though!

Travelled by bus to Granada, 3.5 hours on exceptional highway. We are constantly amazed by the transport infrastructure, rail and roads, terminals have been excellent.

Granada in the centre is appealing, however we wouldn't like to live outside it, as those areas are extensive public housing of bland high rise of up to 10 storeys, no parks or trees, no people. The centre on the other hand is teeming with people, beautiful parks and attractive building facades. I suppose the same can be said for the other cities as well. The Gold Coast shines!!

Granada is famed for the Alhambra, another exceptional Islamic designed and constructed building perched above the town. It is very extensive. Its centre are three palaces built by Sultans from North Africa, one of which was Mohammed V, a prolific builder from Morocco.

The gardens surrounding the palaces are built in mazes. The Sultans and their architects were exceptional with engineering. There are numerous water channels and drains that feed the gardens and pools. It was a very beautiful site which also provided long views over tge Spanish countryside. A cold day though, but blue sky.

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