The final city of our visit to Andalucía was to the city of Granada, situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains approximately one hour by car from the Mediterranean coast. The River Darrow flows through the centre of the city. Granada is named after the Spanish name for pomegranate – granada! The pomegranate symbol can be seen wherever you go in the city – on street signs, manhole covers and fire hydrants, ceramic tiles, shop signs and wall plaques. It is also the heraldic device/symbol of the city:
The city has much to offer tourists. Undoubtedly, the main attraction of the city is the Alhambra – a grand, Moorish citadel and palace, which most of this post will ultimately be about, but there are lots of other things to see and do in the city iteslf, if time allows. There are many shopping areas, from the ‘modern’ high street variety to the typical Spanish-style shops in the winding streets, offering Spanish leather, lace, olive oil products, wines and a variety of novelty items. Many spacious plazas host umpteen cafes, restaurants and tapas bars, all offering refreshments. We had lunch in one such plaza – probably the most popular and aptly aptly named Bib Rambla – with a statue entitled, ‘Fountain of the Giants’ in the middle of it. In the centre of the city, close to Bib Rambla Plaza, is the superb Cathedral of Granada, built over the Great Mosque in the early 16th century following the conquest of Granada by the Catholic monarchs. It is contemporary with the Christian palace of the Alhambra, built by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. As usual, it was impossible to get far enough back to get a more meaningful view of it, but here are a couple of different views:
On the hill facing the Alhambra is the old, Moorish ‘casbah’ or medina, a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets and whitewashed houses. It is called the Albaicin/Albayzin (the latter is the English name) and was where the Moors had their palace before Alhambra was built. It is from the Albaicin that the best views of the Alhambra can be had but, as we didn’t manage to get there on this occasion, here’s one from Wikimedia Commons, entiltled, ‘Panoramic View of Alhambra from Abayzin‘. Author: Mihael Grmeh. Unless viewed from an aerial photo, it’s difficult to see the boat-shape of the fortress -long and narrow but widening in the middle. We spent an entire morning in the Alhambra, and probably could have spent longer in order to see everything properly. As it was, we were shown some pretty impressive features in the wonderful gardens, the palace and the other buildings.
The height of the ‘Red Hill’ was one of the reasons for the initial siting the Royal Palace. It is far cooler at Alhambra, and that coolness is emphasised still further all over the grounds and inside the buildings by the ingenious use of water. There is no shortage of water at Alhambra. Despite its height, there are hills still higher not far away, and water is easily obtained simply by gravity. Wherever we walked were pools of various shapes and sizes, and the tinkling, cooling sounds of water followed us round. In winter, indoor fountains were simply converted into roaring braziers. Here are some photos of the gardens:
The Courtyard of the Lions. Water springs from the mouths of twelve marble lions who bear a twelve-sided bowl. The pillars are thought to be a forest of gilded trees. The emir would have walked with eminent guests here. At other times it would have been used by the women of his harem. My header image is one of the views we took of Granada from Alhambra. Here are a couple of others. I particularly like the one showing the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.
Inside the Palace the beautiful arches and mosaics are still evident. In most places the wonderful colours have long since gone, but there are occasional glimpses of how amazing they might have looked.
One building we saw was a definte cube-shape from the outside, but on the inside was a circular patio. It was one of the later strucures, started by Charles V in 1527 who wanted a permanent palace in the Alhambra. Unfortunately, the building was never completed and remained without a roof until the twentieth century. I have so many more photos of Alhambra as well as from all the sites we visited on this awesome trip to Andalucía. I already feel that this post is far too long, so it’s time to come to an end.
44 thoughts on “Gracious Granada”
I love the architectural details and the gardens are gorgeous!
Thanks Dawn! Alhambra was an
awesome place. It’s hard to imagine what all those designs looked like in full colour. 🙂
More gorgeous pictures. Love those lions!
We all had a laugh about those lions, Bekki. The scupting is amazing, but they don’t look very much like lions. Our very clever Alhambrian guide reckoned the sculptor had probably never seen a lion. I thought they were quite cute, though. 🙂
Absolutely – not very lion-like, but very cute. Thinking I would like some like that in my garden 😉
Well… their loud roar could keep unwanted callers away! 🙂
You’ll have to give us a repeat… or more, when you decide you’d like to share more. I would love to see more! I vacation vicariously through you! Lol!
Thanks Betty! 🙂 I did have another post in mind for Andalucia – a general one, not city-specific like these. But I thought I’d probably already made people yawn enough, so I’ve shelved the idea. I suppose I could always do the post later in the week, if time allows.
We’ll be gong to North Wales in a few weeks and I plan to do a couple of posts on Welsh castles and Edward I. Not exactly ‘Sunny Spain’ though, is it? 🙂
Perhaps it could be your “bright interlude” or something on that order. Lol!
Well, it could definitely be an interlude, but whether bright or not is a different matter. I’m not feeling too bright now I’m home. I haven’t seen the sun since we got back! I suppose clouds have pretty shapes though. :
I’ve often thought about taking pictures of the clouds, but they might look altogether different to me than they might to you, and I fear I would lose a lot of people. They might not understand me! Or, they might, and they might want to lock me up! Lol!
