Saturday, July 09, 2011

Exploring Granada

We spent three amazing days in Andalucia in Granada, Southern Spain. Our hotel was in a busy area and about ten minutes walk from the busy bustling city where there were pedestrian streets with "Christmas" lights hanging in rows above us. We explored everywhere by foot including the Albaicin which is in a corner of the city on the hillside. This is mainly pedestrianised and reflective of Granada's Moorish ancestry. The Albaicin is the site of the first fortress built in the 13th century with cobbled alleys and villas with Moorish decorations and gardens. There were some stunning views and we could view the Alhambra (see below) perfectly. Many of the street names start with Cuesta which means 'slope'! We were also rewarded with a free orchestral concert conducted from the top of an apartment which was a school of music. It was lovely!

On one of our days in Granada we joined a tour bus which collected us from our hotel and took us to The Alhambra. This amazing complex dates back to the start of its construction in 1237. The gardens were built to be a recreation place for the King of Granada and the palace was built much later in 1525 for Charles V just after his marriage but he never actually lived there.

The Alhambra was a complete town within the walls with shops and public baths, but it fell into disrepair with nobody living there. In 1923 restoration began and continues today it being declared a World Heritage site in 1984.

Our extensive tour took three hours and then we continued to explore the places we missed such as the baths and the fort. With so much to oooh and aaah at and hours of walking we definitely enjoyed our final dinner (and wine) in Granada that evening.

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