09.06.16 Arrived in Granada after a pleasant overland trip with Alsa.es the major carrier on peninsular Spain. The run from Valencia took eight hours and we arrived around 19:00hrs. However the quality and comfort of the vehicle was “top drawer”. Accommodation had been pre-booked with Air bnb in a small hamlet high on a hill called El Albaicin which looked down on Granada and its environs. Looking over the Carrera del Darro river at the C7th Alhambra Palace and Gardens. (A World Heritage Site) The views with the snow topped Albaicin mountains as a backdrop are nothing short of stunning. Following the fairly tiring trip a “lie in” was “de rigeur”. The weather was sublime as one “mooched” around the village to get ones bearings delighting in the multiplicity of narrow twisting streets, alleyways and “bijou” squares where people were relaxing with cool drinks under Cypress,Ash,Alder & Birch trees in the fading afternoon sunlight.

Albaicin looking through a window from the Alhambra Palace Garden.

Albaicin looking through a window from the Alhambra Palace Garden.

Following invasion by the Umayyad dynasty from Damascus in the C8th usurping the Visigoth empire, and established a new Caliphate in Cordova and Seville controlling the Iberian peninsula. Abd al Rahman took control in 756 AD. After several hundred years and prolific construction throughout the peninsular by subsequent Muslim rulers a fortification ensued in 1237 by Muhammad 1st at the site of Alhambra in present day Andalus. Through following additions Alhambra grew in magnificence and size until the re-conquest by the Habsberg dynasty later in C14th.
Meandering through the delightful Palace gardens as a precursor to an allotted time to enter the Alhambra proper, one is subsumed into a place of tranquility and calm. The sound of water trickling along channels and gently splashing into enchanting pools from fountains adds to the sense of well-being and calm.
The highlight of the complex for which a time slot was allotted are the Nasrid Palaces, which constitute three palaces from three differing epochs. Mexuar Palace by Ismail 1314, Comares Palace by Yusuf 1333 MuhammadV 1362 & Palace of the Lions by Muhammad also in the 1362-1391 period.

Looking along one of the garden features in the Alhambra Palace Garden called General Life

Looking along one of the garden features in the Alhambra Palace Garden called General Life

Descending from one level to a lower terrace.

Descending from one level to a lower terrace.

Gently splashing water fountains in C38 temperature imbue coolness & freshness into the environment.

Gently splashing water fountains in C38 temperature imbue coolness & freshness into the environment.

Alkazaba is the earliest construction, being the original fortified position with commanding views over the plain. An ideal location to see and plan a reception for an approaching enemy.

Delightful pilisters, portico and columns.

Delightful pilasters, portico and columns in the Islamic style.

Commanding views over the plains at Granada from the original Nazrid fortification.

Commanding views over the plains at Granada from the original Nazrid fortification.

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