Nothing wrong with showing individuality, I’d say. I’ve always loved making out shapes and patterns in the clouds, Betty. You wouldn’t believe how many maps I see up there. 🙂
I just followed my own link from my blog to your blog, Millie, and I’m so glad I did. What beauty I find here!
Thank yo so much, Ann. I hope you’ve had a lovely Mothers’ Day. 🙂 We had ours in March – just to be awkward, of course! Anyway, I’m glad you liked the photos. I’ve been wanting to see Alhambra for years. 🙂
Now I want to see it!
Andalucia is well worth a visit, although it’s a lot further for you than for me. There were lots of Americans there, though, but so many more Japanese parties. Not to mention Brits, Germans and French! In other words, it was packed with tourist, so goodness knows what it will be like in the summer! The sites are awesome, so I suppose it’s understandable.
Really interesting Millie! Love the photos, except the almost lions, (which I can’t blame you for, of course!) 😉 x
The ‘almost lions’ were hilarious, although very cleverly made, each with a water spout through its mouth. I’m glad you liked the photos. The sun always makes things look so much better, of course. 🙂
Beautiful tour. Really enjoyed it. The architecture and scenery is stunning. Your posts are always so informative and interesting. Don’t see how they can be too long.
It really was a beautiful tour, Jack. Like you, I find history irresistible and the Moorish architecture is just awe-inspiring – as is some of the Gothic stuff. I had intended to do another, general post on Andalucia, but I know I won’t have time now. I have another blog award to do later this week, and that will take a while to do. But I’ll be doing a couple of posts on Welsh castles and Edward I soon. We plan to go to North Wales for a few days at the beginning of June. I don’t expect any hot sunshine, though. 🙂
Thank you for the lovely comment, Jack. 🙂
What a beautiful and elegant city! The pictures are amazing!
Granada is an elegant city and a real mix of old and new. I’m sorry we didn’t have time to see more of it. Thanks, PJ. 🙂
Looong time ago we visited Granada on our honeymoon, while staying in Malaga on the S. coast. I remeber it to be impressive and intriquing! Great shots:)
All the cities of Andalucia are quite awesome, and all have different things to offer. The Alhambra at Granada is one of the sites I’ve wanted to see for so long – and I wasn’t disappointed. Granada obviously appealed to you, too! Thank you for the nice comment. 🙂
Sigh. Wonderful photos and good narrative to go with it. Makes me want to be there instead of here in front of the computer, that’s for sure!
Hello, Mara! Nice to see you again on WP. Yes, Granada and all the other places in Andalucia were stunning, and I’m feeling the usual ‘back at home blues’ at the moment. Hope it soon wears off – I kow it’s partly the sunshine I’m missing. Hope your writing is going well.
Lovely photos! Thanks for showing and telling us about these beautiful places. I know to be back is a bit of a shock but you can still look back for years on the time in Spain.
Thank you, Scrapydo. You’re absolutely right. I have some lovely memories to look back on…and it will soon be summer here. 🙂
Yes, and getting warmer. Here we have bad weather at the moment. One High way into Wellington is closed because of a huge slip . Then they mentioned some snow also in South Island- winter is with us now
Yes, you have winter ahead of you, just as we are looking forward to summer. Seasons come and go, and they all have something nice about them. It isn’t good news about the land slip, though. I hope they get it cleared soon. Keep well, Scrapydo.
It was chaos the whole day and still heavy rain pouring down. People working in Wellington have to book themselves into hotels because roads are closed. River is busy overflowing here at the moment. Lucky I am living higher up out of reach
It really is a bad situation, then…and you haven’t even reached winter yet. It sounds as though your house should be OK, thank goodness.
Thanks for concern. I am glad my children are also home safely.
I have had a lovely virtual trip through the gardens with you. Thanks Millie. I doubt I will get there myself so it was delightful seeing it through your eyes and photographs.
Thanks, Amanda! I know it’s not exactly Scandinavia – but part of Book 3 of my trilogy is set in Cordoba, so this was also a research trip for me. It is all so stunning. Moorish architecture is really amazing.
Oh yes, the Moorish had some really fine art and architecture.
a worthwhile trip it seems 🙂
Yes, it was very worthwhile, thank you, Heath. I saw things with my own eyes instead of relying on books. The sun was nice, too, of course. 🙂
Wow beautiful flowers, lovely garden and stunning architecture…All that I love in one post ❤ I love all your gorgeous pictures especially the fifth picture with a beautiful blue sky 😉 Seriously a wonderful capture Millie! 😉 I already started dreaming to go there right after reading this post 😀
Perhaps you will go to Sapin one day, Khloe. You’ve been to Amsterdam, after all, so why not Spain? I would love to see some of the sights in your part of the world, too, so perhaps one day I will. Thank you, as always ,for your lovely comment. ❤
Wonderful pictures! My daughter spent 5 months studying there and so some of these places look familiar! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Lyn. Granada is very beautiful. We only had a few days there as we were visiting several cities in Andalucia, but I was smitten by the Alhambra, in particular. I should think your daughter loved the city.