Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Alhambra

Our reason for visiting Grenada was to take a tour of the Alhambra. As I spend more time in Spain, its history begins to sink in by some sort of osmosis. Southern Spain, by its proximity to northern Africa, has a history that is intertwined with that region. We saw that last week in Morocco. We see it every day here in Sevilla, and we saw it again in Grenada at the Alhambra.

Southern Spain was home to many Islamic kingdoms from the 8th through 15th centuries. In the 15th century, the Christian kingdoms of Spain unified and conquered the Islamic kingdoms of the south. The last Islamic presence in Spain was in Grenada. When that kingdom fell, the Iberian peninsula was a unified Christian country. Politics aside, cultures change slowly and mix constantly, in spite of what their Christian or Islamic rulers might want.

In the Alhambra, we see the Islamic palace and gardens that stood for 500 years, transformed into Christian edifices that have now stood for another 500 years. There is the original Islamic palace and the later Christian palace. The Islamic gardens, adapted to more Christian/European styles. The remnants of mosaic and geometric adornments and architecture.

Our tour started in the garden. Here, Emily poses for Rachel. I took advantage and grabbed this shot:

This monastary on the Alhambra grounds is now a 4-star hotel:

Here the girls take a rest in an Islamic style doorway:

The intricate plaster friezes were everywhere:

An example of the mixing of the two cultures, this mural on the ceiling is a Christian artform, but it's in the older Islamic palace:

The view of the old part of Granada from high up on the Alhambra hill was amazing:

The gardens on the grounds are under constant care. These "shrubs" were so well-manicured that they looked unreal:

The reflecting pools throughout the grounds, along with the clear blue skies made for some lovely photos:


The bus ride back to Sevilla went smoothly. We had tapas for dinner and quietly wished Ric a happy birthday.